Can travel really make you a better person?
Short answer – yes. So much more than just visiting places and doing things, travel opens you up to new cultures, experiences, people and an entirely new way of life that stays with you long after your bags are unpacked and tan has faded. Travel is all about self improvement, simultaneously toughening your skin and melting your heart, forever changing your perspective on the world.
Want to get specific? We’re all over it…
You accept people for who they are
Growing up, we naturally fall into our own social circles, more often than not sticking in these until we’re set free into the world. We’re unintentionally sheltered, unknowingly sceptical. Enter the concept of travel, and your first independent steps into the world. Suddenly you find yourself sat next to a teacher from Brazil, a writer from New York, a charity worker from the Philippines – people with totally different beliefs, backgrounds and stories. Talking to these people, learning their journeys and what they’ve been through, you realise just how different your lives have been. Yet these people aren’t scary, they’re not judgemental. They take you for who you are, as you do them. Travel throws you in the deep end and forces you to live side by side with people you’d never of imagined, opening your mind and eradicating preconceptions.
You gain perspective
The saying goes ‘travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world’. Exploring the streets of Bangkok, London or Delhi, you really start to understand this phrase. Immersing yourself in a new culture, seeing first-hand how others live, witnessing poverty and majesty living side by side, sharing stories with strangers just through a smile, you suddenly realise just how big the world really is and how important each and every one of its 7 billion inhabitants are.
You open up to new experiences
Sitting at home in your pyjamas did you ever imagine you’d skydive over the Swiss Alps, walk along the Great Wall of China or journey New York’s subway all on your own? Probably not. Travel gives you confidence and puts experiences in your way that where before you’d say no, you find yourself saying yes. Blame your travel friends, blame that third beer, but when travelling anything goes, giving you the confidence to believe that you really can do anything.
You become more trusting
At some point during your travels you’ll find yourself putting your trust in someone else, whether it’s to wake you up for an early morning flight, walk you round a city you’ve never been to or pay you back when you’ve lent money to someone in need. Travel builds trust, not only in other people, but also in yourself. You learn to trust your judgement and your own ability; character traits that will take you far in life.
You can solve any problem
If you can get yourself from North to South in London with no phone battery, no A-Z and only your common sense to get you through, you can solve literally any problem. Remember that cold blooded, heart drop out of your body feeling you get when a task seems seemingly impossible? Travel will fix that. You’ll realise that no problem is impossible and there is a work around for everything, whether you’ve lost your bags, your passport or your sanity (OK, maybe not the last). Return to the real world and you’ll be a problem saving master.
You’re altogether happier
Mainly because you’re not at work, you can have cocktails for breakfast and do anything you damn well like, but more than that because you’ll become a more rounded person with the ability to empathise with others, see beauty in the tiniest of things and realise that really, you’re a pretty lucky person after all.