4 Ways Travelling Makes You Grow

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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.

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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!

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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.

Enjoyed this article? Read about 5 Ways nature can heal you.

grow travel

 

Confort ¿para qué te quiero?

Puede que a muchos nos atraigan las aventuras, sin embargo, pocos se dan cuenta que embarcarse en una aventura no es solo una oportunidad para vivir la vida al máximo, descubrir un universo entero cada vez y disfrutar de todo tipo de experiencias. También significa tener que sacrificar muchas cosas, o esencialmente una que las comprende todas. Es, probablemente, el sacrificio más difícil al que tenemos que hacer frente: salir de la zona de confort.

El diccionario define confort como un estado de bienestar o comodidad material. Yo sin embargo, añadiría, que el estado de confort también es un lugar de bienestar, calma y tranquilidad mental. El confort es ese jardín del edén sin interrupciones donde la belleza de vivir es perenne. Sin embargo, si reflexionamos sobre nuestra propia existencia personal, nos daremos cuenta que o bien por iniciativa propia o bien por vicisitudes de la vida, la zona de confort es en realidad un equilibrio difícil de mantener. Y es que si algo caracteriza a la vida es el constante cambio, que vapulea, agita y desorienta nuestra comodidad.

Los cambios, tan intrínsecos de la vida y a la vez tan difíciles. Los cambios de humor que hacen de nuestro estado mental una constante montaña rusa, los cambios de tiempo que nos obligan a adaptarnos, los cambios políticos que siempre conllevan novedades en nuestra forma de vida… desde las alteraciones más nimias hasta los variaciones irreversibles como la muerte, los cambios son hechos a los que tenemos que hacer frente constantemente a lo largo de nuestra existencia.

Y, algunos de nosotros los fomentamos.

No hay nada como aceptarse a uno mismo, empezando por observarse, siguiendo por conocerse, y acabando por abrazar todo lo que uno ve en sí mismo. Aún me cuesta comprender por qué, pero de alguna manera una de las características que me define es que soy una persona que se pone constantemente fuera de la zona de confort. No es fácil, me ha supuesto varias calamidades, infinitos de quebraderos de cabeza sin solución que preveo seguirán llenando mi mente y muchos momentos de ruptura emocional y física. No obstante, ponerme en tales tesituras cada poco tiempo me ayuda a recordar que siempre se pueden aprender cosas nuevas y que estar en cierta situación de vulnerabilidad propia del desconfort nos ayuda a estar alerta para absorber más y mejor si cabe todas las lecciones que nos quedan por vivir.

Cambio, cambio, cambio, rastreémoslo y adoptémoslo, porque la vida es demasiado corta y demasiado larga como para vivirla de forma monótona y abandonada a la versatilidad que la suerte, el destino, las coincidencias o Dios diseñen por nosotros.

 

Step out of my comfort zone: Get more from Life

I think about looking at an object up-close, my eyes fixed closely on this object, seeing just one side of the coin and feeling comfortable this way anyway. Another thought also crosses my mind of this group of blind people who were told to touch an elephant and everyone really get the chance to touch a specific part of this enormous animal. One touches the tail, another, the trunk, another, the belly while someone touches the ears. How interesting it is that when finally everyone gets a chance to share what they think an elephant is, everyone has a different story. One claims it is long rod with whiskers and quite firm while the other goes like, “mmmmh…a big flat flap that could be used to fan; and several answers come up including one who just thinks an elephant is one hard, tough, solid block with a rough texture. And so all these answers really reflect from which angle we view life. From which perspective we stand and from which vantage point we are… and this is really our world.

Photo: TripAdvisor

And so, many times, we get into arguments and conflicts with wanting other people to buy into our viewpoints, to think and reason like us without really getting from where they stand. This has become a norm in our society where we force beliefs down people’s throats. We force our opinions on others and make life quite miserable for ourselves actually. And so we create comfort zones of less hurt, less pain and less effort…

A comfort zone is our zone of bliss, our reality of what should be in the world, our point of joy. And so, from this reality of what should be, we conquer the world to make it what we want it to be, sit back and let things pass us by or ignore whatever is happening around us. From whatever angle, conquering the world or sitting back, we create an outcome and the outcome could be desirable or not…

Comfort zones have never brought any meaningfully sustainable change to anyone at all… Actually, world most remembered faces in history had a downfall trying to make the world into their comfort zones of “what the world should be” From Hitler to Napoleon among others…and of course going down colonial lanes of the world.

Not mentioned in history is the other side of the bracket where a majority of people also sit back and let things pass them and letting their dreams and purpose fall by the wayside. The groups who sit back and settle for what the social prescriptions and popular culture determines… The group that follow every wind flow and refuse to question their motives under every circumstance… Or those stuck in doing the same old things from a singular perspective? Believing in their side of the story being the only TRUTH in the world?

And then it’s not about anyone else but me…my perspective, my reality…what informs it…and above all, is it the only one available in the world? And if not, how can we live and interact freely within all these worlds that our minds have so historically built in the name of education and experience?

Education and experience are very significant words in the growth of anyone…and yes… come to think of it, we all learn and experience things every moment of our life and that’s what makes life…right?

How can we use our education and experiences to transform our perspective consciously? Because whether we like it or not, our world changes with every new thing we learn and every new experience we encounter.

Back to my object, back to my elephant story….

We have known fact to exist in our world and what we have experienced…  But what if it could be more than?

I mean we can grow up defining an elephant as a long rod with whiskers and explain it to everyone who comes after us or we can spend a day in another person’s reality… But how do we even do that!

From these questions, insight comes, in the form of wanting to retreats, visiting other people from other cultures besides us, travel different communities and living with people up-close…from their world. I mean we have been taught to become so firm in our world that we can change everyone around us, but what of becoming so deep that we can accommodate and transform ourselves and people around us?

What if we can spend a day, a week, or even a month in the perspective of someone else? What if we can step out of our comfort zones and embrace newness in how we do things? What if this was possible?

Well, it’s possible to do so, and fresh and enriching in just how much someone can learn from the self and from others when they step out of the way to see things differently.

But there is a catch, you don’t just go in blindly, but with an intention to learn and transform.  Transformation occurs when we trust ourselves well enough to let go of the reigns and know that we are alright to swim. When we really pay attention to what is it that is being said… is it useful right NOW? How about its use in ten years to come…? And how sustainable is it within the context of this fast changing world? These are questions that we must ask ourselves all the time as we embark on transforming our perspectives and learning new things.

So, the next time you get a chance to attend that cool retreat with friends or visit school, remember it’s not enough to share what you have, but also to learn from what is offered…and all these can only happen when we let go of our fears and listen to the other person from their point of view as well. Then we can see the trunk, tail, belly and ears of the elephants… Does it change what the elephant is, not really, just brings more understanding in the room…at the end of the day, an elephant will still be an elephant, whether defined by the tail or the trunk.