One of my favourite travel quotes comes from Hermann von Keyserling, a German philosopher who himself travelled around the world.
He stated “The shortest path to oneself leads around the world”, having recognised himself that spending time travelling abroad brought about greater self-clarity.
Travel really does have the power to affect you in so many different ways, potentially changing the way you look at life in ways which reading a book or talking to a psychologist could never achieve.
Meeting new people and embracing new cultures allows you to open up your mind and become a more well-rounded individual. Travel can also allow you to redefine who you are and how you want to live your life.
It largely comes down to how far you are willing to stray from your comfort zone and embrace the unfamiliar. So if you find yourself stuck in a bit of a rut, contemplate booking a plane ticket.
Here are 7 incredible ways that travel can affect your life in a positive way.
7 Ways Travelling the World Can Affect Your Life
Learn Who You Really Are
Whether you book a short domestic flight to another state or are contemplating long-haul international travel and wish to fly into London from Sydney, a simple change of scenery can do wonders for getting to know yourself better.
Remove the daily distractions of your job and home life, and it allows you the time to focus on yourself. For some people, travelling can mean breaking free from peer pressure imposed by friends or family to live a certain way.
For others, travel may be just what is needed when you are going through a transition phase in your life such as having just graduated and are looking to enjoy a gap year, have just lost a job, or recently went through a divorce.
Travelling without a strict itinerary or constricted timeline can allow time to realise what you want out of life, what really brings you happiness, and what goals you want to set for yourself.
Travel can also help you break old bad habits and get you on a healthier path than the one you were on.
It largely comes down to removing yourself from your normal daily routine which allows you to see things with more clarity, since you remove the autopilot mode that otherwise can easily leave you oblivious to how your daily life and its stresses are negatively affecting you.
Gain New Perspectives and Appreciate Cultural Differences
Travelling around the world to many different countries will quickly have you realising that cultural values differ between communities. These core principles and ideals that shape a place are made up of things like religious beliefs, culture, and traditions.
Once you begin to realise that the cultural values you grew up with aren’t necessarily the “gold standard” way to live, you can learn to open your mind up to new ideas and challenge your beliefs and the way you view the world.
Those who have never travelled are often quick to judge, criticise, or fear cultures that are different to their own. This often can lead to racism or prejudice towards groups of people which not only hurt others but also prevents you from growing and benefiting from potentially better ways of living if you were to adopt new certain cultural values.
It’s not necessarily about having to adopt other cultures’ beliefs and ways of doing things, rather being respectful of differences and willing to coexist with a way of life that is different than your own.
Travelling will allow you to harness empathy and show compassion for others, having realised that we all tend to share far more similarities than differences around the world.
Make Long-Lasting Friendships or Strengthen Existing Ones
One of the best ways to gain new perspectives and appreciate cultural differences is by actively engaging with locals. You’d be surprised by just how many people around the world are genuinely friendly and it often only takes starting up a conversation.
It’s important to remember that it is up to you as a traveller to learn the local language and customs so you can communicate with others effectively. Obviously, some destinations will prove easier than others when it comes to engaging in effective communication but it largely comes down to the amount of effort you’re willing to put in.
Much like by removing daily distractions and stresses in your normal everyday life by travelling allows you to get to know yourself better, this can also help you to get to really know others quite well in a short amount of time.
World travellers often find themselves opening up to strangers and having them reciprocate surprisingly quickly.
During our daily lives, we can meet countless people but fail to develop any meaningful connections. Likewise, you can spend day after day with your friends or family yet struggle to actually enjoy meaningful time together.
Again, it is largely distractions and not being tuned in that prevents you from really connecting with other people whether it be people you meet on the street or your spouse.
Travel, if done right, should put you in a happy mood and give you the free time needed to really focus on maintaining or strengthening the bonds you have with friends and family that are travelling with you or potentially develop new long-lasting friendships with locals or other expats if you are more of a solo traveller.
There are so many stories of people meeting their partners while travelling or returning to a destination simply to reconnect with the people they met during their first visit.
Start a New Career or Lifestyle
Travel also allows you to see that there really are unlimited options out there when it comes to career or lifestyle choices. Just because you may not be able to find a job that suits your personality where you currently live, doesn’t mean that the perfect job isn’t out there somewhere.
It is now easy to go online and search for work-abroad opportunities or special visas that allow you to work in another country for a specified amount of time.
Taking advantage of one of these international working experiences could potentially lead to you finding a job you always dreamed of and potentially landing a more permanent visa that would allow you to remain in the country.
And sometimes you genuinely love your job, but it is the setting that is the problem. Maybe it’s the weather you dislike or the fact you can’t seem to find enjoyable things to do during your weekends or free time.
There are many foreign companies you may be able to work for if you happen to be a skilled worker or are trained in a profession that is in demand. This may allow you to enjoy the job you currently love at home but with the added benefit of living in a destination that creates a healthier life balance for you.
The key is to remember that your work life doesn’t necessarily have to be the 9 to 5, 40+ hours a week idea many people believe is necessary.
There are many countries out there which tend to focus on creating a better work-life balance by providing people with more annual leave or at the very least less demanding hours. Often, simply getting a taste of what career opportunities and lifestyles are out there is enough to give you fresh ideas of what you want your work life to be.
Finding Your True Home
Recent reports have found that the number of expats living around the world is at record levels, or at least they were before the pandemic hit. Tens of millions of people have found themselves relocating to another country to live, many having fallen in love with a destination after having travelled their on holiday.
In places like Australia, it is said that almost a third of the population are people that were born overseas. While some countries may make relocating expensive or nearly impossible, other nations are making it rather easy to start a new life abroad depending on your circumstances and where you are coming from.
Just as the gender you were born as doesn’t necessarily have to define the gender you feel you are, so too is the same with a nationality. Just because you are born an American or Brit, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live your life as one.
You may find your values, beliefs, and passions align better with another nationality and there are often various ways or paths to gaining residency or citizenship in another country, whether it be through employment or marriage to a citizen of that country.
Learn the Importance of Valuing Experiences over Objects or Possessions
One of the greatest things travel can teach us is that you really don’t need much in life to experience happiness and feel fulfilled. We have a tendency to value possessions during our normal everyday lives since for many it is a way of measuring wealth and can give some sort of meaning to why so many hours are spent working at a job.
The sad reality is that buying things usually only provides a short-lived excitement or sense of fulfilment before we need to then buy something new to get another hit of satisfaction. It’s a much different story, however, when it comes to learning to value experiences instead of physical things.
Travel provides us with unforgettable memories, something that sticks with us forever. Experiences not only have the attached memories that go along with them, but they also provide you with long-lasting life lessons and can help shape your life.
You simply need to only recall the memories of an experience or stare at a simple photograph to be filled with the same sense of joy that you had back during the actual experience.
When your brain envisions a past experience, it has a difficult time understanding that it was in the past and therefore you tend to feel as though you did back in the moment.
Learn to collect and value experiences, and you’ll be left with something that can continually bring you joy at your beck and call that can’t be broken or become obsolete like many physical objects can.
Expand Your Comfort Zone
Our normal everyday lives have the tendency to create routine and this routine can see us fall into a restrictive bubble existence. Travel on the other hand is often anything but routine, as many variables can keep things interesting and keep us on our feet.
Travel often forces us to go outside our comfort zone, at least if you’re doing it correctly anyway. Tackling the new and unfamiliar is what keeps our minds sharp and allows us to grow as a person.
The more things you expose yourself to, the more confidence in yourself you build and the less chance fear will stop you from experiencing or achieving things.
Expanding your comfort zone means trying new foods, engaging in new activities, meeting new people, trying out new ways of doing things, and tackling your fears.
The more you attempt to expand your comfort zone, the easier it becomes and you’ll find new opportunities seem to come your way far more frequently.
These are just some of the ways world travel can shape your life. While not all travel goes smoothly all the time, more often than not you’ll find that travel brings about a wealth of positivity to those that embrace it and do it for the right reasons.