Before I went overseas, I found it annoying when people told me how much they loved travelling. They seemed so preachy, as if travelling elevated them to a place above me. I found their worldly optimism irritating, not infectious. They’d give me a hearty thumbs up, hail an Uber to the airport and off they’d go to Thailand or Vietnam.
I’d just sit there, sad and alone, eating Nutella by the spoonful, feeling horrible, but doing absolutely nothing about it. My point is that Nutella deserves a toast! My other point is that travelling is sometimes easier said than done. And it’s frustrating when people are constantly telling you to do something that you want to do but for some reason or another, you don’t.
So I realise that nothing I can say will make you go travelling, and if you don’t have Kanye on speed dial ready to pump you up, maybe these TED Talks could be just what you need to get that fabled “Wanderlust” all your friends keeping trying to cram down your throat.
When you’re itching for adventure
Surf photographer and lucky bugger Chris Burkard proves that no matter how good your life looks on paper, there’s a danger of it becoming routine. Whatever, Chris – you’re a surf photographer! But, anyway, he says to break out of that routine of golden beaches and year-round tans and find real joy, you’ve got to suffer just a little bit. Sounds crazy and kinda is but the stunning photography alone will have you planning to Talented-Mr-Ripley his life.
Why it will make you want to travel: You’ll be in equal measures envious, angry and then awestruck that this is this guy’s life… then you’ll want it so goddamn badly.
When you want to get off your high horse about travelling
Rick Steves discusses the lessons he’s learnt about travelling the world four months of every year (yeah, I’m jealous too). He talks prominently about being thoughtful when travelling, about clearing up misunderstandings you might have about countries, and how we can all gain knowledge and become better humans. There are precepts about not judging books by their covers interlaced with vignettes from Iran, Switzerland, El Salvador. It’s also about how travel is great at showing you how every difference proves how we’re all the same. Deep, you guys.
Why it will make you want to travel: It will make you want to learn how to be a better person
When you’re living vicariously through other travellers’ Snapchats
It might seem strange to compare travel to a crack habit, but Ben Saunders – polar explorer and owner of best masculine, lady-pulling job title ever – explains perfectly how adventure becomes addictive. While he doesn’t have a definitive answer as to why you should leave your house, he does explain why experiencing life in the digital world will never replace real-world experiences.
Why it will make you want to travel: Because you’re probably reading this on a screen. Probably in your toilet or at work. The walls are closing in…
When you want a reason to discover more than landmark trivia.
If your idea of travelling is people-avoidance, this video might change your mind. An interesting talk about connecting with others and focusing on things that you won’t find on Wikipedia. About not being an observer, but about seeing people as – shock –people. Judith Fein encourages you to ask more questions to locals when you’re travelling, and about getting people to ask you questions. In that way, you’re opening up the world and quashing stereotypes. The smallest details become the big things and that life and travel aren’t separate. Expand your horizons (and not in a druggy way).
Why it will make you want to travel: It’ll remind you that when you die, you won’t be regretting the fact that you didn’t watch more TV.
When you’re nervous about travelling
For many introverts (me included) travelling is daunting. The brochures clearly show gatherings of beautiful people drinking fluorescent cocktails and not bookish nerds reading Stephen King novels; travelling is noisy. But it’s also an amazing way to find out who you really are. And just because you don’t want to interact with others, doesn’t mean you have to miss out. There’s no reason that us quiet-finders can’t enjoy travelling. After all, we’re good at fleeing social scenarios, so why shouldn’t we be able to escape by going overseas? (I once fled to Peru to escape a friend’s 30th.) Susan Cain eloquently and beautifully makes the case for embracing silence and I can’t think of a better way of getting some time to yourself than travelling.
Why it will make you want to travel: It’ll convince you that you’re not alone in this scary world.
When you’ve been planning your trip for the past six months but haven’t booked a single thing
Bah, this guy is annoyingly successful and even more annoying, he represents so many of us. The insane side of us, anyway. The routine, same-same, every day, until the sweet release of the grave. Colin was in that routine, gambling that he’d earn enough money to travel later. Then he made a change. He started an extreme lifestyle experiment, whereby he lets his bloggers decide where he’ll live for four months. If it makes you feel antsy when you watch it, it’s because you know want to do it. It’s a powerful talk about overthinking, about adaptation and about just doing it.
Why it will make you want to travel: It’ll remind you that there will always be a million reasons not to do something.
When you want to find a new home
This talk, delivered with the humble tenor of a monk, crams so many good ideas in it, it’s hard to give a concise reason why you should watch it. At first, it’s an exploration about the liberation of leaving behind any idea of where your home is and fashioning your experiences not on where you come from but where you’re going. Then it takes an uplifting and juxtaposing turn about how the most amazing thing about our freedom to travel is the ability for us to stand completely still.
Why it will make you want to travel: It will convince you that home is truly *sickeningly* where the heart is.