We have been travelling for some time now. These travels have taught us how to change a perspective on the various aspects of our lives. We have also learned to appreciate more who we are, the blessings we have received, and the opportunities that have opened up before us.
Here’s how travel has positively transformed us:
Travelling means meeting new people, seeing where they live, and learning their way of life. It will expose or even immerse you in a culture that is different from yours.
When we were still living in Asia, we recall the culture shock that we had on our first trips to the US and Europe. Our initial experience of first-world amenities brings back embarrassing but funny moments. We were surprised at the different pace of life in various parts of the world. New flavours challenged our culinary preferences. All these have broadened our perspectives. After living for quite some time in North America, we are still surprised by a lot of things when we visit new places.
The exposure will let you appreciate your situation in life and the blessings that come with it. The broader experience and learning that you get from travelling will lead you to evaluate your values and shape you into a better person overall.
Travelling opened our eyes to our uniqueness and commonality.
People from different countries and cultures differ. However, if we appreciate what makes us different from one another, it leads us to be more understanding and tolerant of such differences in a positive way.
If our diverse set of life experiences and cultures are respected and valued by everyone in a whole way, they can work wonders in transforming ourselves.
Getting out of your comfort zone, having new experiences and diversity in knowledge give one that extra boost of confidence. Travelling also gives you the chance to further improve your social skills.
When you are with a tour group, for example, you will have to interact with the people in your group. Boarding the bus, dining as a group, visiting attractions, all these come with coordinating instructions that you will be participating in.
When you are travelling alone, you will still have to deal with people. You need to be able to ask questions about an attraction, buy entrance tickets, obtain directions to a place, or order your food. In the process, it may lead to unforgettable and worthwhile conversations.
Travelling makes us realize our differences in culture, preferences and perspectives. As a direct result, it teaches us to be more open to the points of view of others. It makes us more tolerant of opposing views and different cultures.
As we have mentioned in another post (How to Enjoy Your Travel – The Five P’s of Travel), Murphy’s Law often comes into play. Things go wrong no matter how excellent, or extensive your planning may have been.
Most of us have experienced spoilers in our travels. Delayed flights and lost pieces of luggage are nerve-racking. A hotel not to the standards you expected is frustrating. Long queues to enter an attraction spoils the anticipation. A medical emergency can ruin all your plans.
Whatever challenges that come your way during your travels, be calm, patient and try not to be upset, particularly on things that you can’t control.
There is always a silver lining when things don’t go your way. We once experienced a cancellation of our connecting flight from Frankfurt to Nuremberg and have started to worry that we will miss our river cruise. The airline arranged for a bus transfer instead, and we were initially upset. But it turned out to be a scenic ride that we enjoyed. Best of all, we made it on time for our ship’s departure.
Going to a place the first time not knowing anybody and not being able to speak the language can be quite overwhelming. You have no choice but take care of yourself and deal with problems without help from other people. You’ve got to figure things out as required.
Obtaining directions in a foreign country, communicating with the locals, backpacking through rural areas, or figuring out where the nearest bus terminal is can be challenging. Being independent and self-sufficient always come in handy in getting out of these challenging situations.
Our first trips abroad was at a time when we were at the peak of our careers, and our family business was at its unprecedented growth. We were always anxious before the trip due to work deadlines and the unfinished things we leave behind for a couple of weeks.
Despite the 16-hour flight from Asia, the anxiety, and the jet lag, we recall that as soon as we landed in the US for the first time, our mood instantly changed. We were excited, carefree and enjoyed the moment. We forgot about the stressful life we left behind.
We can get overly-focused on getting through our daily lives. Worse, we also get caught up delving into the past, especially if they have not been so good, and anxious about the uncertainties of the future. All these can adversely impact our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Travelling allows us to escape our current grind, forget (even temporarily) the past and have a more positive mindset to face the future. As the cliché goes, carpe diem, life is short. Travelling allows us to live the moment and value life more.
So, get out there and travel and grab the opportunities (near or far) as often as they present to you.
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