There's always something that connects us as people. Sometimes it's the love of a good book, often it's a food obsession (oh hai, Chipotle), and occasionally it's a shared affinity for travel. For travel lovers, this is a particularly lasting bond once it's crafted because the experiences we share through travel instill memories that will last a lifetime, often with our trip mates as the stars of the show. Laughing about that weird guy who followed you through Florence to watch you eat ice cream, sharing condolences over that beautiful, brand new Canon stolen right out of your hostel locker in the red light district, and reminiscing about how incredibly blue the waters of Ibiza were... these things stay with you. It is perhaps the most wonderful part of exploration — meeting new people who have come from different backgrounds, learning about their experiences, and opening your heart.
The process of arriving in a foreign place and bonding even further with people you already care for isn't to be ignored either. Witnessing someone you love grow, adapt, and change is unfathomably beautiful. Travel, after all, is about learning — it helps you to progress, and to connect with and recognize others who have this shared passion. Here are a few things all travel lovers have in common.
1. Optimism seems more like a lifestyle than a life goal.
Maybe it's that once you've seen the way that real people out in the real world legitimately struggle with real problems, you just don't see the big deal in not being able to pay your phone bill that month. Regardless, travelers are serious optimists.
2. Maps. Maps everywhere.
Call it sentimental, but those who either desire to or have previously traveled seem to cover their worlds with artistic representations of the places they pine after. Keychains; posters; Facebook banners; the everlasting struggle to stuff little bits of the world in every facet of life.
3. Anything goes, and judgment isn't welcome.
There's a level of openness one can expect from a traveler that's unrivaled; the way we're taught to judge within our own culture kind of falls to pieces once you get out and see how other people live.
4. You hate to stay in one place for too long.
For many travelers, the idea of setting down roots and committing to a single way of life for eternity (deep calming breath) is a bit overwhelming. When you have that itch, even small changes of scenery are more than necessary. Often these are fulfilled in hikes, weekend trips, and spontaneous forays.
5. Making lasting friendships is one of your top priorities.
I've said before that my particular brand of "home" lies in the people I love all over the world. When your scenery is changing so frequently, it's vital to have something that keeps you grounded on an emotional level. For travelers, that something is people: family, friends, and the acquaintances we all make along the way.
6. You think all food is good food.
Travelers don't typically discriminate. They know that even the best of foods often can't be judged accurately by its fried, smothered, or exotically colored package.
7. You truly believe there's nothing wrong in this world that can't be fixed.
Even when things are looking particularly pear-shaped, explorers are up for the challenge. A knack for problem solving and a whole lot of experience troubleshooting in foreign languages will do that.
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