how travel made me a better person
There’s something about traveling that has me coming back for more, year after year. It’s exciting. It’s addicting. It’s an adrenaline rush that never seems to be enough, at least not yet. Interestingly enough, what was once a “once in a lifetime trip” for me has somehow turned into a trip that has lasted a lifetime. Well, at least it feels that way.
I have always thought of being open minded, even before I started traveling. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been any more wrong. It wasn’t until I really started to travel outside of my homeland that I realised how wrong I was.
I’ve been tested and challenged numerous times throughout my travels, yet I’m a firm believer that everything I have experienced along this journey of mine has made me a better person in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
I know Who I am, I Like Who I am, and I am Happy
It’s never easy to admit your flaws, let alone shine a light on them for the entire interwebs to see…. But I dare say that with each of these confessions, there would be at least one other person (presumably oodles of people) who can say the same or something similar for themselves. Maybe not?
Regardless, here goes nothing…
Living in a 9-5 world tend us to live in bubble-like existences. We have our home bubble, work bubble, family bubble and friends bubble. Now… That is a lot of bubbles! But my point is we bounce from one to the next and rarely move outside. We go from work to home and then we visit our group of friends and everything is extremely safe in those surroundings. When you travel you are forced to make new friends everyday and you have multiple new bubbles forming and popping all the time. You find new accommodation, new friends and new sights everyday day whilst you are on the road. This teaches you to adapt when you are travelling and you soon realise that there are many other people out in this world-well beyond your own.
Travel and communication with other people is the solution to the world’s problems provided you see each new person for who they really are.
The only way to do that is to fail to see the person in front of you as a new person and only see the shadow of a past enemy instead.
Travel and communication with live people, without prejudgement, and with understanding is the key to our survival as a human species.
That is a strong statement but it is true. The more people who travel and meet and talk to new people, the more peace we will have. It follows as naturally as the calm after the storm. There are so many life lessons to be learned from travelling.
At some stage in your 20’s (for me it was even slightly earlier) you feel the inevitable desire to leave the nest. But that little voice inside of us screaming “run while you can!” is often negated by a more responsible voice reciting “responsibilities”. Responsibilities – a job, car loan, family, etc. are a fact of life. But when you do go, you soon realise that everything you left behind is there as soon as you come back, often unchanged. But we have changed. Travel is the most direct way of throwing yourself in the deep end and realising what life would be like if you had no one to rely on. Touch wood your life doesn’t come to this, but if it does, you know you’re prepared. You know you can go it alone.
tolerance, understanding and patience
Travel is life changing. It’s beautiful, mind-boggling, eye opening, raw, and even nerve wracking at times. Travel tests your judgment, patience and your tolerance levels incessantly.
How can you dislike a person who loves his family, values his community and reaches out to visitors?
If there’s one thing I think everyone will take away from travel it’s to be a more patient and tolerant person. After waiting hours in line to climb the Eiffel tower, trying not to gasp as people skinned animals in front of me, patiently trying to speak with people in hand gestures on one too many occasions and many more instances, I have inherently become a much more patient and understanding person in the process.
I actively seek new friendships
Before travel I was very comfortable with what I had – particularly the friends and family I had around me. I have always had a very good close circle of friends who I could rely on, so I have never seen the need to go and find new ones (friends that is, my family are pretty stuck with me). But after traveling the world and meeting so many new people wherever I go, I’ve learned to seek new friendships even if they are essentially ticking time bombs as I know they’ll only be around for a few days or a week at best. But one of these days when I stop for a minute I’m going to realise I have thousands of friends in nearly every country around the world – and that’s pretty darn special if you ask me.
I accomplished the most important thing to me – having the control of my own life
For some reason there’s a stigma against being happy with yourself. When you finally reach that point in life where you are happy with yourself, your outlook on life, your way of living, and the people you have around you, it’s as if no one can take it away from you. Sure, I still have days where I’m not as happy as others – that’s human – but generally speaking I’m happy with who I am and how my life is running its course.
Being in control of your life and your own happiness is one of the most freeing feelings in the world. Right now I choose the hours I work, choose the days I have off (which are none, but its nice to have the luxury of choice), choose where I call home (even if its temporary) and choose virtually every aspect of my life. I’m living my dream – living my life full time. No complaints here!