Wherever you go, whatever you do, if the attainment of freedom is your ultimate goal then the first step is to liberate yourself from within. By this I mean, that in order to truly enjoy freedom, one needs to break free from one’s inhibitions and other internal constrains that does not allow one to be free in one’s choices. The task of losing these chains that restrain you is never easy. You’ll have challenges which you need to constantly overcome. I want you to contemplate on the fact if you can ever be that person who is ready to overcome fears and welcome new life and new surroundings? And, what would you call that person who is ready to battle his past and befriend a new uncertain future. Amateur? Explorer? I suggest that we call him The Citizen. The idea behind it is that we are all citizens of the world, despite the place where we hail from.
Last year I’ve been travelling across countries and cities, shifting between dormitories, guest houses, home stays and apartments. The experience I gained from doing so was immense and equally profound. There is a certain sense of wisdom that dawn upon you when you go to sleep on a small mattress in a tiny, empty room that does not belong to you. That awareness made me realize that if you can find yourself a bed to sleep peacefully, then you are indeed rich. To start life anew in a different country and completely different environment can be very problematic. But on the brighter side you will discover new values that you’ve never realized before, find a greater appreciation and a renewed understanding of life.
The main challenges that you may face when you move onto newer pastures:
- Language– Although English is the most widely accepted global language, not everyone can speak or comprehend the language. When you are in a new country, it is very important to recognize, understand and speak at least a few words of the native language in order to survive and build associations with natives. The longer your stay is, the more important this aspect becomes.
- Intercultural Misunderstandings– What is acceptable in one country, community can be disrespectful or even a taboo in another culture or as per a different tradition. So, you should adapt yourself to local customs and beliefs.
- Attitudes– People are different and their attitudes differ greatly when they encounter different situations or scenarios. There is no one way or one air tight compartment to categorize people and their mentalities. We cannot stereotype one person according to their native community or religion and conversely. However, there are some common attributes (physical, psychological) inherent to the people of every nation that we should try to respect and understand.
- Self-dependence– It may not initially sound much like a challenge, but it is something that we need to build inside. When you find yourself in a new place you should understand that you might also find yourself in situations where no one can help you except yourself. You should find the courage within yourself to take wise actions and brave decisions.
- New rhythm of life– Based on political, socio-economic and ecological surroundings, every area has own vibes. The life in one place can be fast and filled with quick changes in a society that demands one to be agile and brisk. In other places life would be more slow and serene where you can lose yourself, be more quiet and lazy.
This is not an exhaustive list and what I have described, is very ordinary mundane stuff. According to features of one’s personality, everyone can consider the different challenges that he/she might be faced with. That is the beauty of personal experience. When you travel alone by yourself, you not only discover a lot about yourself but also about life and the way others live. That is when you become a global citizen. There are plenty of positives in living and travelling alone- living a unrestrained, unconventional life. The realization that you belong to yourself is liberating. It makes you responsible in certain ways. Also taking time off to understand oneself is a good way of self-improvement without any distraction from outside. Making one’s own decisions makes you stronger, helps you gain life skills and aptitude to face challenges in different spheres of living. It is a shame when adults cannot manage their own life’s decisions and have to throw it at the discretion of others. We humans are blessed with intelligence, consciousness, moral and physical powers to survive in any situation and it is that fact that we need to live up to. Literally!