I love the way I feel when I travel – energized, alive, strong, and connected. I know I am not the only one to experience what seems to be an enchanting travel alter ego.
Why do we feel this way? What is it about ourselves that naturally changes for the better when we travel? And how can we strive to be this person at all times, not just when exciting travels are in sight?
Here are some of the key factors I have personally recognized about the aspect of myself that emerges when exploring the unfamiliar. We should learn to recognize and embrace them all no matter where we are in the world!
1. You are confident
While traveling, and especially while traveling alone, it is a surefire guarantee that your confidence levels will take a big boost. Why? Well whether it is problem solving, navigating, or learning something new, situations will arise that seem daunting . . . but only at first. Finding the courage to make your way out of any unexpected scenario is admirable and encouraging to keep at bay.
Any avid traveler would tell you that their head is held higher, ready to tackle any challenge thrown their way while traveling. This confidence boost puts us in a position to feel stronger and wiser – an amazing quality to translate back into our daily lives.
2. You are grateful
Because why do we travel if not to experience the lives of others; to be a part of a culture that is not our own? This is what I am most grateful for from traveling: learning to appreciate and be grateful for all that I see, learn, experience, and have.
3. You are curious
Curiosity sparks question, and question sparks knowledge. The more cultures we experience, the more people we meet and the more foods we try, we are opening ourselves to life’s biggest lesson plan! The best part is that once you unleash this curious nature and explore the unfamiliar, an addiction forms and you can’t seem to ever get enough (also known as being bitten by the travel bug).
4. You learn new things
When visiting new countries, you are diving head first into new cultures, religions, and languages. The best way to learn anything is to dive right in, becoming completely submerged in the new culture. Experiencing ways of life firsthand helps you become more open-minded and less judgmental. I love experiencing different cultures, especially when it seems so simple, relaxed, and joyful. In Laos I thoroughly enjoyed the locals going about their daily lives so simple and rustic, but at the same time so incredibly happy and humble! I wish we had night markets back at home or vendors on the streets selling their delicious homemade food and drinks!
5. You challenge yourself
Some travels can be more vigorous than others. I love travel that is filled with adventure and culture and I want to do and see as much as I possibly can. Regardless of travel style, travel can often be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. The challenge is to keep yourself going, and while that may be a struggle at times, it is absolutely worth it in the end, always. I will never regret wearing myself into the ground if it means I can see as many amazing sights and experiences as possible. I can rest when I return home.
6. You try new things
Many of us at home are routine based – very sewn into a comfortable and regimented day-to-day schedule. When traveling, all that familiarity and daily regiment is immediately thrown out the window. Instead of oatmeal for breakfast you are eating curry for breakfast. Instead of a sad little salad for dinner you are eating broccoli chops with mixed eggs and bread crumbs in the throng of a bustling night market. The best part of it all is that it nowhere near begins and ends with food. Instead of saying Hello in English you are saying Sawatdee in Thai. You are trying new activities, new communication methods, and new ways of thinking about the world and your place in it.
7. You grow
Trying new things, challenging yourself, and learning about the world will inevitably aid personal and well-rounded growth as an individual. The media will instill fear regarding travel, but I can personally only see positives to take away. Not all travel is idyllic and picture perfect, and that’s okay. It is never a bad thing to put aside my Western privileges and think of how simple and rustic others live their lives while being perfectly fulfilled and happy doing so.
I do not view travel as something to fear. Traveling can be the best teacher as it truly teaches me things I would never learn elsewhere, ever. Reading about something online or in a book is so much less than experiencing it firsthand, with every sense engaged and enlightened. This is really why I love traveling around the world so much – so many parts of myself are activated in so many ways I never knew possible.