Turns out there are several good reasons why it is important to travel in 2021. Sure, it’s good fun, and it helps the travel industry recover. But beyond those very good reasons, travel can actually help you grow as a person. As the world moves out of the pandemic, you can be making your travel plans, too. Find out the seven ways travel can inspire your personal development, below—and then get planning!
CONTENTS: In this article you will find out why it’s important to travel for your personal growth, including:
- Gain a Better Understanding of Yourself
- Travel Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone
- You’ll Discover New Skills
- Learn to Set Up Your Own Projects
- New Languages Enhance Brain Performance
- Travel Inspires Tolerance, Openness, and Empathy
- Time for Reflection and Gratitude
- Final Thoughts on Travel and Personal Development
Editor’s Note: Depending on where you live, it may be premature to jump back into travel until the pandemic more fully recedes. That said, staying put for too long has its own consequences that include depression, social isolation, and muscle deterioration. Whether you plan a staycation at home, a local road trip, or plan to go further afar, travel in 2021 is essential for personal development and the travel industry’s recovery. But that’s only when you feel travel is safe for you and those around you.
Finding Yourself: Seven Ways Travel Can Inspire Personal Development
By Michael Dehoyos
Travel – it can mean many things to different people.
But whether you prefer a gentle cruise through the Caribbean or a rough-and-ready backpacking tour of Thailand, travel always means exposing ourselves to new experiences.
While many people think of travel primarily as a leisure activity—a way to unwind from the hustle and bustle of work and life—it’s also an incredible channel for personal development.
You’ll discover and build new skills and inner strengths.
New languages, places and conversations, unfamiliar maps and signs, take us out of our comfort zone and encourage problem-solving we can apply just as readily when we’re back home.
Here are seven ways that travel can inspire profound personal development.
1. You’ll Get A Better Understanding of Yourself
Travel is always an inspiring undertaking, whether you’re with friends, your partner, or just out on your own.
And no matter who you’re surrounded by on your travels, there’s always the opportunity to undertake deep personal development throughout your trip.
That said, solo travel turns everything up a notch as you’re forced to rely on yourself, spend time with yourself, and really dig deep getting to know who you are.
Solo travel might intimidate those who haven’t tried it in the past, but it can be an exciting and surprising adventure.
While we think travel of all forms is one of the greatest joys in life, you can discover solo travel at any time, even if you’re traveling with a friend or partner. (Make sure to schedule some time to yourself on any getaway to try it out!)
But, travel isn’t just about “getting away from it all.”
Often, what you find on your travels stays with you for life, leading to profound personal development and new opportunities at home.
2. Travel Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone
Through our daily lives, we build up habits and routines.
That might mean:
- Shopping in the same places
- Dining out in familiar restaurants
- Spending time with the same friends
- Keeping a consistent daily routine
Of course, there’s deep comfort in these habits.
But if you don’t take time to change things up, routine can become restrictive to your personal development.
Often, change itself can become something scary and unknown. Perhaps it’s even something we inherently avoid.
When you travel to new places and embrace new experiences, it is a fantastic way to step out of your comfort zone.
This can become a tenet to live by – stop booking the same holiday year after year and start exploring. You’ll realize that change isn’t so scary after all.
3. You’ll Discover New Skills
If you’re a meticulous planner, you’ll be used to nailing the travel itinerary down to the minute.
But when you start exploring further afield, things don’t always go to plan. From cancelled hotel rooms to late trains, travel forces us to get creative on the hoof.
When you travel, you’re forced to adapt to circumstances beyond your control.
This builds flexibility and resourcefulness, enabling you to take anything in your stride.
With newfound knowledge that you can handle the unexpected, you’ll have the confidence to take on new challenges at home and abroad.
4. Learn to Set Up Your Own Projects
Travel, and especially solo travel, can become a project that we take on ourselves.
Planning a trip to somewhere new involves a myriad of steps. You will need to:
- Perform detailed research
- Book flights and accommodation
- Decide on transportation options and plan the route
- Make decisions about the attractions that appeal to you (and those you’re prepared to skip)
- Plan good use of your time, including dining options
- Navigating your environment
- Interact and communicate with others
Additionally, you’ll be planning a travel budget, and sticking to it.
Taking control of a project can be an empowering process. There’s something deeply satisfying about starting a project and seeing it through to completion.
This process can give us belief in our ability to make things happen.
You’ll return from your travels inspired to take control of your life in new ways.
That might mean taking on more responsibility at work, feeling inspired to plan social events like never before, or just feeling more comfortable with your own company.
Travel can strengthen our belief in our own abilities, creating new paths in life at home.
5. New Languages Enhance Brain Performance
Neurological studies have revealed multiple benefits to learning a new language.
Multilingual individuals demonstrate strengthened faculties of memories, improved performance in cognitive tasks, and greater skills in concentration.
Many of us lament the fact that we didn’t start earlier with this process, but travel proves that it’s never too late to learn a new language.
Travel can inspire us to invest time in this learning process.
And of course, it’s so important to stay sharp as we age.
Whether you’re flicking through the phrase book or taking classes to improve your language skills, you’re challenging your cognitive function to learn something new—and then putting it into practice while you’re away.
6. Travel Inspires Tolerance, Openness, and Empathy
Let’s face it: most of us live in a bubble.
We’re surrounded by friends and family of broadly similar political orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Social media algorithms control our feeds, curating for us the news we see and the experiences we encounter.
So, it’s increasingly rare for us to be confronted by a difference of opinion; and when we are, we can simply opt out.
Travel is an opportunity to step outside this bubble.
You’ll meet people from all walks of life, including those who you might otherwise have missed.
Hopefully, these encounters teach us tolerance and empathy as we understand the people behind these stories.
And as you share your own experiences, you’ll learn to be open with people you meet and be more mindful of theirs.
Today, these values are more important than ever.
7. Time for Reflection and Gratitude
Lastly, travel offers a moment to get away from it all.
Our hectic daily lives rarely offer a minute for reflection about where we are, or our career and familial achievements.
When you travel, faced with a radically new environment, it reminds you to reflect on your life.
Often, outside of your regular routine, you’ll reach new perspectives of gratitude.
Final Thoughts on Why It Is Important to Travel
Travel is firmly implanted as a leisure activity in our culture, but it can be so much more.
From city breaks to round-the-world trips, traveling alone or with friends and family can be an eye-opening experience.
So, step out of your comfort zone, develop and strengthen personal qualities such as confidence and resourcefulness, and make time to reflect on your achievements.
Travel can inspire a whole new you, no matter where you are in your life.
To continue reading about how travel specifically affects your mental health, click here.
About the Author: Michael Dehoyos is a travel writer and editor at Write My Essay. He has visited six continents and spent time living on four, making travel a fundamental fact of his life. Michael seeks to share his experiences, encouraging others to take the same inspiring steps.
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