Wherever you go becomes part of you somehow – Anita Desai
Believe it or not, I didn’t used to be that interested in travel. I was brought up to believe that travel was luxury, for the privileged few, and something you did in retirement. At 21 I thought it would be a waste of time spending a year gallivanting around the globe, and that employers wouldn’t take me seriously on return.
I took my fixed mindset to university but luckily fell into a friend group who were really passionate about travel. At the end of each semester we’d get together and book a small trip away to Eastern Europe. Gradually, from one trip to the next, my view on travel began to alter for the better and my skewed beliefs about travel were smashed into smithereens.
Since hitting the road over 3 years ago, day-by-day my appreciation for, and the importance of travel has grown significantly.
I soon realised travel had immense power and was a great medium for self-development. There was no end to experience – I could do whatever I wanted, and be wherever I desired – learning, growing and meeting likeminded people at the same time.
I want to use the rest of this article to explore why travel can be a powerful, life changing experience.
Reasons Why Travel Is Powerful
1 – Dilution of Fears – The comfort, routine or familiarity of our lives at home isn’t readily available on the road. Travel is a great medium in that it puts you out there, and gives you the opportunity to step into the ambiguity and confront your fears. Travel offers you the chance to grow, by directing your curious mind towards new experiences, and oftentimes things you’ve never experienced before. If you embrace the challenges the road throws at you, you’ll grow in confidence and your fears will begin to dilute. Instead of seeing your fears as something that hold you back, you’ll start using them to your advantage by transforming them into curiosity.
2 – Vulnerability – Travel encourages you to embrace your vulnerable side. You’re exploring completely new places, and it’s not familiar ground. You begin to realise how small you are, and how small your problems are, and that’s quite a liberating thought. You might get lost, need to ask for help finding your hostel, or run into a testing situation, and that’s fine. The vast majority of people have good intentions, and travel can be a much more richer experience when you can learn to drop your ego and accept vulnerability as something that you’ll naturally encounter on the road.
3 – Spontaneity – Unlike a routine 9-5 job, the very nature of travel makes it hard to build structure and routine around your life. If you’re travelling from place to place, it’s difficult to plan who you’re going to meet, or what experiences you’re going to have. But you don’t need to know because it is the spontaneity which gives each experience it’s edge, creating those lasting memories. My advice: don’t try to systemise travel, let it be, and let experience take it’s own form by embracing spontaneity.
4 – Self Development & Learn New Skills – Travel, especially solo travel, is a great way to really get to know yourself. There’s no end to what you can learn on the road.Travel will give you the opportunity to explore new passions, learn new languages, try new foods and experience different cultures You’ll find yourself in situations that will test you, and these moments will reveal things about yourself that you might not have been aware of. You’ll have bad experiences too, but it’s all learning and it all matters.
5 – Breaks Down Stereotypes and Prejudice – Before I travelled, I held a lot of stereotypes about the world. It turns out that i’d borrowed most of my beliefs and views about the from the media, friends & family, as well as the society that I grew up in.
Travel gives you the opportunity to build empathy and understand how the other side is living. By going travelling, and experiencing different cultures first hand with my own two eyes, I was able to challenge my beliefs and form my own opinions based on my own experiences. In a world dominated by inaccurate messages from the media, travel is crucial for breaking down prejudice and ill informed stereotypes.
6 – World Development – Finally, and most importantly, travel is key for bringing the world together. On the individual level, travelling allows people from completely different cultures to share their lives, building bridges between different nations, and in turn breaking through prejudice. Through acceptance and an understanding of each other’s beliefs, I believe that we can come together to fight important issues in the world. We learn to grow as a world by understanding each other and building relationships, and I believe the more travel that people do, the better the world will be.
Travel is an enriching experience, and I’d recommend everyone to try it at least once in their life.
Travel is a great medium for learning and growth if one is willing to open themselves up to all the lessons and experiences it is offering.
With issues in the world such as poverty, inequality and wars happening between different countries, travel is a great way to bring people together, because despite culture and race, on the surface there really isn’t much difference between what we all want from life.
I believe the problems we see in the world derive out of a lack of understanding for each other.
Travel is the solution.
I urge you to get out into the world and embark on your own travel journey.
Thanks for reading!
All the best, Daniel Beaumont, 1st November 2016
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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