What makes one a real “travel warrior”?
Is it the number of countries you can cross off on your map?
Or maybe the number of miles you’ve flown?
Perhaps, for the more adventurous, it’s measured by how many times you’ve found yourself stranded in a foreign country, or how many mountains you’ve climbed.
But to me, being a true travel warrior isn’t about numbers and checklists. It’s not about what you do, but rather how you do it.
Being a travel warrior is an attitude, a way of being, that you can carry with you as far as Antarctica or as close as your backyard. It can be cultivated at home and abroad.
This inner travel warrior can be measured by the 3 Gs:
Guts, grit, and gratitude.
So, do you have what it takes?
It takes guts to travel abroad, especially if you travel solo. But it takes guts to even think about maybe leaving your life behind for a bit to see the world, to dare to dream. When so many people settle for less than what they want and refuse to look beyond their small worlds, to let the “what ifs” take over your mind is an act of courage.
You are brave. Even if you don’t know it yet.
Some people feel they were born without guts, but in fact, courage is something you cultivate within yourself.
If you feel that tickling sensation in your stomach when you think about travel, that’s your guts! (And maybe some nerves, but that’s normal).
If you feel your soul wandering, it’s proof that you’ve got the guts to let your body do the same.
Grit is often described as tenacity, but it can also be defined as small particles of gravel. It’s a quality that’s a little rough rather than perfectly smooth.
You’ve got some rough edges, perhaps a few scrapes on your legs, and some blisters on your feet.
These aren’t flaws. Every single mark, on your body and your soul, is the mark of experience, of hard work, and of overcoming. When a scar heals over a wound, the skin becomes stronger, more durable, than before.
You’ve been through some things – we all have.
But grit is about powering through these rough times and coming out of them for the better, embracing the experiences that made you who you are. That little layer of grit a mark of character rather than something to wash away or hide.
Travel warriors encounter obstacles over and over again, but they never let themselves be torn down or made immobile by them. They power through and wear their travel scars proudly.
We’ve all met them while traveling – the complainers. There’s always a problem with something, and they seem to criticize more than appreciate.
Guts and grit alone may send you off to new places, but they won’t ensure that you get the most out of your time there. The only thing that can do that is learning how to cultivate gratitude along the way.
A true travel warrior lives and breathes with a deep sense of gratitude for every new place, experience, sight, and smell. They know that their ability to see other parts of the world and to move about and live freely is a precious gift to be treasured, so they appreciate every second of it, even when they have an off day.
They smile at the simple things, like the chirp of a bird or the smell of fresh-baked bread. They find a way to enjoy anything, even annoyances like a burst of heavy rain in the middle of their beach time.
This strong sense of gratitude helps them through the biggest obstacles and hardest days because it reminds them that they are lucky, helping them find bright spots in the darkest of clouds.
Guts will get you going, grit will power you through, and gratitude will let you truly get the most out of your travels.
If you feel like you can cultivate these three qualities, then you’re ready to let out that travel warrior inside and listen to her roar!
About The Author
Elizabeth Aldrich is a lifelong traveler and freelance writer specializing in arts and entertainment, travel and lifestyle, and finance and business writing. She’s written for outlets as varied as Rawckus Music & Arts Magazine, Credit Karma, Sweden Tips, and Engadget. Elizabeth has a knack (read: obsession) for finding the best deals, travel hacks, and hidden gems everywhere she goes, which she blogs about at Temporary Provisions. You can find her playing the urban romantic in NYC, downing Stumptown coffee in her hometown of Portland, OR, or retreating from the madness in the rain forests of Costa Rica. To see more of her work, visit her at www.elizabethaldrich.com.