How can travel change your life perspective

- Guest post by Rebecca Brown -

Speaking many languages wasn't really a choice for me. I was born in Sweden to an English father and a Croatian mother. My parents talked to each other in English they are both very fluent in, and would also use Swedish that was relatively novel to them at the time they started a family. I went to a proper Swedish school. So you get the picture. From very early on, my world was multi-lingual. 

That was probably a bit confusing in the beginning. Neither I nor my twin brother uttered a proper sentence until we were 3. My parents were really worried, but the doctors said this was normal for a multi-lingual family setting.

Language collectors

As we grew up and got a hold of it, all the fun began. My brother and I shared a superpower - we would talk to each other in "secret languages" no other kid could understand. Was it because of these amazing games or the way a multi-lingual setting formed our brain, we really developed a knack for learning languages. 

By the time we were teens, my brother became attracted to learning Asian languages, and I got interested in the Romance language group - Spanish, Italian and French. But our always-practical father gave us wise advice - to master the languages we were already given. He said that it would open up a world of opportunities for us when it comes to finding a well-paid job. 

The coming of age and the tough decisions

Our father hoped that we would become interpreters in some of the EU's official institutions, or at the United Nations. This job is very well paid and constant. When you gain sufficient experience, you become an almost irreplaceable part of a delegation. 

But there is a downside to it. Being an interpreter is not very creative and you have this huge responsibility of translating the important high-level speeches, dialogues, and meetings just right. This can be draining. It's not something I've envisioned for myself, how I imagined my life would be.

When we graduated from university, a good opportunity came along almost instantly. My brother went for it. I don't want to go into specifics, but he became an important part of the EU administration Swedish language booth. He mastered the Balkan languages and now he has a very significant role in various meetings between the representatives of Sweden and the Western Balkans.

But my heart screamed at me to decline this lucrative offer and to create a different lifestyle for myself. Opting for an alternative path was probably one of my life's hardest decisions. I was going against my father's wishes, and I was splitting ways with my twin as I chose this exciting life of uncertainty - to become a traveling freelance translator.

The sabbatical that became my life

It began with taking a sabbatical, or at least that was my official story, my excuse for turning down the offer. With a group of friends, I decided to go walking the Camino de Santiago – more specifically, the Camino Portugues, where I truly fell in love with traveling all over again. And this is where my life truly changed, and I knew what I wanted to do. I wasn’t going to spend my life in a single place, working. I was going to travel the world, working. 

What travel has taught me about being human

Seven years have passed since I became a traveling freelance translator, and all in all, I've traveled through 24 countries. Becoming a world traveler has impacted my life in a profound way, and not just by changing my external circumstances. It changed my state of mind and increased my spiritual cravings. 

The biggest impression that it all narrows down to is the experience of common, shared humanity. There is a shared streak running through all the cultures I've encountered and met, no matter how different they look on the surface. That's what still fascinates me and what I choose to focus on. 

When I was a child, my multi-cultural family always made jokes about different ethnicity, describing our faults and quirks as parts of a certain mentality. 

There are people who'll agree by saying there are only "the good people" and "the bad people" in this world. To me, that doesn't ring true either. It is not that simple, or if you wish, it's even simpler: we're all just human. And we can't choose our mother tongue (well, I could, in a way!) and our inherited culture, but we choose to do good or bad all the time. And the good and the bad is pretty much the same across Earth. 

In the end, my chosen lifestyle has taught me to value this human unity and to always try to be on the side of good. The universal good.

*This article is a guest post by Rebecca Brown.

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Author Bio: Rebecca Brown is a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. Her job has given her the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world! (Blog | Twitter)

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