How To Use Travel As A Form of Personal Development
Travel can be a form of self-development if you allow it to be
Travel conjures up mixed feelings for others when it is brought up in regards to being a positive activity or passion. Some view travel as a must to keep life from getting stale while others view it as a waste of time and money. If done with intent, travel can help you develop blind spots in your life.
To the average person, travel is nothing more than a tool to go on vacation. For business travelers, traveling is just a means to an end. But for others when fully experienced, traveling can open your mind to new ways of thinking. Travel can inspire us because our minds are free from drama and stress when we are in new environments. You become a creative Einstein and find solutions to your problems. A great quote from Natalie Sisson sums it up,
“Travel, if you let it, gives you depth, meaning, challenge, wonder, and new insights into your world view. It’s like applying a different lens to your existing world and forever changing the way you see through it.”
It’s a big world out there. When we think of business travelers, we tend to think of people in car salesman suits power walking through the airport. You can start and maintain a business with the power of connecting with people from all over the world. If you can build an email list of 5000 people from all over the world and sell a product for $20.00 a person, that’s $100,000.000 you made. Just imagine, your bank account would look like a phone number. The world is full of potential clients who have a pain point problem. Entrepreneur Ryan Madgziarz started a coaching consultant called Winning International. Using the world as a tool, his mission statement is
“There is a worldwide coaching epidemic where 96% of coaches don’t make it.”
Each city and country has a culture and how it relates to fitness. An example is Asian countries that have a patented fighting style. Thailand is known for its bloody fighting style, Muy Thai. Muy Thai requires lots of stamina. Places like Denver, Colorado have a lot of mountains so mountain climbing is a normal activity there. There is a saying amongst fitness enthusiasts, “The world is our gym”. The great thing about traveling and fitness is sometimes you don’t have access to a comfortable gym. You have to get creative and use your surroundings. In the words of Martin Patrick Schroeder, a man who is cycling the world by bike,
“Comfort is slowly killing you”.
Just like fitness, each city and country has its own culture surrounding food. Growing up in the south, I can relate to this. Obesity is high in most of the Southern states in America. Obesity is nonexistent in most countries outside of America. This has a lot to do with diets and cultural differences. Every place’s nutrition is determined by cultural norms. This effect can determine the size of everyone’s waistline in the environment. Food is a part of people, it’s a part of everyone’s culture. As Mark Wiens of Migrationology says,
“When you travel, there’s no better way to connect with people than through food”.
I was once told by an older mentor of mine that there are over one billion women on the planet. If it doesn’t work out with one, you have options. Dating outside your country or culture forces you to see things from a different perspective. It also helps you change how you relate to people. The western world is a bit on the shallow side when it comes to dating. These differences make you think more about other characteristics other than appearance. There are some interesting pros and cons to dating while traveling around the world. As Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt says,
“Travel accelerates relationships, you can court, fall in love, and break up all in a matter of a few days”.
There is a perception about traveling, it is expensive. This is true to an extent. As in life, anything is expensive if money is not managed right. It’s all about what you prioritize. Traveling will teach you how to properly manage your money. There are a ton of long-term benefits such as getting a second passport and how it affects your finances. But get your country’s passport first. If you have your own business and it requires traveling, you can save your proof for tax write-offs at the end of the year. If you decide to move overseas from the USA, you still have to pay taxes as a citizen but there are 65 countries that the USA has a treaty with. You may be eligible to pay lower taxes depending on the country. Financially, as Andrew Henderson of Nomad Capitalist says,
“Go where your treated best”.
7. Mental Health
Did you know the USA is in the top five for most depressed countries? How does this relate to travel? Remember all of your depressing jobs where you had to endure a drudgerous routine? There is a reason one goes insane doing the same thing over and over again. Even the slightest change in your environment can release you from the mental prison known as routine. Travel anywhere to break up the routine even if it’s to a new town near you. Traveling increases creativity and helps you get out of a rut. Jackie Homan of Jetsetter says,
“Traveling can serve as a hard reset because being drastically outside of your comfort zone can function as a creative disruption”.
The most common questions asked when traveling always revolve around why and where. The way we plan for a trip can be applied to life. What is our “why”, meaning why are we here? What is our destination in life and where are we going? New environments help this process. Once we understand how big the world is and all of the resources it has, our questions seem to be easier to answer. Sometimes a new start such as a move across the country can help us find out what we want. Danielle Werner of LiveWonderful moved from her town of Palm Beach, Florida to San Diego, California. That was the seed that planted the travel bug. Now she has her own photography business that allows her to travel the world. In her own words,
“I want to travel and plan a trip with no return”.
9. Personal Development
You get to see life from other people’s perspectives. We spend so much time consumed by our own lives we can’t see the areas where we need improvement. Being in different places allows us to slow down and properly evaluate our lives from a place of peace. When we continue to live in a rat race of life, it’s very challenging to see the areas where we could use personal development. Diversity, differences, and culture are some things you can’t avoid when it comes to traveling. It forces you to level up your awareness of other people. Understanding others is a part of personal development. Entrepreneur Tayo Rockson has used his travel experience and knowledge of cultural diversity to build a global leadership consulting firm. His motto is,
“Use your difference to make a difference”.
There is so much history around the world. You learn much more in person than you do from TV about historical landmarks. For instance, the Louvre Museum used to be a residence and castle to Philip II back in the 13th Century. The location doesn’t do you justice if you haven’t seen it in person to marvel at the penthouse that appears to be on steroids. It was the length of three city blocks. All across the world are many mysteries. We will never find out if boats and airplanes disappear into another world in the Bermuda Triangle but we can see things like the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England to see if there is a secret message about the end of the world, right? We can be like Jen of Jaunting Jen who travels the world in search of history. She says,
“The world is a place to explore travel and to teach history”.
Entrepreneurship and travel have commonalities. The common factor among these two is creativity and flexibility. These two are synonymous, they go hand in hand. Why? because when your travel, things don’t go as planned sometimes. This is true with entrepreneurship, nothing goes the way you planned it. So when things go south, traveling forces you to adapt on the fly. Entrepreneurship is the same way. To reach your goals or destination, you must learn to adjust on the fly. As a traveler, the three skills you need are creativity, adaptability, and flexibility. These are true as an entrepreneur as well. When Celine Da Costa left her comfortable life in New York on a one-way ticket overseas, she used these skills as she traveled to turn her experiences into a brand coach. Her thirst for human connection led to her business as she states,
“Regardless of race, culture, or background, every person I encountered along my travels generously shared themselves with me”.
The best part about immersing yourself in different cultures when traveling is the freedom to make mistakes. Experiencing other cultures gives you a different set of eyes to view the world. When you are an outsider, you are not expected to abide by all the customs of different cultures. You can make a fool of yourself and not be judged. It’s a respect thing. It’s appreciated just for the effort. Have you ever fully immersed yourself in another culture? Have you risked looking like a fool doing so? It takes one with a very small ego to put their viewpoints aside and experience something different from themselves. The late great Anthony Bourdain was a master at doing this. He stripped himself of all his comfortable beliefs and lived like a local when he traveled. One of his quotes explains the beauty of experiencing another culture,
“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.”
Education comes in many forms.