Don’t ever travel. Don’t venture further than you have to in this world. If you can, remain in one place for as long as possible – in fact, don’t even leave your hometown. Settle down, dig your roots in deep, and be comfortable.
Don’t ever travel. Don’t get lost in cobblestone streets and don’t spend hours reflecting in little stone chapels, their walls peeling paint while their Saints watch over you. Don’t hold your breath in the Sistine Chapel. Don’t munch on chocolate crepes as you meander to the Eiffel Tower. Don’t explore castle ruins and under no circumstances should you ever go pub crawling at Temple Bar. Do not explore the world around you.
Don’t learn new languages. Don’t attempt to twist your tongue around the rolling sounds of ‘Castello Sforzesco’. Don’t bother with ‘hellos’ and ‘thank yous’ in Hindi. Don’t ever be in a position that requires you know how to barter in Spanish for a taxi to the bus station in Lima. Do not expand your ability to communicate beyond words.
Don’t seek experiences that challenge your beliefs. Don’t discover how your “nothing” can be someone else’s “everything”. Don’t compare a concrete room housing three generations with your two storey house for one. Don’t question the flashy possessions by which you define your identity. Do not experience gratitude.
Don’t try to do something different. Don’t try to break away from your comfort zone. Don’t go paragliding in Kas, don’t eat that weird thing you can neither pronounce nor identify in Beijing, and don’t think for a minute that riding on a tuk tuk through the streets of Siem Reap will be anything other than dangerous. Do not challenge your expectations of yourself.
Don’t ever travel. Don’t seek answers to life in other places. Don’t seek change. Don’t stray too far from your home. Don’t ever travel.
Travel has terrible side effects. You will return home and nothing will have changed, but nothing will ever be the same again. You will never enjoy the morning commute after you have had breakfast in France and lunch in Switzerland. You will never be the same person you were before you heard Buddhist monks chanting in Taktsang Monastery. You will forget the person who left home in search of adventure because that person will become the adventure. 42 will no longer be enough.
To travel is to risk everything – it is to risk your beliefs, it is to risk the world you know, it is to risk the person you thought you were.
Don’t ever travel.
But if you must: tread lightly, look deeply, listen carefully.
And trust me on the pub crawl.