Using Travel As A Vehicle For Growth An effective tool for self-development

In Life, Well-Being

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living – Mary Ritter Beard

An Old Fashioned View

Throughout university, I participated in these really pressuring career meetings where I’d meet an advisor and talk about my plans for the future.

“So Daniel, what do you think about the prospect of a 4 year graduate programme as a banker or accountant?”

“Hmmmmm….. I’m not really interested in that actually! I want to travel the world doing nothing but experiencing for a while.”

“Well that could be a waste of time Daniel. What about the gaps in your CV? You’ll look inconsistent to employers and will find it difficult to get a job and bla bla bla.”

I swiftly left the office.

Travel and Experience

When I talk about travel, people often tell me things (including my mother) along the lines of “go do it while you are young” or “get it out of your system”.

I call bullshit.

1 – You don’t need to be young to enjoy travel and you can have an enriching experience at anytime in your life.

2 – Travel is not some kind of course that you graduate from and then move on to something else. It’s an ongoing vehicle for experience and one’s personal

A Vehicle for Personal Growth

Since 2012 I’ve used the road of travel as a catalyst for my own personal growth. I’ve learnt more in the last 3 years about myself than I had in the prior 21 years of my life.

Travel has helped me become more self-aware and understand myself better.

With time to myself on the road, I got closer to discovering my vision for life, goals, passions, and on the other side of the coin, the things I didn’t like.

I threw myself into difficult situations that I didn’t have the chance to experience in my home life, and as a result, accelerated my own personal growth.

Travel is a great vehicle for new and diverse experiences. Unlike routine day to day life, it’s difficult to anticipate a travel experience.

Who knows who you will meet? Who knows what you will try? Who knows what you will see?

You’re plucked out of routine, your comfort zone, and pushed in front of new cultures, people and places on a daily basis.

You get to experience how people live and interact. These people will challenge your beliefs and encourage you to question your world view.

Ideas To Get The Most Out Of Your Travels

Of course, experience is what you make of it, so it’s perfectly fine to go and travel spontaneously with no plans and see what happens.

But for anyone who wants to add purpose to their travels, my best advice is:

Create a vision that involves starting a project or taking a passion on the road with you while you travel.

Here are some examples off the top of my head:

  • Journal your experiences and your thoughts.
  • Learn a musical instrument.
  • Volunteer.
  • Start a travel blog.
  • Write a book.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Become a digital nomad and run a business on the move.
  • Teach something – languages, sports, musical instruments.
  • Create a mission for yourself – e.g. man powered mission, live off €5 a day, hitchhike 10 countries, run across a country.

There’s power and intention in having a clearly defined goal to work towards while travelling. It will challenge you to grow by stepping outside of your comfort zone and at the end of it all you’ll have something else to show employers for your travels, as well as your experiences.


Travelling with a purpose can be a very enriching experience for one’s personal growth.

But remember, you don’t have to travel with a purpose.

Maybe you want to be spontaneous and let the road take you wherever it will take you.

That’s perfectly fine, and it’s all about what feels good to you.

Thanks for reading and all the best,

Daniel Beaumont, Thursday 4th February 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.

Your turn…

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with your friends and join the discussion below by posting your thoughts and questions.

If you want to read more articles like this then please subscribe to my mailing list here to receive content directly to your inbox.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *