5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD PURSUE YOUR TRAVEL DREAMS
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve put my travel dreams on hold. Looking back, I wish I had been bolder, stronger and wilder! But you know what it’s like… that thing called life sucks us in. Oh, and being a mum to three kids also influenced my decisions at the time.
I had dreamed about travelling to Italy for years. As far as I was concerned it was my soul country – even though I had never been there! In my mind, there was something magical about Italy, from the rolling fields of Tuscany, the historical architecture, to the passionate people and their love for food, wine and good times. It sounded like the place for me. When I got divorced I finally decided I was going to do it. I’d given the non-travelling husband the flick and decided to jump on a plane to Italy. My dream was finally going to be fulfilled.
Leaving behind my three children was hard. But I knew that after everything I had been through in the past months…years, I had to take time out for myself. We women are such givers, such nurturers that we often forget to nurture and give to ourselves. I knew that to be a better mum I had to take some time out for ME!
It was my first overseas solo trip, so I opted to join a group tour. I know this goes against everything we’re building at localyokl.com to be about, but at that time, we’re talking 11 years ago, it was the way most people travelled. I also convinced myself it would be the safer option. My accommodation and transport was taken care of, and all I had to do was turn up.
When I arrived in Rome and at my hotel, I had to haul my luggage up three flights of stairs and was promptly told by the disinterested and un-empathetic concierge aka man watching TV behind the counter – that my room was not ready and I should go for a walk until it was. Welcome to Italy!
I was desperate for a shower and sleep, but hey I was in Rome so do as the Romans do, but wait don’t they siesta? Maybe that’s why he turned me away!
I hit the streets and was instantly in awe by the majesty and history of the architecture that surrounded me. I was finally here! The next day I joined the tour and travelled to Tuscany, Verona, Florence, Venice and Milan. Italy definitely lived up to my expectations, however I was disappointed that I didn’t have the flexibility to stay in places that I fell in love with longer than the tour allowed. It was go, go, go. I wanted to stop. Breathe in the place. Make a deeper connection by getting to know its people. I wanted to know what it was like to live like a local.
It wasn’t until I headed back to Rome and to the south coast of Italy that I started to get a better appreciation for local experiences. I met Marco, who showed me the Isle of Capri, the Blue Grotto, Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi! It truly was a magical experience waking up in Amalfi, walking out on to my balcony and listening to the chimes of church bells echo down the lemon-grove coast.
It was at that moment that I realised the importance of pursuing my travel dreams. I felt so happy, content and ready to tackle the next stage in my life. Travel had become the cathartic medicine for life problems. When you expand your world you realise how insignificant your concerns can be and how experiencing a new place can heal the wounds an old place has left.
I make a point of travelling overseas at least once a year. Since that first trip to Italy, I have visited 12 countries and don’t plan on stopping any time soon!
5 reasons to pursue your travel dreams
1. There’s never a perfect time
What are you waiting for? The kids to get older? More savings in the bank? The right time? All of this can be negotiated. Don’t lose sight of how important your travel dreams are.
2. Travelling makes you feel alive and content
We’ve all experienced it. That bubbling excitement in the pit of our belly. The anticipation of seeing a new place. To stand in awe in front of a magnificent view, smell the clear air on top of a mountain or taste a meal whose recipe dates back centuries. To experience something we’ve never tried before. Never thought we could. Connecting with new people and learning from them things that you didn’t even think were possible. That aren’t a part of your world…but now they are. This is the stuff that makes you feel alive and content.
3. Travel makes your love bubble grow
We all want to feel more love in our lives. Love doesn’t only come from other people. It can also come from experiencing new adventures and seeing new places. This is a different type of love. An inner love that makes your love bubble grow and opens you to new possibilities and people.
4. To learn who we are
When we connect with people in places we’ve never been before they teach us something about ourselves. For me, I found my independence, my strength and what’s important to me in life.
5. No amount of things will buy you experiences
At localyokl.com we live life through a different moto – buy experiences not things. Make your own coffee and lunch instead of buying them every day at work, hang the washing on the line instead of using the dryer, shelve your handbag or shoe fetish and put those dollars into your travel savings account. When you get together with friends are you going to tell them about the handbag you bought or are you going to trigger major travel envy with tales of your adventures?
Azra Alagic is localyokl’s cofounder and Chief Storyteller