No matter what it takes
And as soon as you are able to:
By god, make it happen.
You will not remember the expensive shoes
The wardrobe full of trendy clothes
And there will always be time to have the really nice car.
But you will not forget the first time you stood inside a 1000-year old castle
Or saw someone bending in prayer in the Ganges
Or the time a revelation in the Communist museum in Prague
Made you freer than you had ever been.
There will always be a great job
A wonderful partner
A university degree.
There won’t always be your youngest days
(Or even your youngish ones.)
I won’t promise you it’ll be all great and photo-worthy
Some days, you’ll have your head stuck so far up your ass
Or your heart so broken
Or your soul so tired
You won’t take anything in.
Time heals. Perspective, doubly so. And travel can give you perspective.
Some days will be total shit.
You might feel more lost and scared than you could have imagined.
You might wonder how you’d make it until tomorrow
Even surrounded by the comforts of home
Much less by a bunch of strangers in some shitty hostel room.
I promise you:
IT WILL NOT BREAK YOU.
It will make you.
It will open your mind the way books and professors can’t.
It will make you richer than any job security
It will take you beyond your own invisible borders
It will wake you up, again and again
It will connect you with your ancestors’ ancestors
Some random Irish strangers in line at the Colosseum
Some of the best friends you will ever have
And in between your travels
(or if you really, really can’t)
Have solo adventures.
Go to a gallery at night, an old church in another neighbourhood.
A garden, a dance class, a pottery workshop.
A weird museum.
Help others. Help animals. Get out of your comfort zone.
Be in your own body and your imagination.
Let the 5 or 10 or 15-year old you come out.
Again: it will suck sometimes.
It will be boring or overpriced or cheesy.
Shit will go wrong.
People will let you down.
Animals will let you down.
But you’ll be stronger, wiser, kinder and more grateful for it.
Just keep going.