5 Reasons Why Traveling Will Help You Find Yourself
There’s nothing more romantic than traveling abroad in search of yourself! Why else would books-turned-movies like Eat Pray Love and Wild be so popular? Travel and self-discovery equals the perfect combination.
While it doesn’t necessarily take an adventure in a far-off country to help you find who you are and where you belong in this world, it can help the process! So indulge with me for a moment in a bit of wanderlust as I find excuses for why traveling is good for you (because it really is!). So for those of you who are hoping to discover more about yourself (and who isn’t?), here are five reasons why traveling will help you find yourself.
1. Traveling Allows You to Enjoy Life
Let’s face it, with the demanding schedules of work, volunteer opportunities, social circles, not to mention those three HUGE loads of laundry that are waiting to be washed, it’s hard to sit still for even a moment to enjoy life the way it’s meant to be enjoyed. Once we stop enjoying our favorite things in life, we become boring. Yes, I said it…BORING. We forget ourselves and the things that excite us, that challenge us, and make us want to learn and grow. Traveling allows us to leave our anxieties (and housework) behind for a time so we can remember what life is really about and the little things that will truly bring a smile to our face. Like a raspberry gelato cone, for instance. Yes, please!
2. Traveling Brings You Out of Yourself
When you head off to a new country with different customs and traditions, it helps you to get out of yourself and your normal routine. It puts you into a mindset of being more adventurous than you normally might be, and thus you’ll learn a different side of yourself along the way. Like when I talk to taxi drivers in foreign countries, for instance, and I develop this really tough “I’m not gonna let you overcharge me just because I’m a tourist” attitude – even though I’m usually a quiet unassuming person. Or the fact that I don’t care if I get lost because it might just become the next great travel story. I mean, I’m always looking for a good travel story. When you get pulled out of your comfort zone and out of yourself you might just discover a new side you hadn’t seen before.
3. You’ll Understand What it Means to be “American” (or wherever you’re from)
When you’re immersed in a new culture miles away from the United States, you’ll be able to see for the first time the nuances that make American culture unique (whether good or bad). Sometimes you’ll only see the negatives of American society, while other times you might be tempted to see only the new country in a negative light. But enough time and distance will provide balance to understand how two cultures can be vastly different, but it doesn’t make one better than the other, just different. Understanding what it means to be an “American” will help you to discover yourself from a new perspective.
See my post about spending Thanksgiving abroad for a great example of this.
4. Traveling Gives You Time to Think
Ok, you’ve freed up your schedule, you’ve tried new strange and colorful foods, you climbed that mountain, you woke up at 4:30 in the morning so you could watch a sunrise over a temple. Now what? Travel always involves plenty of time for reflection, if you allow it, and you definitely should. From delayed flights to 6-hour bus rides through mountain roads, to morning coffee where you just need to collect your thoughts before you head out on an adventure, time is one of the best ways to learn about yourself. Reap the benefits of personal reflection time abroad to understand the ways in which you have changed, or the new things you’ve recently discovered about yourself in your travels. Be sure to pack your favorite journal and use it everyday to record all the small moments and little victories.
5. You Create Your Own Adventure
I believe in creating the life you want to live. We may not be able to control everything, nor prevent certain events from happening in our life but we can choose our attitude in how we face those challenges. When you travel, you learn the skills for how to create your own adventure – whether it’s turning mishaps or obstacles into a game, making new friends that don’t speak your language, or challenging yourself to do something scary. When you finally create the adventure you have always wanted to live, you discover more about yourself on an intimate level. You become the person you are deep down inside, the person you have always longed to be. And that is how you find yourself!
So there you have it. There’s really no excuse NOT to travel! Good luck in your journey to become your most authentic self and becoming more of who you are. Get those passports out and start dreaming away to the next adventure!
Where are you headed next?