Have you ever travelled? Not a family holiday to the closest beach or a shopping trip to the next big town – even though that’s fun. I’m talking about a real adventure. If you’ve ever been on a trip where you were forced to leave the comforts of familiarity behind, you experienced this for sure: You did not come back as the same person that left home. Travel changes life.
In this sense, travel is not so much about the destination or the culture that you are visiting. The point is that you are putting yourself into unknown territory. Places you have never seen before, a language you don’t understand, flavours that you have never tasted before, behaviours that don’t make any sense to you… That’s when you will feel the challenge. Travel is going to give you a big kick way outside your comfort zone, and guess what – that’s exactly where personal growth happens.
Anyone who comes back from an adventure like this has been through an inner journey, too. I can tell you that my view of the world shifted with each experience I made: I understood that there is more than just one ‘right’ way, because people in Britain are doing fine driving on the left side of the road, and so was I (…after some time).
I learnt to be patient and go with the flow while queuing in bulks rather than lines at my bus stop in Qingdao. I practised my adaptability when I was asked to try a delicacy (sea cucumber, yuck!) in a fancy restaurant surrounded by Chinese business partners. I reached my physical limits trekking a week in the Andes.
I was both astonished and weirdly inspired by the open heart of a Tunisian woman who, after giving me a scrub massage in the hammam, told me that I was beautiful and planted a big kiss right on my mouth before I could even react! Every time I was amazed by the beauty and diversity of nature and humbled by the kindness of the people I met.
Each trip leaves me with a feeling of immense gratitude for all the memories and learnings. And I feel like I’ve taken another step inside, too.
Travel broadens your view of the world. It throws you into a completely different perspective and gives you so much more than just a few pretty Instagram pics.
My advice: Try it, again and again! I know I will.