Saying something can change your life is a pretty damn bold statement. Change your LIFE. We don’t just mean one small piece of it, we mean potentially the whole thing. This is a statement that we make without hesitation though. Mainly because we have lived these changes first hand and watched many of our friends around us live them too.
There is this cliche notion that ‘travel is a lifestyle.’ But as many of us know, most of these ‘cliche’ statements are based in reality.
Travel truly is a lifestyle.
Why? Well, for many reasons (as we are about to outline below), but mainly because it fundamentally changes the way you view the world. The way you interact with it and the way it interacts with you. I have suffered from anxiety for a long time and luckily have had a partner like Andrew to be beside me while I figured my shit out. But after traveling I realized that it was changing who I was and it was helping me manage my anxiety. You can read more about how travel helped manage my day to day anxiety here.
A lot of travelers or nomads that you meet will tell you the exact same thing. No, maybe not the anxiety curing part, but the life-changing aspects. People who travel often are typically vastly different from the person they started out as. And they’re proud of it. They have grown and become better people. Is travel for everyone? No, it might not be, but there is nothing wrong with that at all. Everyone has their own path to follow, but travel can change your life like it has for many other people. Change it for the better!
1) You learn a lot about yourself.
One of the main things you may end up learning about yourself is how truly resilient you are. When you are trotting around the globe you really only have yourself to rely on, and maybe a travel buddy. But, you are forced to dig deep and deal with whatever comes your way.
If there is a stressful situation, there are no scapegoats, it’s all on you to figure out a solution. And sometimes a quick one. Sure, we have all been in stressful situations before fine. But to be in a stressful situation where you don’t speak the language and have no idea where you are or how to get home, can heighten any situation. To add insult to the injury, you might be carrying a giant backpack with your entire life in it, stripped down to the bare minimum both mentally and physically.
So why is this a good thing?
Stripping something down to the bone gives you a chance to rebuild, or piece it back together like a puzzle. You learn where the pieces fit, maybe you even find that missing piece you’ve been looking for forever. You’ve had everything stripped from you and are being forced to be resourceful, rely on others, and trust your gut instinct.
2) Travelling can be extremely eye-opening.
It’s simple, change your life by implementing the positive notions other people use in their own life.
In Europe they value family time with traditional Sunday dinners, nights at cafe’s spent with your loved ones, or simply grabbing a cappuccino after work with your co-workers. In New Zealand it’s supporting their heritage and passion for everything authentically Kiwi, it’s a passion for the outdoors and a love of all things coffee and brunch.
Seeing how other people live, what they eat, how they celebrate holidays, their work life, and how they spend time with their families is eye-opening in itself. You get a taste of what it’s like to value things you maybe are disregarding in your life as it stands right now. It’s almost like you get a whole new appreciation for what you have. You’re given the rare opportunity to better prioritize the things in your life that matter the most.
To change your life doesn’t take a lot of effort, it just takes the one moment of realization that the little things matter.
Living out of a van and having what feels like ‘nothing’ only to realize it’s everything you need was a huge eye-opener for us. When we returned home and started looking for an apartment, anything larger than 600 square feet felt scary to us. We had gotten so used to living with just the bare necessities that we realized how much ‘useless’ junk we had. Do we love our dust collectors and useless objects? Of course we do. But if we had to get rid of it all tomorrow for another chance at spending time together and experiencing life one day at a time, we wouldn’t hesitate.
All of the things we had at home are exactly that…things. All we needed was a late night coffee with our friends, or a Sunday dinner with our families to be happy.
3) Travelling makes you step outside of your comfort zone.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone really should be the first step you take to change your life. Not just in regards to travel but in general really.
Realistically, just to get out and travel is stepping outside of your comfort zone, taking a risk. It’s not easy to up and leave everything you are comfortable with and head somewhere you potentially know nothing about.
What if something bad happens, or you miss home, or you get a little lost? Bad news, it probably will happen at least once in your life. You will miss home, you will fight with your partner at the airport or get a bad sunburn, heck you might even almost drown in Fiji! But those experiences are the fundamental building blocks of who you are and who you are to become. Not to mention they make some GREAT stories, and at the end of the day…
humans just want to be great storytellers.
All of these new experiences help teach you how to deal with stress, how to appreciate everything in your life, how to travel with your partner, and that home is where you make it. And that’s only the beginning. Leaving your comfort zone will ultimately allow you to understand others better and help improve your own self-worth.
You can only change your life if you are willing to change your lifestyle.
We guarantee you will learn more about yourself, which will help you learn more about the people around you. Take a leap of faith into the unknown to discover who you are truly capable of being.
4) You become a storyteller
Everyone wants to be a storyteller. Stories evoke emotion and help us connect to one another, like a giant web. This giant web of stories and how they draw our society together is so intricate and complex it can be difficult to understand. But it’s there none the less. Every person on the planet has a favourite story they can relate to and is typically behind ready to listen to anything that starts with ‘Once Upon a Time’ or ‘In a Far Away Land.’ If you want to know more about this tangled web read this article by Leo Widrich (CO-Founder of Buffer) about what storytelling does to our brains.
We all want other people to relate to us, to find us funny, to be immersed in what we have to say. If anything is going to give you those stories, it’s travel. Sure sometimes the experiences aren’t so glamorous (like the time I got stuck in a zorb – that was embarssing). But those moments are the stories people love and want to hear. Those are the stories that are raw and real, that truly stick with people.
I remember coming home and telling my family stories like my zorbing experience, or how I flew over the handlebars and Andrew lost a wheel while mountain biking in Wanaka, or almost drowning in Fiji, and they absolutely loved them. They told all their friends, who then asked us to retell the stories, and when we see them now they still laugh (at our expense). Years later they are still impacted by that one story we told.
That is a powerful feeling.
The feeling that you have influenced someone. The stories you tell not only change your life but they start to change the lives of those around you.
As Plato once said, “Those who tell the stories, rule society.” Sure, sometimes returning home from long-term travel can be difficult but having those experiences to fall back on and share with the world is a feeling that is indescribable.
Stories are the only thing that carry on after we are gone.
5) Your perspective broadens
It can be argued that the only way to truly change your life is to broaden your perspective and change your point of view.
Your point of view about the world and how it operates starts to change with every single trip you take. How you view your government at home…starts to change, how you view time spent with your family…starts to change. Your interactions with the people around you…start to change, and your interactions with yourself…start to change.
You slowly become a more open-minded person. You allow new thoughts to come in and out of your head – letting go of total control, you are ready to experience change, you make yourself vulnerable admitting that you are not all knowing, you’re ready to make mistakes and learn from them, you begin to strengthen your inner-self and gain confidence, and most important…you become honest with the world and yourself.
Travel can be transformational. It can change the world and it can change your life if you let it. It can teach you life skills you might never learn just living at home stuck in a routine surrounding by a plastic bubble. Travel can teach you to trust yourself, to trust others, to not be afraid to tell the best stories and to truly appreciate everything.
Nothing can substitute experience. What do you want to look back at when you get to the end? Those days spent at the office slaving away or the days where you were out adventuring?
Do you have any travel experiences that you think changed
your life or would change your life? We’d love to hear them!
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