I have a friend who works as a flight attendant for an international airline. To see her instagram feed, you would think she was a jet-set heiress, hopping from one country to the next. She’s posed next to a dozen international landmarks in the last six months, and that’s nothing compared to the endless stream of jungle beaches or pools in Bali.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last three years living in Los Angeles, living a relatively low-key life and wondering if I should give up everything and hop on the next airplane. I spent my childhood traveling, and yet the amount of countries I’ve visited is laughable compared to the number I could visit if I was an international flight attendant.
Still, I don’t think one night stopovers in Cambodia mean you can cross Asia off your list of things to do. What’s the distinction between stepping outside the airport on a layover and actually saying that you’ve visited a country? Two hours? Two days?
I came up with a method of determining whether or not I think it’s fair to say you’ve truly visited somewhere. You have to stay three days and two nights, and you have to do at least four things you couldn’t do at home. Whether that means eating bugs on sticks, taking dangerous motorcycle rides without a helmet, diving off cliffs; that’s up to you.
This trip was my first time to Asia, and it was also my first time out of the country in five freaking years. I’m almost ashamed to admit that number, since I come from such a well-traveled family, but sometimes life gets in the way, and goals get put on hold. I traveled all over America during that time, but domestic travel doesn’t change you the way that international travel can.
Travel - honest, risk-taking travel - is not for everyone. Nothing can tear down your walls and show you your true character the way that seeing the world can. The world does not take kindly to those with too many limitations; if you're unwilling to lose something, it's probably best to stay at home. If you leap off a cliff, you might plunge into the depths of the ocean, but if you merely slip off the edge, you're bound to hit a few rocks on the way down.
What are you waiting for?