How Travel Makes You Smarter, Happier & More Productive
Every time I meet someone who is about to travel, I get excited to hear their story. I know that this person’s life is about to change. Travel was the biggest catalyst in my life.
You will get out of your own bubble.
Another way of putting this is, you will see the Matrix that you’ve been living in.
Albert Eistein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” and travel is the fastest way get of your old thinking patterns.
Travel is like taking a 2x4 and smashing it over your perceptions of life. Travel is a total and instant life transformation.
When I drop myself in a culture and location that is different my own, I get to question everything. I get reminded that the way our (western, North American) society does things is only one way. Why do we drive on the right side of the world? Why do we work 9 to 5, Monday to Fridays? Why don’t we take better care of each other? Why do we eat the way we do? Why don’t we hang out with our neighbours more? Why are adult and children's classes split up?
Asking these questions is like breathing fresh air. Suddenly you realize that you were breathing polluted air all along.
It shakes up every single one of your habits and routines.
Typically, in our ordinary lives, we’ll think of one thing that we want to change and attempt to tackle it. We’re motivated for two weeks, but we “fall off the tracks” and give up. What exactly happened?
Our lives are made up of an interconnected web of habits and routines. It’s near impossible to change one habit, unless you change several that are connected to it. For example, deciding that you want to go to the gym more, might mean that you actually need to change your entire morning routine, something that you hadn’t consciously decided to do. So the subconscious power of 10 old habits overtakes the one new habit and you’re back to square one.
Travel is the ultimate way to knock every one of your routines off the shelf so that you have a clean slate. When you’re on the road, you don’t have to report to anyone. You don’t have to be who all your friends think you are. From the moment you wake up till 18 hours later when you sleep, you get to experience create a brand new life.
It’s a powerful personal development tool.
If you’re someone who’s always looking for ways to optimize your life, or you just need to get out of a funk, you can’t afford NOT to travel. Staying in one place for several years can be like reading the same genre of books for one year. There seems to variety in the “politics” section, but you’ll never get to experience the vast connections between politics and culture and science and parenting and cooking. People who lead are people who can see between categories and across spheres.
Travel can also be a cheaper than a high-end business coach or seminar. It’s worth to include it in your personal growth budget. Books and trainings often go our our minds, but travel will ignite a deep transformation in your heart and soul.
You will realize just how rich you are.
You’re practically a millionaire. In fact, depending on where you go and the exchange rate, you are millionaire! This will put your life at home in perspective. I once stayed at a $1.75/night hostel in Uganda that was set in the gorgeous rolling hills and rivers. Travel will bring a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what you have at home. Chances are, you have running water, healthy food, access to transportation, education and health care at home.
There’s a lot that we take for granted and complain about when we’re stuck in our first-world bubble, but after all my travels, I feel like I am allowed to complain. It feels arrogant and hollow. Life is about how we can help each other and clearly, I’ve been given the resources to help someone.I am always looking for ways to work harder and smarter so that I can make my life count.
You will find a deep sense of purpose for your life.
When I travel, I am reminded of just how blessed me we are in the western world. The opportunity available to us as “ first-worlders”, people who are to work in jobs, work in multinational corporations that touch the lives of billions and make money consistently without fear of being robbed is hardly even fathomable to many people around the world.
There are certainly many broken things in the western world, but still, we actually have the power to do something to the make the world better for everyone. What if I was born as a Chinese girl out in a mountain range in rural China? I might be working a factory for the rest of my life and you would not be reading this. My travel experiences constantly motivate and inspires me to make the most of my life. I have been given a precious opportunity with this life and I want to use to make life better for others.
You will access a deep reservoir of courage that you didn’t know you had.
The mere act of lifting yourself up and out of your current life to do something that you know will shake up your world takes courage. I give you huge props for even dreaming of and daring to travel. On top of this, travel has a way of making sure that you’ll experience hardships that will force you to dig deep. I’m just warning you. Travel, particularly solo travel in drastically different cultures, is not easy and that is why it’s good for you. Don’t try to look for easy travels. (Those are called vacations and a different animal altogether.)
Let travel change you. Take chances. Through away your plans. Maybe even consider your return flight optional. There is a flow that will carry you through life, to a life greater than you’ve imagined, if you let it.
You will discover that you are not alone. You are part an expansive human family and you have an infinite amount of support.
“There’s no faster path to peace than people getting to know other cultures, and the way other people live in this world.” - Bruce Poon Tip
Travel strips away our ignorance. My most favourite thing about travel is the people I meet along the way, fellow travellers and locals.
I guarantee that you will meet people with extraordinary generosity and kindness. You may also meet people who are rude and want to rip you off. However, the level of kindness and camaraderie I’ve encountered from total strangers who became instant friends will stay with me for a lifetime. It gives me hope for humanity.
I often think of the friends I’ve made on the road when I’m in the city and feeling like everyone is on autopilot here. I remind myself that we all have the capacity to live open-hearted, brave, fiercely awake purposeful lives. Sometimes the pressure of the city suppresses the level of aliveness (which is why I write all of these blogs LINKKK), but it’s still there inside every one of us.
Travel is good for your soul.
You will return different. Even if it’s just slightly. You will begin to see things at home differently. Once you've left the fish bowl and swum in the ocean, you will never see the fishbowl the same again.