How travel can make you a better person

Travel is well known to be exciting, enticing and packed full of memorable moments. But considering the concept that travel actually can make you a better person, may be all the encouragement you need to fly away, or at least start booking that trip you’ve been imagining.

Cliché For A Reason

“I really found myself while travelling”. It’s cliché, it’s overused, and it’s sure to seek out an eye roll from someone in the room. Yet if it’s used often enough to become cliche, there may just be a decent reason. Travelling throws you into a whole other world, both figuratively and literally. A whole new set of experiences, people and places to embrace and adapt to. This isn’t just good for the camera roll, its also one of the most beneficial things that can happen for personal growth and development.

Personally, travelling has driven me to become more aware, more independent, more patient and more understanding. Above all, it has eased anxiety and given me a perspective on how truly privileged and lucky I am. So far, in over 5 years of travels, I am yet to meet a traveller that doesn’t share at least 1 of these areas of development from their experiences.

While much of it sprouts from positive experiences, the full picture displays a lot more. While travelling can be social, liberating and educational, it can also be lonely, scary and riddled with problems to overcome. These components all coming together, while miles away from your comfort zone, is where the magic really happens.

Of course, it is just as important as ever to stay on top of your mental health and look after yourself while travelling. Keep your pace slow and don’t put pressure on your expectations.

For more on mental health tips while travelling, check out “Avoiding Travel Burnout – Mental health on the road”

There are so many aspects that are important for self development while travel. So here are a few of the most significant factors of how travel can make you a better person:

Perspective

Absolutely first and foremost is perspective. Travelling broadens your mind in a huge variety of ways. Two of the biggest perspective shifting moments while travelling are.

“I am so lucky”

If you’re in a position to be travelling in the first place you’re already incredibly privileged. You can access an airplane, you have a home to return to, even just if you’re reading this article on your screen you are already in a better position than most.

Only 100 years ago, we had no airplanes to access international travel. 20 years ago, we didn’t have access to all the travel information we needed at our fingertips with mobiles. 3 years ago, we were all locked inside and wondering if we would ever have the opportunity to travel again. Not only are we privileged from how we live or where we live, but also when we live.

The more of the world you experience, the more you comprehend how so many different people are so limited by the places they live in. If you can travel, do travel, it would be such a waste to be in position for that privilege and not utilise it.

“The world is a massive place”

With now more than 8 billion people living across nearly 200 countries, the numbers are overwhelming. Even more mindblowing than that, is the tiny fraction of the world we get to experience in our time here. It is estimated that the average person meets 80,000 people in their lifetime. 80,000! While it may seem like a hefty number, in reality it’s less than 0.001% of the population.

If you only meet 0.001% of the worlds population all in the one place, your concept of overall human life and human nature is going to be incredibly narrow. That’s 99.999% of your fellow humans that you will never meet, all with no broader view on how any of them live.

The world is a huge and beautiful place, experiencing more of how people live, broadens our perspective significantly.

People

As adults, we meet significantly less people in a decreasing variety of places. Social interaction is good for the soul and the people that you meet play a large role in your life and your development. Meeting people while travelling is a huge highlight and can completely shape your trip and shape you as a person. Some of the people that will help shape your experiences:

“Locals”

Meeting local people while travelling is a fantastic and enlightening experience. These interactions can help educate about a place and the way things work. There’s also noone better to ask for authentic recommendations!

Chatting to locals is a great way to feel safe, comfortable and find some hidden gems. Some of the best travel experiences i have ticked off have come from following the tips of a local I’ve been lucky enough to meet.

Chatting to locals is a quick reminder that a lot of people are proud of where they live and want you to have the best experience. Its also a nice nudge to remember that most people are generally good and happy to interact.

“Fellow Travellers”

When you meet other travellers in a new place, you already have one huge factor in common, you’re both standing exactly where you are. The people you meet while on the road can shape and improve your impression in a big way. Whether it is people to explore with, eat with, party with, hike with, there is always someone keen to share the same experiences.

The best part of the people you meet while travelling is the variety. I have made travel friends 5 years younger and made friends 20 years older. People from the same city as me and people from the other side of the world. Students on a party trip with a tight budget and people away on important business all expenses paid. Solo travellers, couples, families and elderly. The variety of people you meet while travelling completely exceeds that from the average work place or local bar. Broadening your social horizons to interact with all kinds of people is a huge way to grow and learn and is just another way in which travel can make you a better person.

Culture

Culture covers such a broad range of areas and is arguably one of the highlights of humans in general. The diversity in cultures across the world is seriously impressive and if you haven’t quite found your niche where you come from, who’s to say you won’t uncover it while exploring elsewhere?

One of the first things a lot of people consider upon hearing the word culture is religion and social norms. But it can go so deep beyond that. Truly diving in to the culture of more places across the world opens your mind to so many fresh concepts, potential interests, new hobbies, personal mantras and more. Upon exploring a new location, it is always accompanied by endless deeply intriguing questions.

What food is widely favourited? Which sports are followed? What is the current fashion trends? Which shows are popular on TV? What is the work culture like? The party culture? What time is dinner eaten? What music is on top of the charts?

For every country in the world, even every city in the world, that set of questions has a unique set of answers. The less serious side of “culture” is what  makes people in every place truly special.

The more places you can participate in and observe this range of cultures, the more open you become to new ideas, new people, new entertainment and new experiences.

Problem solving

Now I would absolutely love to be able to tell you that travel is easy, consistent, convenient and reliable. But I stake my reputation upon transparency and honesty, so I can’t tell you that. Part of the experience of travelling is that it rarely goes to plan. Problems arise, and what better way to test yourself and force some growth than to solve them. 

Travelling is often an incredibly challenging experience, especially if you’re travelling long term, travelling on a budget or travelling solo. If you fit all 3 of these categories get ready for some serious days of frustration. But accompanying that, be ready to adapt, to learn and to grow.

Navigating unreliable transport, booking issues, foreign languages, packing mishaps and safety smarts is difficult stuff. But if you can handle that, you learn to handle pretty much anything else. The things you learn from problem solving under these pressure situations outside of your comfort zone stick with you forever.

All of sudden simple mishaps in your home country or workplace seem like a breeze to overcome. The perspective grows and so does the person.

Be sure to have a contact of a travel agent as well as have a good travel insurance policy to ease your anxiety in your problem solving states. Having a fall back option is always a clever idea.

Read on “Ultimate guide for travelling with anxiety 2023” for more tips for easing those travel stresses.

Just another excuse to travel.

Of course there is a plethora of other ways in which travelling is beneficial and how it can make you a better person. But those are a few of the the more significant factors.

So if youre looking for one extra excuse to plan that trip you’ve been thinking of, this is it. Travel can make you a better person, it can help broaden your perspectives, improve your problem solving abilities and introduce you to new people, cultures and ideas.

Get ready to get out of your comfort zone and get ready to grow. What better time than now to travel and to experience how it can make you a better person.

1 thought on “How travel can make you a better person”

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