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Ep. 14 — The beauty and benefits of traveling


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Hello and welcome to The Optimistic Perspective Podcast.

I’m David The Optimist and in today’s episode, I’m going to share with you a few things about the beauty of traveling and the way traveling helps us grow and become a different person.

Let’s begin.

I want to start today’s episode with the idea that you are who you are and who you are is connected to your environment more than you’re probably aware of.

Let’s say you are 30 years old and you’ve been spending all your life in the same city. You’ve never left your city, you didn’t travel at all and maybe you even lived in the same apartment in the same neighborhood.

You don’t even know your entire city. Especially if you’ve lived in a big city, then that’s most probable.

In case I just described you, then that’s who you are.

You are your environment. You are the behaviors of your city. You are the vocabulary of your city. You are the energy of your city.

You are the city that you’ve been part of for the last 30 years.

But as soon as you decide to step out of the city, you’re going to start having all these thoughts:

  • How am I going to behave?
  • What am I going to say?
  • Do I know the language?
  • Do I know the people?
  • Am I going to offend anyone with something that I might do without even knowing that I’m doing it?

I’m saying this assuming that you’re a decent person.

You’re not just a jackass who is going to all of a sudden decide to travel to a different city and is going to act like you don’t care.

Personal reflection on traveling

I remember that when I did my first Camino de Santiago in 2022, I was thinking about something. I was thinking about the people that I met on the road and the people that I was going to meet and at a certain point, I was having this conversation with one of the pilgrims that I met on the road.

We had a conversation about people stealing on the road. As in, you’re going to leave your backpack somewhere and someone’s going to steal your backpack or steal something from your backpack or whatever – steal something from you.

We reached the conclusion that nobody’s going to leave their home to do Camino de Santiago, which means walking for almost 1000 kilometers, and be a jackass.

Nobody is like that. These are two different profiles that don’t match. They are so different that they’re at opposite poles because in order to leave the home and do Camino de Santiago and voluntarily walk 30 – 40 kilometers every day for a whole month, that’s painful. It’s not painful just physically, it’s painful emotionally, it’s painful spiritually.

Someone who’s a jackass is never going to do that – is probably just going to stay at home on the couch, watch TV and eat shwarma all day, all night long.

And that’s it. That’s their behavior.

Maybe these sounds are a bit rough, but that’s how I’m looking at things.

The transformative power of traveling

The idea is that as soon as you decide to travel and as soon as you start traveling, you become this other person. You start to get new behaviors, you start to get a new mindset, you start to get new ideas, you start to discover all these other people that you could be because who you are right now is a version of all the versions available that you could be.

As soon as you start traveling, you unlock the access to a new version of yourself. And the more you do it, the more you become able to add new things to that version of yourself.

I believe this is important as in knowing what traveling can do to you and can do for you.

It’s important because I remember I used to have a friend and this friend of mine is really passionate about dancing. He’s an instructor, he wants to have a dancing school and to have it at a certain level so he doesn’t have to depend on anything else financially and to have a living through his dancing school.

When I look back at his story and what I knew about him and we were friends for I think six, seven years, something like that, he really rarely left the hometown.

He was staying in the same city and he was having the mindset that he doesn’t have to leave. I’m not saying leave as in leave and never come back, but live and travel and stay away for one week, two weeks, one month, something like that, be in a different place for a period of time and then go back.

He didn’t really resonate with that idea. I think he was saying that he would like to do it, but he never did it.

Anyway, I remember that last year I encouraged him to do the shortest Camino de Santiago – in you leave home and for two weeks you walk around 300 kilometers, something like that. And it was really cheap.

If you consider it, I think right now Camino de Santiago (the shortest version) costs you around, if you travel from Europe, 700 euros. With everything included as in the plane tickets, the accommodation, the food, everything for two weeks, 700 euros.

That’s really cheap because if you take any other destination in Europe, you will probably pay, for two weeks, at least 1000 euros, maybe 1500 euros for two weeks.

When it comes to Camino Santiago, you get to meet people from all over the world and see a big part of Spain, maybe also Portugal.

And it’s an amazing journey. As I said, you’re going to be able to add all these new things to who you are as a person. To discover this new version of yourself.

Encouragement and personal experience

I think I really tried to help my friend understand the benefits of traveling. But he said, as I remember, he said that he had something else more important to do.

At that moment, I realized that whatever important thing he had in mind, it probably was not as important as traveling.

Because if you don’t really travel, you don’t see the benefits.

Whatever you have in mind right now, that thing that you prioritize right now is important, but is importantly connected to the mindset that you currently have, to the behaviors that you currently have, to whatever knowledge and information you currently have.

If let’s say for 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, you’ve been trying to build something to do something, to have a business (as my friend was trying) and it doesn’t seem to work out, then it means that the knowledge that you currently have in order to build a thing that you want to build, exactly how you want to build, it is not enough.

You don’t have it since you’ve tried for so long.

My friend, I think, tried for at least five years, but I think it was more than that.

That’s when you have to start traveling because through traveling (and there may be other options) you don’t only get new knowledge, but you get new energy.

That energy, I believe is important because you can read as many books as you want, it’s not going to change your energy.

Your energy is going to be connected to what you do practically. And what you do practically (with your body outside the house, not when you just read) is connected to your environment and your environment is your city where you’ve lived your life, your whole life, and you’ve never left.

In my mind, it makes so much sense. If you struggle and if you fail and if you keep failing, it’s not that you’re bad at it.

You simply don’t have the energy connected to the thing that you want to do. Maybe you don’t have the knowledge as in you need a different attitude. You need a different behavior. You need a different something that you’re not really going to get it from some books or from doing different things in the same environment.

You’re going to get it from doing something new when you’re going to open yourself to that new thing. Either you want it or you don’t want it.

Because as soon as you’re left home, there’s only two options:

  • you either go back home or
  • you stay with the experience and you open yourself to the experience

I believe that’s why traveling is so important.

It opens your mind in a way that you get to see a different version of yourself and the more you travel, the more you become that version of yourself.

How I overcame my obstacles of traveling

I was that kind of person who refused to travel and I used to refuse to travel because of my financial situation.

I remember I think the first time I left the country was in 2017 when a friend insisted that I should start traveling and he was traveling a lot.

I decided back then to visit Valencia.

The prices were a bit lower. I mean a lot lower than they are right now. But I remember I visited Valencia for two full days for only 150 euros.

Something like that. It was crazy.

Then I went back home and I didn’t travel anymore because that friend didn’t encourage me anymore and I was doing what I knew how to do as in I didn’t travel and I was simply getting back to my old self.

I think that’s the challenge because if you’ve lived in the same city for, I don’t know, for your whole life, and you want to do something that you believe is really important for the community around you and you struggle and you have no results and you keep failing.

Then there’s something that you have to change about yourself that’s not really in your control. It goes beyond what you can do in the environment you’re part of.

If that’s your situation, then travel. Start traveling.

Go for two or three days outside the country. Then go for a week. Then go for two weeks. Then go for a month. Then go for half a year.

Then… I don’t know what will happen.

Nobody knows.

You don’t know what will happen.

And that’s the beauty of it.

You get to discover a new part of your life that you would never be able to discover if you keep staying in the same situation that you’ve always experienced

To conclude this whole idea of the episode, for me, this mindset started forming when I did my first Camino in 2022.

That was from Porto to Santiago de Compostela (2 weeks) and it started opening my mind to that kind of experience and to those parts of me that were unexplored and in a way still are.

I did the first Camino in 2022 and the second Camino in 2023 from Lisbon to Santiago Compostela.

The first one took me two weeks. The second one took me a whole month.

Future plans for traveling

In less than a month from now (I’ll start my journey on 23 April), I’m going to be in Japan for a month.

It’s simply impossible for me to think of how I would be as a human being in Japan for so many reasons.

I’m not going to start listing them all. It’s going to take me another probably 10 or 20 minutes just to list all the reasons why I believe I’m not going to be able to imagine how I’m going to be as a person, as a human being, in Japan.

But I’m going to discover that version of myself being there and traveling and living in Japan for a whole month.

I think I have around 13 or 15 cities on my list and I’m going to be traveling and seeing a big part of Japan and I can’t wait for that.

After that experience, probably next year because for this year I have other plans or two years from now, or I don’t know, but this is certainly part of what I want to do.

I want to start living 3 months to 6 months in different countries and probably Spain or Portugal are going to be the first.

Probably Porto and live in Porto for six months and travel from Porto around Portugal just to experience the country and experience who I am when I do that and discover that version of myself.

And I encourage you to do the same.

Thank you for listening

I hope you found value in today’s episode.

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Thank you for listening.

With love and optimism,

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