Something I think about quite a lot as I make my way in and around the world ever so slowly. But once I’m thrust in the middle of its bare experience, a blissful world sucks me in to the pure wonder, the imagination of an idea coming to life, the endless paths and the feeling of taking something that’s offered to you. The World is Your Oyster, as the saying suggests, it’s yours – but not all of us are jumping at it, and here’s why.
The world is a scary place filled with the most generous of people to help you have the most amazing experience in their country. A purposeful juxtaposition of the truth I feel, in my experience of being a female solo traveller I’ve had by grace, an abundance of hospitable and humble individuals, families and now, friends who have cared for me on my journeys and whom without, my own perceptions of the world would be lacking in uncertainty and tainted by news media keeping us in fear of seeing what is true.
Or maybe you’re scared of something a lot less tangible. There is a fear that exists in us, a fear that we are incapable, incapable and inadequate at navigating throughout the world on our own, afraid we’d get lost, afraid of a language, or maybe, we even fear that we won’t be able to start the journey. We dread the bureaucratic nature of things – the airline ticket, the internet bookings, visa procedures that we put off the wonderment of discovering a world as if all these mundane tasks are not worth it in the end. Will you ever regret travelling, is the question I ask myself when the stress of it overwhelms me, and though the process is hard to do, the experiences are forever.
But let’s be real – travelling costs money, your own hard earned cash which you pay bills with and just about manage to last you throughout the month, that’s if you’re in a position to have a steady income. The money is always hard to come by and it seems like there’s always something more important to pay for. That trip to the ophthalmologist that you so desperately needed or that dental operation that could no longer wait, the bitter cold winter that spiked your bills to have some heat inside your flat. Or maybe you’re investing in other things at the moment, a car, a camera, an education for crying out loud. The world only becomes more and more expensive and with economies crashing against the dollar, it’s not easy to justify a trip abroad.
But what if you invest. If you could but change the way you see travelling, as a means of growth, as a way of seeing, you’d know that you’ll reap in its endless bounties that will carry you on through many trying times. Its pleasures are yours and yours alone, it’s only for you. It’s your world and it’s your oyster. But you are the one who needs to take it. And what a great loss it is, when you don’t.
Photographs taken in Kyoto, Japan.