One day I went snorkelling on a boat in Vietnam, and met an Australian couple who travel permanently. They have retired and dedicated their life to travelling, and I was very surprised to hear from them that “travelling was hard work”. Years have passed since then, and today I perfectly understand this sentence. Not only do we laugh, enjoy, post on instagram when we travel, but we also become disciplined, overcome our fears and grow.
How exactly does travelling help you grow?
1) Out of your comfort zone
Your comfort zone is where you do not have to make efforts. Please agree that to arrange a trip, you need to search, compare, book, communicate, plan and make a lot of effort. When you start fearing, this is when you go in the right direction – fear and discomfort are indicators of growth, of expanding your comfort zone. When your comfort zone expands, you start feeling comfortable in more places and situations, and your mind expands too.
Facing your fear helps you grow.
2) New perspective
Have you every eaten salty pig fat? If you visit Ukraine, you may think this is the best dish ever. Have you ever eaten corn and beans for dessert? This is what they eat in China. Have you ever dressed in a skirt as a man? In Burma it’s a national costume, and all men in the streets wear skirt.
It does not matter if you pick up the new perspective or not, but you learn to notice it, and appreciate it. Sometimes lessons from another culture really help change your life – I learnt from Thai people how to be ‘sabai’ – not to worry about anything and just chill out.
Learning new perspectives allow you to grow.
3) New skills and habits
I love travelling so much that I decided to make it my lifestyle. I managed to give away most of my things and live out of the backpack. This is my shower and make up kit, only the things I need and very well packed. This is how travelling can discipline you!
You can learn how to ride a bicycle instead of using public transport in Beijing, because it is the easiest way to get around. One can study yoga in India, because this country is breathing yoga. You can learn free-diving in Koh Tao, the conditions for it are the best there. It is very often that places where we go create the best environment for learning a new skill.
With new skills and habits you grow.
4) Understanding others – understanding yourself
Sometimes you come to a new country and freak out because things are done differently. In Thailand everyone is smiling at you and does not show their emotions. Being polite is a top priority, emotional intelligence is not trendy there. In Vietnam people are so open and sincere that it sometimes feels rude. One of my Vietnamese friends once told me – ‘You got a bit fat and your skin is so dark’ (which was her disapproving that I went suntanning). She was very sweet and I did not get offended, but she expressed it so honestly that it may feel inappropriate in other cultures.
Seeing both perspectives helped me put myself in the shoes of a person from another culture, and I could easier understand both cultures.
When you understand, you grow.
How does traveling make YOU grow? Please comment below.
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