There is this strong tendency of people living in a Western society to let money be the main thing what determines their happiness, and I experienced this first hand, because I used to be this person.
Every time I had a lot of money I would feel really happy, but this happiness would slip away from me in three ways: losing that money, feeling there is really no limit to how much money I want or need, or comparing myself to others. Having a job you actually like that is considered lower than your university degree? Forget it. Big chance you will get the response: ‘Why are you not choosing a job where you can make more money?’ or ‘You are smart enough to have this high pressured job, so why are you not taking it?’ you will probably not get a lot of support of people in your surroundings and everyone will kind of find you strange.
Every time I would come back from travelling I would have this new mindset, because I often experienced the humbling sight of seeing very poor people being actually a lot happier than most people in Western countries. I saw this as a great inspiration to let my life not just run be about money all the time.
But unfortunately this mentality is hard to keep when you are living in a society that has had a commercial and materialist foundation for so many years, having people living in it that will always strive for making more money that will inevetibly influence you too.
How I Changed From Being a Citygirl to a Gypsygirl
How much does travelling change you? It is kind of a common saying that traveling ‘changes you’ or ‘helps you find yourself’ but is this really true? For a person that has never traveled before this all sounds kind of unrealistic… You’re all by yourself, in a country you don’t know and where you can’t even speak the language… How can you not feel lonely? And how can this make you feel happy, or even help you find yourself? And living on a low budget, what can be fun about that?........................................
First GUEST POST in Parrotfish Journey.
My passion for travelling was a gift from my parents. When I was sixteen years old, I visited many countries and already had a backpacking experience in Thailand. When I finished highschool I had a short backpacking trip Australia, because I wanted to be back before my first year of university, so I could soon start my studies and have a career in which I could make a lot of money.
I choose Psychology and succeeded the first year, which gave me a degree that would enable me to do the second year whenever I wanted. There was already some insecurity growing in me about my choice to do this, because I knew that when I would finish I would have to work as a psychologist, a job where I was not even sure of if I would like it. So I decided to take a gap year. The first 6 months I would spend working, and the other 6 months I would travel, so I would be back next year to do my second year.
Little did I know, this time my travel changed me and my life completely, and to this day I am still so incredibly thankfull for this.
I took the train from Amsterdam to Hong Kong, where on my way I traveled through Germany, Poland, Russia, Mongolia and China. It was an beautiful and humbling trip that took me 1.5 months.
Then came the Philippines. Here is were I met the person that changed my life completely. I was walking down the beach on this island called Boracay, searching for the sunset. Then this rather attractive Filipino guy started talking to me, who told me I was at the wrong beach, and he would be happy to take me to a nice place to see the sunset. And that’s it. This is how a relationship started, one that made all my past relationships seem kind of like a joke. I already figured out before I met him that travelling made me so incredibly happy, and that I wanted to travel longer than the initially planned 6 months.
But being with him, and living with him on this island, made me give me the same level of happiness as I got when I was traveling. So what was I supposed to do? I decided I would do both things, first travel and then return to his island. In total I was away for 5 months, in which I travelled Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and India.
When I came back to the Boracay I didn’t have any expectations and had no clue whatsoever what my future would look like. But one thing I knew right from the first second of being reunited with him: I made the best decision of my life. This all hapened only two months ago.
Now I’m living in a country where people are always smiling, singing and joking, and the amount of money they have is not infuencing there happiness. I am not studying Psychology anymore, but am opening up my own business, something I would have not even dared to think of doing back in my own country. For the first time in my life I feel that what I am doing, is because only I want to do it, not what society wants me to do. So the ultimate freedom I feel when I travel, I also feel when I am living here. My boyfriend is definitely not rich, I am living a simple life (one with in Western terms would be described as one with very little luxuries) but I am the happiest person I have ever been.
So does traveling changes you? If I could talk from my personal experience, I would definitely say yes. I changed from a hard working (and comparing with the person who I am today, not that happy) city girl, to a gypsygirl that doesn’t care about luxury and who still occasionally travels, and she is the happies person she could ever be. A gypsygirl that is engaged and is two months pregnant and sometimes wanders if life could get any better. I definetely found myself today and am feeling a level of happiness I never even know existed.
So here’s an advice for you, go travel!
First ever GUEST POST in Parrotfish Journey by LARA SCHNYDER
PHOTOGRAPGHY by LARA SCHNYDER
Papau New Guinea