Ok, so this week has been an exciting one so far. I completed one of the most challenging day hikes I’ve done in a long time – climbing to the summit of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.
Also, I’ve also decided to try something different with Tools of Travel.
One of the fun parts of running a travel blog is you do get plenty of emails. Granted, most of them are usually from travel-related companies asking for a free promotion, typically going along the lines of “hey can you mention my tour company” or “I have a travel app, can you send a tweet about it to your followers.”
However, occasionally among the junk and spam, I do receive some interesting emails from the blog readers.
Travelling is something I’m passionate about but it does cover such a wide range of topics. It’s simply not possible that every topic can be covered and answered by a blog post.
So what I’m going to (or try and attempt) to do is answer the travel questions I have been emailed by readers, then publish the answers here.
This question is by Avery.
Good morning Barry,
First, I just want to introduce myself to you. My name is Avery, and I’m currently student teaching in Killeen, Texas (close to Fort Hood military base). I am getting my Masters I Education at the moment and I’m 23 years old.
Last summer I studied abroad in China for 2 weeks and it absolutely changed my life. I am now wanting to travel when I have summers off from teaching, and possibly teaching abroad as a full time position.
I just wanted to introduce myself to you, in hopes of our paths crossing at some point in the future, seeing we both love to travel.
Also, if you have any words of wisdom on being more open minded to traveling and more importantly taking risks, do you mind helping me? I need to take more risks!
I hope you have a great week!
Thank you for the email.
The world is a small place, and I’m sure that we will cross paths at some point!
Great to hear about your two-week trip to China and how it changed your life. There’s something about Asia that is so fascinating to travellers like you and me.
I happen to be good friends with teachers from various countries, and although I’m not too familiar with teaching in the US, I imagine it offers longer holidays than most other careers. There’s also the bonus of being able to travel and teach overseas. I remember the wage for teaching English in Taiwan was not too bad when I last visited – around $2000-$3000 USD a month.
In regards to your question about being open-minded to travelling and more importantly taking risks, I can offer some words of wisdom based on my experiences.
Because some of the biggest challenges in our lives can come from within, I believe we need to deal with them first. Sometimes it can be the fear of failure that holds us back or the fear of failure in the eyes of others.
For me, it was the fear of change.
Whenever we make a significant change such as going travelling, we know that no matter what happens, our life will probably be different after. To many people, making that change is a scary risk.
But fear of the unknown is normal.
When I first decided to leave home to travel for 12 months one of my goals was to overcome the fear, not to avoid it or pretend it’s not there.
Some of the most inspiring travellers I have met are not fearless; they made a few key choices along the way that helped them overcome their fears.
Backpacking in Japan and other countries where English isn’t commonly fluent, everyday experiences such as ordering food or taking a bus can become little mini adventures. The thrill of the unknown can be frightening, but it can also become addictive.
Even though my days are busy, I find that now I travel more my life is far less complicated than before. Rather than rushing from one place to the next, I enjoy getting lost every now and again.
Exploring the lesser well-known parts of a city or the countryside can be very rewarding.
The well-worn tourist trails of the world offer plenty of attractions and all the facilities you could ever need. They also have the transportation structures in place to ferry you to and from your hostel or hotel. However, it’s not the only way to travel and don’t be afraid to stray from the popular travel routes occasionally.
Everyone has a limit, but whatever your limit is, there are no rules that prevent you from pushing yourself a little beyond.
I love the catchphrase “two steps forward, one step back” as it implies that making progress arduous. Although compared to doing nothing at all, the key point is that progress is still being made.Once you identify what areas are holding you back - attack them. Click To Tweet
Another thing I love to do while I’m travelling is to speak to random people.
When travelling in a group or with a partner, it’s easy to get lazy and miss opportunities to make new friends. So if I’m flying solo, I make it my goal to speak to people whenever the opportunity presents itself.
It doesn’t have to be a full on conversation at first, and just a simple “hello” or “how are you?” will do.
It’s surprising how many in-depth conversations with locals I’ve started at bus stops, cafes, laundries, and backstreet gyms using this method. It may seem awkward or unnatural at first, but fortunately, it doesn’t require any heroism, just simple change of mindset.
With a little dedication and determination, you can improve most things in your life. Change is possible with repetition, but everyone has to start somewhere. If that start is you want to travel more, figure out how you will fund this lifestyle and draw up some plans.
It sounds like China was the start of your travel adventure and it’s up to you to continue the journey.