Travel changes you

I’ve written about my own wanderlust, the restlessness that creeps in along the edges of my every-day life, drifting into my daydreams and toying with my focus. 

I feel more alive while travelling, more connected to the present. I live in the moment.

A recent university study compared students who studied abroad against a group who had not. The survey showed that students with travel history scored higher in intercultural learning skills and had a higher appreciation and understanding for different cultural perspectives and interactions. 

There was a shared empathy and understanding that things are not done the same way everywhere. It allowed for fluid decision making abilities and an open-mindedness to new intellect.

We are blessed to live in an economy where leisure travel is an expected commodity. I have travelled to places where people never leave their villages. 

They live with the absolute basics in a hand to mouth existence but they are happy. I mean truly happy because they don’t have “things” to distract them from the important issues.  Family. Health. Love. 

Travel teaches us to live our life with gratitude. We have so much, but we can learn much more from those who know that money doesn’t buy happiness.

When we are outside our comfort zone it forces us to face our fears, and we grow our self-confidence. 

We appreciate our own capabilities and problem solving skills. Hailing a cab or ordering food in a different language become adventures, not issues. 

With each new triumph our newfound confidence will grow and who knows? Maybe sky-diving?

Travel makes us accept the fact that “control” is an illusion. Delayed flights, traffic jams, bad street food, it's all part of the journey.

  • We learn to let go and move on.
  • We learn to adapt. 
  • We learn to make lemonade out of lemons.

I encourage my clients to include some sort of cultural immersion activity: 

  • Take a tour that includes a home visit or meal. 
  • Have a guide take you through the local market and explain the weird and wonderful in front of you. 
  • Become open minded to the differences within the country you are visiting and that same mindset will be beneficial to you upon your return.

Travel does not have to be to the far-flung regions of the world. It's about truly “seeing” what’s in front of you and letting it get into your bones. It can be as simple as trying a new ethnic restaurant or seeing a foreign language film. 

Get rid of your preconceptions and try something new.

Being somewhere where no one knows who you are peels back the layers of civility and society and allows you to practise being true to yourself. 

There’s no one around to raise an eyebrow if you suddenly act spontaneously or out of character. 

Can travel change you? Only if you let it!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page,”  said Saint Augustine.


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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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