Travel advice from an amateur

1. Pre-departure meditation.

It is really important to do some mental work before travelling. In my opinion, you should never have pre conceived notions about a place (or try not to have any). I never try to have expectations. WHY? Because you’re already setting your mind up for comparison. If you go thinking “oh it is going to be like this”… and its not what you thought, your mind will be left battling the reality. What I mean by that is…. you won’t get to experience THAT MOMENT for what it is. There is a reason “surprises” are a positive thing. They come out to no where, we see them for what they are when it happens. Therefore resulting in a happier experience and one that is PURE. So, in less confusing english, I am saying….DROP THE EXPECTATIONS and TAKE IT ALLLLLLLL IN. The good and the bad. 🙂

2. Open dat mind!

It is probably making some people cringe as I wrote “dat” instead of “that”. Loosen up a little! It is REALLY important to stay open minded when in a different environment. YES this doesn’t look like home, YES these people are strangers, YES you want your normal stomach activities back. But if you spend more time thinking about what you miss about home and less time about what is new out there, you’re going to set yourself up for a bad time. New experiences bring about new opportunities! Treat every new day as a new opportunity and LEARN from it. If something goes wrong, treat is as something that is PART of the experience. I think bad things just add a little taste to the travels ;). All in all, you never heard a good story out of a perfect, by the book, experience. Things don’t always go as planned, people don’t always act as you thought they would, SO WHAT? The more your open up your mind , the more room you have to love everything around you.

3. Make a connection!

This one is kind of hopeful. Once again you’re reading this from a person who’s only traveled to a handful of countries and is pretending to give travel advice. But this one makes sense to me! Something that adds to each trip, each experience is the QUALITY of the experience. Whether you’re travelling for pleasure or work, make a connection that will constantly make you smile about the memories you have of that place. Whether it is a person you can relate to, a spot that made you feel alive or even an object that you found there that made the experience that much BETTER. “Success is when you think back to your memories and they make you smile”. A successful trip is when I leave behind a piece of my heart with someone or something that I know will keep it safe. 🙂

4. La deeeee daaaaa moments

WRITE THEM DOWN.  I cannot stress enough how amazing it is to refer back to something in the future and be able to read how you felt at that moment. Yes, it is nice to look at pictures, and trust your memory to remember how happy you were. But it is a whole new level of reminiscing when you can open up a journal and be like “Omg, i totally forgot thats how i felt that day.” I know writing is something you might have NEVER done before, but there is a first time for everything. During a new experience, you need at least 15-20 minutes (longer the better) per day to reflect on your amazing accomplishments that day. These special moments can stay with you forever and remind you that your happiness doesn’t have to stay behind in that country, you can take it home with you, and feel that way everyday!

Maybe these are things you already knew! And maybe these are things you need to think about in the future. I just wanted to share my two cents on how I perceive new experiences!

Plan a new adventure.

Speaking of an adventure… Come out to our open house on Feb 2nd/2014 at 1pm to our burlington office! Check out upcoming events at http://www.solidarityinaction.ca

-Mansi Parasher

NOT FUN!!

By far, the highlight of my entire year of 2013 was reaching the end of my Salkantay Trek after 5 days. Climbing a mountain is NOT FUN. Being exhausted is NOT FUN. Being dirty is NOT FUN.

It is ONLY the feeling of accomplishment, adventure and the experience you get out of it after you have finished it. Most of the journey during it felt like “Oh my gosh, why am i doing this?” So even after all the NOT FUN parts, the overall experience was fantastic and the most memorable physical experience. 941200_10151944854976038_181735734_n

I like to look at life in a similar perspective. Life isn’t all about fun and games. Unfortunately, we have to do things (a lot) that we do not like. Go through struggles, put up with unpleasant personalities, problem solving, overcoming fear, or anything that you consider NOT FUN.

It is only after we do it, we feel so good for overcoming these mental and physical obstacles in life. We feel so good when we finish a task. We feel even better when we get good results out of the hard work.

This is a new year, and some people like to think of it as a new beginning. But why wait for a new year to give you motivation? A new day is an opportunity to do something different, something better than yesterday.

So go out there and do something thats NOT FUN with full efforts.

Never thought I would be giving that advice out.

I recently reflected on my past experience that WERE FUN and still rewarding. Check out my video on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/solidarityinactioninc.

Tell me what you think!

-Mansi Parasher