Traveling doesn't make you happy. This is the most important insight about traveling that I have gained in the past year. It sounds pretty negative to say that. It is not meant to be.
, nach Südamerika , nach Japan und Südkorea , nach Finnland oder Sierra Leone . I traveled a lot last year: to Lebanon , to South America , to Japan and South Korea , to Finland or Sierra Leone . I had the opportunity to do so. The more you travel, the more natural it becomes. It is quite natural. This applies to everything you do in life.
I have made a name for myself in the so-called travel blogger scene. This is nice because it shows that you somehow get on with what you like to do. You feel confirmed in what you do.
But what difference does it make?
mit Spiegel Online habe ich erklärt: „Das Unterwegs-Sein wird gerne als Sehnsuchtszustand verklärt. In an interview with Spiegel Online , I explained: “Being on the go is often transfigured as a state of longing. Only the practical itineraries are often tiring and sobering. You realize that traveling per se does not mean permanent happiness, because the euphoric moments, like in life, only occur occasionally. "
It is exactly like that.
This may sound depressing to many. When I tell people about my travels or when they read about them on the Internet, there are often comments like "Enviable" or "Insanity wherever you go".
On the one hand, that's true.
On the other hand, I often felt quite lonely when traveling. I didn't know what to do with myself in the most beautiful places in the world. I racked my brains over the pros and cons of this or that lifestyle, this or that decision instead of simply enjoying the moment.
In the best case, I experienced traveling as if in a frenzy. I have not dealt with myself, but with the world and what it has to offer.
But after almost every trip, the moment came when I was sitting in my room in Berlin and asked myself: What has actually changed?
This question grew after my trip to Peru. darüber handelt von diesem Widerspruch aus Erwartung und Enttäuschung. The story about it is about this contradiction of expectation and disappointment.
In the distance, while letting yourself go, you can feel the energy of life very strongly. At home in the evening in your own apartment, the big world shrinks again. As if you had never really been away.
How can that be?
I am convinced that it is a misconception that traveling charges you with a positive energy that can change your life permanently. This may be possible if you go really long and go into existential extremes - half a year in a monastery in Asia , weeks alone through the desert, with a sailboat across the Atlantic, an expedition to a high mountain.
But ordinary, time-limited travel doesn't make you a better or happier person. It usually changes little about your posture. You carry your worries and your big questions about life in your backpack through the world. At best, you forget them for a while. But they don't go away.
That is a sobering realization. But at least for me it applies.
The ability to get on an airplane and fly away doesn't change anything.
This statement is by no means as negative as it may sound. On the contrary - it is based on an awareness that can ultimately lead to much more satisfaction than any self-discovery trip in Southeast Asia.
Just as the big backpacking tour is not a life changer , there are no other outstanding experiences such as a bungee jump, the long-awaited semester abroad in Soundso or a sports car.
It's the things we do every day that make the biggest difference in our lives. And that really contribute to greater satisfaction in the long term with our incredibly privileged life.
It is not the unique experience, the extraordinary, the extreme. But the permanence, the everyday, the constant work on yourself.
The main thing is to put off negative routines and develop habits that contribute positively to daily well-being. Usually these are very mundane things: getting up earlier, addressing people more often, listening better, always devoting yourself to one thing with full concentration.
It is about working on your interests and potentials little by little to get closer to the so-called big goals.
Recognize things as correct and then implement them.
So it's about the entire state of mind , the attitude you develop towards things and the way you live your everyday life. Every moment.
That shapes the character. Everything else is attitude.
But what to do with traveling if it is not such a great lucky charm in the long term?
Learning to travel means learning life. There is no difference.
At the beginning I wrote: Traveling doesn't make you happy. One might have to say: The possibility of being able to travel does not make you happier than normal life.
Of course, travel is often more spectacular than everyday life. Every form of variety and unusual experience leaves more memories than the monotonous sequence of getting up, working, eating and sleeping.
Probably everyone has to answer for themselves why they are traveling somewhere and not somewhere else or not at all.
I can only speak for myself: I see travel as a valuable addition to my world of experience.
This happens in very different ways. The motive for a trip can be the interest in the real life of a certain cultural area. A journalistic research. The attraction of going beyond physical limits. The need for relaxation and contemplation. The desire to evade the world. Trying to find (or find again) yourself.
I think these are good reasons.
But traveling should not be transfigured to a state of longing and elevated to a fantasy of happiness.
You should probably start every day like the big journey you hope for so much.
It may work that way at some point, to go through life more relaxed and at the same time more focused. With an open mind and open heart instead of disinterest and cynicism. To put one's own meaning before the size and abundance of things that surround you every day. Enjoying more instead of staying in endless loops of reflection about yourself.
I still don't succeed as often as I wish.
But it does not fall with a journey from heaven. It is a long way.