I (Wendy) have two trips planned for this year, both involving new places. As I have received updates about them I am reminded about how far I’ve come, and how I have grown. Generally this nostalgic thought train starts with memories of my first international trip to the Czech Republic. Since that time I have been to Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Germany, Poland, and Italy. To be honest with you though, Prague still holds my heart, nothing has quite compared. I’m not sure if this is just a case of “Love at First Sight” or my nostalgia filling in and sometimes covering up the discomforts I experienced my first time in a foreign country. Either way, I cannot wait to go back see the St. Charles Bridge or to walk amongst the red roofs and winding roads of that beautiful city.
Everyone will experience travel differently, but there are some similarities between how I’ve grown and how I have seen others grow and change when they have traveled. I would like to share some of these with you as a way of encouraging you to consider how you can challenge yourself to keep growing – potentially by booking your next trip!
Before jumping into all the different ways you might find growth abroad, we should talk about why travel impacts you and/or how it impacts you – depending on your view. Very simply put, new experiences require the brain to develop new neural pathways. So it’s not even just on an emotional or cognitive level we change, but truly we change physically. It is akin to the first time you attempted to ride a bike; putting yourself in that situation, forcing your feet through the cycling pattern while also attempting to maintain your balance rebuilt your brain. You learned something new, which had you not tried you would not now know. The same is true of travel.
Makes you more grateful
Teaches you what you can live without
Helps you understand how others live
Teaches you about yourself
Help you identify your comfort zone
Challenge your preconceived notions
Shed light on your biases
Introduces you to others
Other people, other food, other cultures, other ways of living
Connects and centers
Help you start new relationships
Strengthen current relationships
Remind you what life is all about
Helps you reevaluate fast paced living
Go one more step when you are tired
Try one more new thing when you’re tried out
Face your fears, and find freedom
Build new patterns in your brain
Learn new habits and skills
Test your tastebuds