Why We Must Travel

I've always loved traveling and exploring the world. Searching unfamiliar places and discovering unexpected locations is all part of the adventure. Traveling takes you out of your comfort zone and can reveal different aspects of who you are.

Despite the excitement that travel can bring, one of the challenges I've experienced is the impatience to reach your "final destination". The endless flights, rental cars, and exhausting foot travel will leave the most zealous pilgrim wishing they had never left their bed at home. And just as soon as you feel like you've found your rhythm on the road, the demands of life begin to slowly claw back through your inbox and quickly take away the mental freedom you felt away from the routine. 

But travel, whether it's to a foreign country or a place you've never been, can be a catalyst to introspection and improvement.  When you travel, there's a lot of time to think, if you allow yourself to. Maybe it's during the plane ride or staring out the window on a long road trip, but traveling can free up space to allow your mind to wander where it so desires. Furthermore, travel can reveal the best and worst of you. How do you react when your flight gets canceled? How do you respond when you get ripped off from a foreign restaurant? 

Listen to what Peter Hoeg says about traveling: 

 
Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.
— Peter Hoeg
 

 When we travel, our senses are heightened and we are pushed to our limits. It is in these moments that our raw human emotions are magnified, for better or for worse. If this is true, then when we travel, we have the opportunity  to reflect on who we are and who we are becoming. When we travel, we not only discover new locations but we discover our truest selves.  

As I head out for a 14-day excursion to Eastern Europe, here are a few opportunities for introspection and improvement while I'm away: 

  1. Be Present. This is one of the hardest things for me. My goal this trip is to engage my surroundings with all my senses. Rather than anxiously trying to get to the next location. I want to be present in the place I'm in. This could be the Starbucks in the airport or walking through the ancient streets of Prague. Wherever I am, I want to be fully present. 
  2. Create Space. I want to make time to think. It's easy to watch a movie, read a book, or play a game. I definitely want time for that as well. But what I really want is to spend time writing, reflecting, and dreaming about where I am in life. The demands of travel can easily engulf my energy so that the practice of creating space, as important as they are, can easily fall by the wayside. 
  3. Constructive Criticism. For the next 14-days, I want to reflect on areas for improvement. Are there things in my life that I need less of in order to be the best version of myself? Are there habits that need to be re-evaluated or included? Travel can provide the opportunity to reset ones' habits and disposition in their everyday routines. 

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So why do you travel? What are some things you've learned on your traveling experiences? Do you find that travel can spark introspection and improvement? Perhaps inspiration? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts and any tips you might have! Thanks for sharing!