How travel changed me as a person

I did a lot of reflecting lately. Reflecting my life, the choices I made and the choices I’m about to make. You need to truly experience a new place to appreciate your surroundings. My travels had three things in common: the relief of going home, the happiness to see certain people again and the excitement of creating new memories.

It’s about the experiences and it’s about the people you meet. You start to see more value in new people and less value in people at home. You start to see the truth. You start to see things in a different perspective. Unexpected connections turn out to be more important while other connections turn out to be less important. It creates chaos but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Chaos can be a beautiful thing.

It’s about experiences that make you question everything that once felt so right. It makes you appreciate home a little more or just a little less. I feel homesick but the other way around. I left a piece of my heart in foreign places and I don’t think I’ll ever get it back – but you know what? I don’t want it back.

“We are homesick most for the places we have never known”
– Carson McCullers

I realized that some people take you for granted. On the other hand, you take them for granted as well. We don’t have to deal with someone if we don’t want to deal with them, just because we are “supposed to”. There’s always more out there. It’s not about meeting as many people as possible, it’s about meeting the right ones. Meeting people from other countries, other cultures, could be a real eye opener. It’s strange how certain people and certain places can change our whole mindset.

After traveling so much and seeing so many places, I started to question everything. Where do I belong? Who am I? Who do I want to be? There is so much more out there and I want to experience every single part of it. I want to become part of it.

“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it”
– Eudora Welty

It’s a scary thought that we have one life and we have to make the best of it. There is no second chance. There is no option to erase our past and start over again. Life’s like a movie or a show at a theatre, without the rehearsal.

There is so much pressure. There’s pressure to do the right thing – but what is the right thing? Does it even exist? No, what’s considered “right” for someone could be wrong for someone else.

It’s impossible to have your life figured out because there is no plan. Let me rephrase that: it’s impossible to stick to our plan. Life is like the itinerary of a new trip. When traveling, do you always stick to your itinerary? Or do you seek adventure, do you seek the unknown?

Are you afraid of getting lost? What if we’re all a little lost?

I never thought that I would end up feeling lost. I feel lost being at home, longing for a distant place. Once you have caught the travel bug, you will never be able to stay at the same place for too long.

You become more independent, you start to care more about yourself, you have the chance to learn a new language, you can make your dreams come true.

Travel is one of the most exciting things in a lifetime. Have you experienced that “pre-vacation” feeling where you feel like your heart is racing and the adrenaline is kicking in? Isn’t that one of the best feelings in the world? There’s also that feeling when you leave a place to return home. For me, it takes a couple days to adjust. I simply can not believe that I am back home again and it feels as if I’m still enjoying my vacation – and the worst part: getting back into the daily routine.

But what if we could change our daily routine?

I made some of the most important decisions of my life based on travel. I made a lot of decisions right after my vacation. I returned home but I had changed. Not the appearance but the mind. I felt like I had grown. I refused to have conversations without meaning. I wanted something meaningful.

“When we get home, home is still the same but something in our mind has changed and that changes everything”
– Jonah Lehrer

When we get home, nothing has changed. Home is still the same and the people are still the same but you are not the same anymore. I can honestly say that I have felt a deeper connection with people from miles away than I have ever felt with people nearby. It’s about so much more than distance. It’s about having that certain connection.

Spending time abroad makes you realize how good things are at home or how good things could be. You start to realize that things are good but it could always be better. You realize that the people are good but it could be better. Why settle for less? That’s how you know you have grown during travel.

One specific experience can change everything. It can change our ideas, our opinion, our beliefs, our life and everything in it. Life’s an adventure, whether you want to spend it at home or somewhere else.

 

15 thoughts on “How travel changed me as a person

  1. Great piece – definitely rings true. Often moving further away from a subject, allows a greater perspective of the whole. You can’t see the full picture of the whole environment until you step out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with everyone you’ve stated! I also love that McCullers quote. It’s one of my favs! Traveling has definitely changed my life, and at such a young age too (16). I didn’t travel for a good four years in college, but now that I’ve been religiously traveling for the last four years, I can’t stop! It’s such an addiction. I love spending time in places where no one knows my name. 🙂

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Emily! I’m glad you started traveling again. Spending time in places where no one knows your name… I like that one! It means freedom and it gives you the opportunity to be your true self, right?! 🙂

      Like

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