I'm not sure when I fell in love with the notion of traveling and experiencing new places. Maybe it was my mother's efforts to make any long trip into a mini vacation. Maybe it was when I began to learn French in high school, and my first short trip to Europe. Maybe it was solidified after my 6-week study abroad in England.
Or maybe, it's just in your blood.
I think it was a culmination of all these things that has fueled my desire to travel, but even if you haven't experienced these same, or similar things, you may love traveling too. Maybe you just don't know it yet.
Some quirks and realizations I had about my constant underlying desire to travel were seemingly everyday occurrences. They are feelings and shifts in perspective that I was not always prepared for, and that have become a part of myself. If any, or all, of these signs apply to you, you might be a traveler at heart.
1. You get jealous every time you see photos of people's travels and vacations, even on TV
We are a pretty jealous species, and our heavy reliance on technology and social media has not changed that. If anything, it's made it worse. I feel a whole range of emotions when I see someone's quick snap from various places in the world. They make me look around at my current place in life and residence and I immediately get the travel bug.
2. Your idea of saving money and planning for the future is for possible plane tickets, not a house
Growing up, we are all told about the inevitable big purchases in life, most notable being a house. While I enjoy some fantasizing over the kind of house I will have, that time spent in nothing in comparison to the time I've spent planning trips in my mind. When I save, of course, there are necessities to think of, but my goal is not the stability of a house, but of plane tickets and new destinations.
3. You love to learn new things about new places
I was drawn to take French in high school, not that my small school had many language options, and I could never explain why. Everything I learned about the language and the culture fascinated me, especially when I compared it to the familiarity of the US. This also played into the historian in me, which makes every new place visited also a journey to the past.
4. You can't picture yourself living in one place, at least not indefinitely
When I was growing up, I could never picture myself in the future. I didn't see myself going away to college and definitely didn't expect to study abroad during those years. This has changed in me so that now, I don't think about a stable situation in my future but am open to change and movement. I have places and people that I call home, but through them, I feel the freedom and confidence to change up my surroundings. After two years of living in the same apartment, for example, I'm ready to move out and move on.
5. You feel a new sense of comfort and confidence in a new place
I have quite a bit of anxiety when it comes to big and/or important situations. But in addition to that, I have a tendency to be socially awkward as well. Maybe part of my personal growth is due to simply maturing, but there was a sense of confidence and security I didn't expect when I traveled. I faced new experiences with little hesitation compared to my normal behavior, and I felt comfortable in new scenarios. I highly recommend.
6. You worry more about your terrible passport photo than your terrible driver's license photo
Any official picture of me is undoubtedly bad. But, for as little as I get to use my passport, I am much more aware of that terrible photo than the one I carry almost every day. My passport symbolizes who I am in the world and the experiences I've had, which hold more weight for me than the plastic card that lets me drive. This may seem weird or excessive, but it's just a part of holding travel close to your heart.
I may fall into the cliché of wanting to spread my wings after living most of my life in a small, rural town, but I don't think that fully explains how I feel. It's not just that I want to leave what I know since I still love it and call it home.
I want to experience so much in so many places, probably because I have this mentality. Wanting to travel is not an insult to your "regular" life, it's a part of you that wants to experience both. I hope you see those pictures on Instagram of a vacation and that motivates you to take your own. I hope you experience new places and feel so alive and confident in them.
I hope we get to travel because it's what we would love to do.