LIFE LESSONS FROM TRAVELLING THE WORLD PART 9: Why YOU should travel the world

The first time I asked myself the question:

“What would you do if you only had 6 months to live?”

I had absolutely no idea.

But I decided to put some real thought into it and I finally wrote down the following…

Travel the World. See everything you’ve ever wanted to see and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do. Stop dreaming about it, stop imagining it, stop talking about it and just do it. Maybe it’ll be the trip of a lifetime, maybe it’ll completely suck. Why not do it and find out?

Then I did the greatest thing I’ve ever done, I packed my suitcase, gave away all my things, told my friends and family I was leaving, booked a one-way flight to Asia, and I actually did it. I felt a little excited, a little scared, but most of all I was just curious as to how it was all going to turn out. I knew I would learn a lot from the experience and that it would be something I would never regret no matter what happened. Besides, whoever regretted travelling the world and doing everything they’ve ever wanted to do?!

Now that I’ve done it I can tell you that travelling the world is life changing and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Not only is it one of the greatest things I’ve ever done but it’s one of the best decisions you could possibly make in life. Many people dream about travelling the world upon their retirement but as soon as I had done it (from age 32-35) I thought to myself “Why did I wait so long to do this?!”

Why YOU should Travel the World:

  • It will open your eyes, open your mind and broaden your perspective
  • It will expand your comfort zone and make you more confident
  • It will make you more intelligent, interesting and knowledgeable
  • It will give you incredible lifelong memories
  • You will make new friends from all over the world
  • It will give you a reality check and show you the way the world really is instead of how your mind or the media portrays it
  • It will allow you to see the other 99.99% of the world that you haven’t seen yet. Believe me: Some of your future favorite things are things that you don’t even know about yet

Spend your youth wisely. Don’t waste it. Don’t wait until you get older. You might not want to do it when you’re older. Your body might be too tired. You mind might be too closed. You might be too stuck in your ways. You might have children, a house, a mortgage, a business or some other commitment that prevents you from travelling. You might get sick. You might die. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you because you don’t know. Do it now while you still can.

To know the world you must experience it, you can’t learn about it from a book, podcast or video. It’s one thing to see a photo of the Pyramids on the internet, and another to stand beside them, touch them and walk inside of them.

Many people I spoke to on my travels told me they envied what I was doing and that travelling the world was their number one dream in life.

But of the thousands of people I met, how many people had actually done it?

I’d say maybe 2 or 3.

Why so few? Was it the money? Did they not have time? Was it due to other commitments? Was it because they had no one to go with?

Nope.

The number one reason I heard repeatedly is the exact same reason most people don’t pursue ANY of their dreams: FEAR!

Everyone wants to but they don’t because they’re afraid.

But guess what: I was afraid too!

I didn’t know what the trip would be like or what would happen. I just knew that I’d regret it if I didn’t and be proud if I did, so I decided to go for it.

Take my advice and do what I do: Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you can’t do it confidently do it scared. Just do it.

If you haven’t done a lot of travelling your mind maybe blowing it way out of proportion and making it seem like a much bigger deal than it really is. But the truth is that travelling the world isn’t actually that big of a deal. It’s easier than you think.

If you can go to one country, you can go to two, and if you can go to two you can go to three and that’s the way I did it. Once you’re in Europe you can go to a bunch of countries in a row and the same goes for Asia, Africa, South and Central America and the Middle East.

Even if you can’t do a bunch of countries this year, just do one. Identify your number one holiday dream destination, find out the best time of year to visit, see if you can get a friend to go with you, save some money and then make it happen. It’s much easier than you think and the more planning and research you do, the easier it will be. Believe me: You can’t do it soon enough. You won’t regret it and you’ll always be glad you did.

Warsaw, Poland

IT’S NO BIG DEAL!

I don’t even regret going to the places that I didn’t like (Cambodia, Egypt, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo), because I learnt something valuable from each one. Sometimes crappy places make you appreciate what you have. When I came back from India (despite liking it at the time) Melbourne seemed like Heaven on earth!

Finally let me state the obvious: Don’t expect your experience to be anything like mine. It’ll probably be the complete opposite. Maybe you’ll love all the places I hate and hate all the places I love. It all depends on what you like, what you’re into, where you go, when you go, where you stay, who you travel with, what the weather is like and about 5 billion other things. Even if we both go to the same city on the same day at the same time, our experiences will be completely different.

Anyway like I was saying travelling the world is life changing. It has changed me in so many ways and I want to share a few…

My beliefs, values and priorities have changed

Travelling has opened my eyes, opened my mind and changed the way I think about life. It has changed my beliefs, desires, priorities and values too. Before my trip I wanted so many ego boosting things: money, power, status, women etc. Now I want spiritual things: Awakening, enlightenment, love, truth, wisdom.

I’m quieter and more content 

Now that I’ve achieved my bucket list and done almost everything I’ve ever wanted to, I’m a lot more content and at peace with myself, other people and the world around me. Because of this I have a lot less to say and to prove to anyone which makes it almost impossible for someone to draw me into an argument or conflict. If someone tries to start an argument or fight with me I will not argue or try to prove them wrong. My only response (if any) will be “OK”.

It takes a lot to impress and wow me

I’ve now seen so many cool and interesting things that it’s become almost impossible to ‘WOW’ me.

Golden Temple, Bangkok

Oh look – another temple. Snore. (Golden Temple in Bangkok)

Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels

Another big Church – yawn. (Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels)

Gingerbread houses, Barcelona

Hey there’s some gingerbread houses (Barcelona)

The first time I saw an awesome statue or super tall building I was super impressed but after the 10th cool statue or tall building it just becomes normal and you get used to it. Now I’m more likely to be impressed by a good book, podcast or video.

I became interested in Ayahuasca and psychedelics

Ayahuasca Shaman

Benjamin: A very powerful 83-year-old Ayahuasca Shaman I’ve drunk with several times.

Prior to this trip I’d never had ANY desire to try Ayahuasca, DMT, LSD, Magic Mushrooms, Peyote or any other psychedelics. In fact, it sounded scary and I didn’t think I’d like it.

But this trip was about completing my bucket list and going outside my comfort zone. My friend really wanted to try Ayahuasca after seeing a massive transformation in his cousin a former Lawyer turned Shaman in Peru and after hearing him rave about it I agreed to try it too. That turned out to be one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made. Ayahuasca is probably the greatest thing I’ve ever done.

Since 2014, I’ve drunk Ayahuasca approximately 60 times, with about 15 different shamans, in both group and private ceremonies. I’ll be speaking a lot more about my incredible journey with Ayahuasca in depth in a series of upcoming articles.

I’m not freaked out anymore by giant spiders 

After living in and around the Amazon jungle in Peru for several months and spending 6 months in India, I’m pretty desensitised to all kinds of giant spiders, cockroaches and other insects. I can easily go to sleep knowing there is a huge spider in my room. It just doesn’t bother me anymore.

I’m less judgemental and more compassionate

I used to be very critical and judgemental of other people. I loved calling them retards and I was often impatient and unforgiving.

But now I feel a lot of love, compassion, empathy and understanding towards almost everyone. Even strangers and people I’ve never met before. I also feel a lot of love and compassion towards animals. Even insects. PS: Except Mosquitoes. ALL mosquitoes must die!

I don’t wear black anymore

Me back in the old days. (This photo was taken in 2013). My fav color was always black and now I can’t stand it.

Black has always been my favorite colour. I loved black and wore it almost exclusively. Black T-Shirts, black jeans, black shoes, black suits, I even had a black yoga mat. It’s the most popular color in my home country of New Zealand because it’s the color worn by our national rugby team the “All Blacks”. Kiwis wear black with pride.

However when I started drinking Ayahuasca in Peru, one of the first instructions I got from the Shamans was NOT to wear black during ceremonies because it attracts negative energy. I didn’t believe it at first but after experiencing it for myself I can confirm it and want no part of it. Black is now my LEAST favorite colour. I hate it. It represents evil to me and I believe that wearing black attracts bad things. I no longer wear black and I’m surprised that most Catholics Priests wear black and many Christians have black bibles.

Before drinking Ayahuasca I was completely ignorant of the power of colors and how they affected me emotionally and energetically except that I was more attracted to women who wore red or pink. Beyond that however, I had no clue and didn’t care.

Now I’m very conscious about the colors I wear and I try to wear as many lighter, brighter, softer colors as possible (white, blue, green, pink etc.) and I try to avoid darker and heavier colors (black, brown, red). I suggest that you become conscious of it too because the colors you wear play a major role in how you feel emotionally and energetically and how others feel about you when they are around you.

I no longer practice martial arts

BJJ World Champion Marcelo Garcia

Visiting 5X BJJ World Champion Marcelo Garcia in his academy in New York

Before this trip, Martial arts was my biggest passion in life. I’ve been doing martial arts ever since I was 21 and the only sport I really liked was MMA/UFC. I used to practice 5 days a week (Muay-Thai, Boxing, BJJ and Wrestling) and before deciding to go on this round the world trip I was going to invest $100, 000 USD into starting my own MMA gym here in Melbourne.

Looking back I’m definitely glad I didn’t.

Ayahuasca showed me that all violence is evil and that it goes far beyond the physical. We can be violent towards others (and often are) verbally, emotionally, energetically, with our body language, tonality, facial expressions and in the way we treat each other. Many people need to learn to communicate more respectfully and less aggressively.

I doubt I’ll ever go back to Martial Arts. It’s definitely empowering but it’s also ego-building. For someone who wants to wake up and get over themselves, Martial Arts is probably not the best way to do it. Don’t get me wrong, doing Martial Arts is one of the best decisions I ever made in life and it gave me a lot, but it’s served it’s purpose and now it’s time for me to move on to better things. Instead of martial arts I’m more interested in the mystical arts. Instead of learning to kick ass, I’d rather spent my time healing, reading, writing, learning, meditating or travelling.

I quit drinking coffee

Coffee

No more of these badboys

Travelling the world the first thing I would do when visiting a new city was go online to find out where the best coffee shops were. (I think I found most of them too). Whilst I loved coffee and was addicted to caffeine and the temporal high it gave me, I quit it because I found that it often made me anxious, jittery and nervous.

As someone who had a 20+ year addiction to coffee, caffeine and energy drinks this is huge. I’ve been drinking coffee and energy drinks since I was 16 (1996) and only quit last year (2016).

My time has never felt shorter

Now that I’ve completed my bucket list and done almost everything I’ve ever wanted to do, my time has never felt shorter. It feels like my life could end and I could die at any moment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think I will die tomorrow, it’s that even if I die at 100, to me that IS tomorrow. I can’t stand the thought of wasting time, and when I see other people wasting their lives one day at a time and not using their time wisely it makes me cringe.

I want to travel even more

I never really had much of a desire to travel… until I started travelling!

Now that I’ve started travelling, I don’t want to stop. I want to see even more of the world. Many people were surprised by just how long I travelled, and many of my friends asked me when I was going to come back to Australia, but here’s the thing: The more you travel, the more you want to travel!

Travelling is fun. It’s exciting. It’s interesting. It’s addictive. It keeps life fresh and interesting. It prevents you from getting stale and boring. I love flying and going to new cities and towns and meeting new people. I even love being at airports and walking on travelators (or as Americans call them ‘moving walkways’) and waiting for my flight.

La Paz, Bolivia

Experiencing different cultures is fun

Barcelona

Just walking around a foreign city is fun (Barcelona)

Conclusion: This is only the beginning

How do I feel now that I’ve been to 40 countries?

Honestly?

I feel like I’ve seen very little.

Although I’ve travelled a lot compared to most people, I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface. There is so much of the world that I haven’t even seen yet.

I haven’t been to MOST of Africa.

I’ve only been to 3 states in America (New York, California, Nevada).

I haven’t been to Canada or Mexico (only Cancun).

I haven’t seen ANY of Central America.

There are still more than 150 countries that I HAVEN’T been to!

I’m already thinking about my next trip around the world, the new countries and cities I want to visit, and the places I want to go back to and re-visit.

My future travel plans include:

  • Boston (Going in August)
  • Chicago (Going in August)
  • San Diego
  • Miami
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Russia (This time I’ll get my visa’s sorted)
  • Nepal
  • North Korea (Just to see what it’s like)
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Cuba

I definitely want to go back to:

  • New York (Going in August)
  • Tokyo
  • Rome
  • Jerusalem
  • Peru (Going in August)
  • Thailand
  • India

This trip has been a dream come true that’s for sure.

But more than that it’s been an education. And an awesome one at that.

This is part 9 of a 9 part series: Life Lessons from Traveling the World

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 1: Don’t believe the hype

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 2: Wherever you go, there you are

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 3: Things that surprised me

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 4: Highlights of the trip

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 5: My favorite travel destinations

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 6: My least favorite travel destinations

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 7: Travel tips – Part 1

Life Lessons from Traveling the World – Part 8: Travel tips – Part 2

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