bilan travels // the honest truth about traveling

As someone who has come to find more comfort in transition and travel than in anything else, I want you to know that traveling isn’t as always as colorful as your favorite travel blogger’s Instagram feed makes it out to be. Speaking on behalf of myself, I have had my fair share of low moments away from home.I feel like it’s time that I am honest with you all. The following is my attempt at sharing some realities of travel:


Traveling isn’t an escape…from any larger problems that you are facing. Along with your carry-on you will be taking with you any existing emotional/mental baggage. While traveling far away for a short period of time may seem as if it is the answer to your prayers, it is only a temporary solution. Those longer trips? The distraction eventually wears off and when that happens, there is no worser travel companion than your thoughts when you are going through a difficult time. The best thing to do is take a moment to think through exactly what is causing you any sadness or pain and brainstorm ways of resolving it (i.e. steps you can take). It may seem like the scariest thing in the world to tackle your problems head on but trust me, you can and will get through it, and you will be stronger for it.

Travel may redefine home for you but where you’re from and what you have been through will always be a part of you. Beyond the obvious of people you encounter asking you where you are from, know that everything from your habits and reactions to your humor and your speech is a reflection of where you come from both geographically and in terms of experiences. If you’re the kind of person who hates your town and idolizes another, I want you to understand that just like people, no single place is perfect.

Traveling isn’t just about places, it’s about people, the familiar and the unfamiliar. This may seem obvious but we always remember places with respect to moments and experiences. The people we travel with or the people we meet along the way shape those experiences, and in turn, shape us as humans. Treasure the good experiences and for the bad ones, try to disassociate the people with the place. I have to admit, I have yet to master this skill myself. Nevertheless, I’ve come to learn that while it’s important to forgive rather than forget, forming new (and better) memories is always possible.

Traveling isn’t all fun and rainbows. Sometimes traveling can be fun, missed (connecting) flights, and rainbows. Sometimes traveling can be fun, getting your stuff stolen, and rainbows. Sometimes traveling can even mean fun, heartbreak, and rainbows. With all the possible good moments that people parade around on social media, there are also bad moments of misfortune, mishaps, and miscommunication. If any of these sound familiar to you, just know it happens to the best of us. To paraphrase in yet another famous somewhat inspirational quote, we don’t have control over what happens to us, but rather how we react.

Traveling isn’t the fast-track way of finding yourself. Can I have an understanding of Bilan for 500, Alex? There won’t be a miraculous Eat Pray Love moment when it all just simultaneously comes to you and you understand all that you are, and all that you are meant to be doing, and who you are meant to be with while traveling. Traveling, especially by yourself, will challenge you, if you let it. In order to grow, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and to take in and process all that is around you. In getting on the train, plane, etc. you have already taken the first step. During your travels just remember reflecting on certain experiences is just as important as being present during those experiences.

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