I like to call traveling “the great equalizer.”
Because when you pack a bag, kiss your family, scratch your dog behind the ears, and leave your safe and predictable nest of a home, anything can happen.
Especially when you’re flying.
There’s a significant price difference between first class and coach, and sure, people in first class get a little more space and actual smiles from the attendant…
But, when something goes wrong enough for the captain to make a concerning announcement…
Every human on that plane is trapped in the same metal tube, 30,000 feet above ground, shitting into the same blue leather fabric.
To travel is to make yourself vulnerable to the elements, the circumstances, and the people you encounter.
Great heartache may result.
So, too, will epic adventures.
The kind you cannot get at home, even through your bitchin’ VR goggles.
In business, willingness to travel is “the great differentiator.”
I cannot think of a single person I consider successful that does not travel.
I see them at summits.
I see them in masterminds.
I’ve even seen them in the airport headed somewhere awesome to grab life by the cajones.
“What’s up, man! Are you going to this thing in San Diego?”
“No, I’m on my way to Chile for a ski trip.”
“Badass. Have fun!”
Did you know 50% of Americans don’t own a passport?
And 11% have never left their home state.
10% say they have no desire to do so.
I sure hope they live somewhere beautiful.
Thing is, as writers, we don’t only live in our environments, we live in our heads.
We draw from the experiences we’ve earned at the risk of being vulnerable to the elements.
You can only imagine so far.
To bring true grit to the page requires emotion.
The emotion of falling in love.
The emotion of fearing for your life.
The emotion of waking up in a place so far from home that everything you know about how to function is out the window, so you trust your instincts and find a way.
In a place where you don’t speak the language. Can’t read the signs, or understand the currency. Don’t know who to trust.
That’s when you become truly HUMAN.
Because humanity is universal.
When you’re stripped of all the passive moves that get us through a normal day, every one of your key senses comes to life in ways you didn’t know were possible.
You communicate through the eyes, and the hands, because words have no meaning.
Yet, somehow, with help from sympathetic people, you get where you’re going.
You realize in that moment that you are stronger, more resourceful, and more capable than you thought.
The next day, you know the rules.
You’ve made some friends.
You’re starting to belong.
In one day, you grew more as a person than you have in years.
And you get to bring all of it home with you.
With better stories, better worldview, and better writing than you had before.
What can’t you accomplish after that?