About The Author: Lauren Rains is a cool, world traveling chick who is on a quest to live a kickass life of adventure and substance. She’s lived in Buenos Aires, Cannes, and Beijing and spends a lot of time designing websites when she’s not off exploring the unknown. You can strike up a convo with her about the meaning of life on Twitter @LaurRains or travel to her blog, The Mad to Live, where she writes about how to live the wild, crazy and meaningful life we’re all meant to live.
There’s something about world travel that accelerates life. It’s as if you’re able to live the life of 10 humans in one year abroad because life lessons, extraordinary experiences, and crazy challenges seem to occur every step of the way.
For me, a big part of this always is inspired by the people I meet along the way. Back home most things are a routine, including the people we see day-to-day. However, when you’re exploring the planet, you meet people of all walks of life who have lived all sorts of fascinating experiences and have all kinds of stories, opinions and insights.
So today I’m going to share with you a few people I’ve met through my journeys and the lessons that they taught me.
“You Are Not Your Past” – Liu Bin – Beijing, China
Liu Bin was one of my best friends in China. He wouldn’t have been had he not been able to leave the AIDS ridden village and abusive father he grew up with in the countryside. He was the first in his village to go to college, and can recite Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech word for word perfectly. This guy is even learning Spanish now!
Liu taught me that no matter what the odds, no matter how unfair something is, and no matter how impossible it seems, where there is a will there is a way. No ifs, ands, or buts.
He made me realize that any excuses I could ever think of as to why I couldn’t do something were merely laughable in the face of the challenges and obstacles he overcame without even complaining.
He showed me through his own example to stay positive because being negative isn’t worth it, and to always enjoy the simple pleasures in life, especially my friendships.
“Be No One Else But YOU” – Samantha Hiner – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sam is hands down one of the raddest chicks I have ever met. She’s a world-traveling, Spanish-speaking, in-your-face, big-loving kind of gal, and I love her for it. She’s currently living in Madrid, Spain teaching, hanging out with cute boys named Raul, and living her dream. I can’t help but smile as I type this.
Her first solo travel experience was a month long trip through Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. She came back with lessons like, “long bus rides are only bearable if you can stand your inner most thoughts, when you go outside of your comfort zone, that’s when the stories that you’ll tell your grandchildren begin, and traveling is about you; making your own choices, doing/seeing what you want–nobody else can tell you what will happen to you”.
She was only 20 when she made that trip. She’s a role model for being brave and believing you can take yourself on any journey you desire.
“Teach Your Family the World” – Mr. & Mrs. Garossi – Cannes, France
The Garossis are the parents of one of my best and oldest friends Adrien. I spent the summer with them in France when I was 18. They and their children have lived in France, Spain, England, the US, and Brazil. They’re fluent in each of those respected languages! Not intermediate. FLUENT!
They inspired my curiosity and passion, and showed me my first glimpses of the outside world. They made me see that educating your children about cultures, language, and travel is far more valuable than the text books we read in school. And while it is far down the road for me, I hope to do the same for my kids one day as well.
SHARING YOUR STORY
Somehow the friends we make on those long trips across foreign borders so easily leave a mark on us. Maybe it’s the fact that we share the same mentality and passion for chasing after the wonders of the world. Maybe it’s that even while this mentality makes us similar, it’s the differences and stories in our lives up until that point that makes how they got to that mentality so fascinating. Maybe it’s simply that when you’re on the road your mind is more open than ever and those life talks with fellow travelers just seem to sink in and resonate with us more naturally.
So, what’s your story? Because while we’re off exploring the world and learning from everyone else’s stories, we’re also inspiring others with our own.