In two days, I’ll be going to Nepal and India. In the past, that would have sounded more otherworldly than it actually is. But when you’ve traveled as a lifestyle for quite some time, it starts to become a bit routine. That’s not to say I’m not excited to be going on another trip – I still am. But this time, the excitement comes from a different place. It’s not leaving that excites me. I’ll be in New York plenty going forward, and the length of the trip is only a couple of months. Relative to trips that we’ve taken in the past, it’s honestly nothing.
No – what excites me here is the actual experience. We’re doing the most intense hike of my life, for one. Or at the minimum, the longest that requires the most endurance. And then we’re going to India, a country that I’ve always wanted to see, somewhere that is about as different from the United States as you can possibly be.
But I’m also kind of excited for the minutia. I used to find a 30 hour flight grueling; now it’s just normalized. I can watch a ton of movies and enjoy them, and get regular meals that are actually not that bad. One part I’m not really looking forward to though is the planning. When going on another trip, planning is the worst part. We have trips booked to Israel/Jordan and China after this one, and the former is not planned at all. It’s the only stressful part, and if you’re already tired, there’s nothing worse than trying to find the best deal for a place to stay and a good place to eat.
Still, this trip to Nepal and India is relatively well planned. More than half of it is spent on organized tours, which ups the budget but makes the whole experience a lot less hectic. When going on another trip, you really want to make sure you make it as stress-free as possible. While travel can open up new challenges for you, there’s a point where the experience itself can drive you crazy.
If you can laugh off riding a camel after getting food poisoned in the Sahara desert, then less of that phases you. But mentally preparing for scenarios like these is part of travelling. You can’t just assume everything will go right – it never does. To an extent, you need to be open to the experience of brutality, especially in comparison to a Western sense of comfort. Even countries in Southern Europe are not all that easy to navigate – especially if you’re not prepared to get ripped off and taken advantage of.
Making that mental shift toward a different way of life is the biggest part of going on another trip. It allows you to get a taste of what living there would be like, except that you know you can go home at the end. While there’s no greater meaning to be had while purveying other cultures, you can often get more than superficial glimpse. You just need to be open.
For me, that’s what’s exciting about going on another trip. It’s connecting with a new culture and exploring a new part of the world. When I went to the Great Pyramids of Giza, I remember being sweaty and uncomfortable, and being forced to ride a horse for an additional $75 more than I planned. But when I think back, I don’t tap into those emotions. I don’t think about feeling ripped off or annoyed. I think about what I felt like being there, and how they looked. Now, it feels like the pyramids can be around any corner.
And that’s what’s exciting about going on another trip. It allows you to feel those things about a new part of the world. You create new memories and experiences that just wouldn’t have happened back home, and open yourself up to some of the realities of the world we live in. It’s a little pretentious to say you’re becoming a global citizen; that can never really happen. But while an element of escapism is inherent in travel, your feelings toward it or not.
That’s up to you.