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Nine reasons why travel broadens your mind

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

Who likes adventure? When life is feeling a little bit monotonous there is nothing like an adventure to wake you up. I love travel and have travelled to many different countries and had lots of wonderful, interesting experiences over the years. Some trips are relaxed and easy and I would class those type of trips as holidays. But others are more adventurous, faster paced and sometimes challenging. This is what I call travelling. Those that know me will know that I recently went on an adventure to China.

I usually prefer travelling independently but as this was China where it is still not easy to travel alone, and language is a bit (more than a bit actually) of a problem, I decided to take a tour. This was definitely travelling as it wasn’t easy or relaxing but it was much easier having a guide do all the planning and organising than trying to it myself, especially when few people speak English and most signs and information are in Chinese.

There are many ways that travel will change you, but here are 9 of them.

  1. Challenging yourself

If you are feeling stuck in a rut or looking for excitement and challenge then travel may be your solution. Travel will take you out of your comfort zone and some types of travel will push you to your limits. Although I was on a tour most of the time, I did attempt to use the metro system in Beijing, on my own. I managed to work out how to buy a ticket and which trains to get on and I didn’t get lost. I was quite pleased with myself.

Overcoming challenges is satisfying and will build your confidence.

2. Learning

Expanding your knowledge by learning about different places and cultures is one of the important reasons people travel.

And certainly, when travelling in a foreign country there are lots of things to learn. Firstly it is useful if you learn some of the language before you go, even if you just know the words for ‘ Thank you’, ‘Hello’ ,‘good morning’ , ‘yes’ and ‘no’ etc. you will find people are more friendly. You won’t understand their response, of course, but that is fine, just look puzzled and maybe someone else will help you or you will find that they do speak English. Alternatively you can resort to Google translate.

Whilst there you will learn lots more about the history and geography of the country than you did in high school. Some people travel for specific reasons such as to learn a language, learn about and experience the religion or learn about the cuisine in that country.

3. Building friendships

If you are part of a group tour you will meet people of different ages, backgrounds and nationalities. As you will spend quite a lot of time with this eclectic group you will most likely get to know quite a bit about them. Not only will you learn tolerance and acceptance of other people’s differences, you may also learn more about the countries your travel companions are from. Lasting friendships may also develop, opening the doors for future travel companions or people to visit in their home countries.

4 .Learn about yourself

Leaving your routines and everyday distractions behind is a great opportunity to indulge in some self-reflection. In a different environment you may push your boundaries physically, socially or emotionally. In a group situation you might push yourself physically to climb that mountain or hike the trail that you didn’t think you could. It is also a great opportunity to re-examine goals and think about the direction of your life.

5. See the world from a different perspective

Another reason why people love to travel is because it helps open your mind. You realize that there’s no one way to live life. Meeting people from other places will show you that your world view isn’t the same as everyone else’s. Travelling helps us look at our own lives from a distance and when we do that we can see things more clearly.

6. Understand world politics

You certainly get a better understanding of world politics when travelling. When you are able to talk to locals about their lives and experiences you are sometimes able to discover local interpretations of certain policies and political behaviour. Sometimes guides will share with you sensitive information about the political situation. In Myanmar (Burma) which has a complicated and turbulent political history, I was able to find out a lot about the opinions and beliefs of the people. In other places, what guides can tell you is controlled. A good way to get a feel for the politics of a country is to watch their news (in English) if they have an English version. It is very enlightening to see how that country is reporting current world events (or not) and compare it with CNN or BBC.

7. Try different types of food

I can never understand why some people travel and expect to find food they are familiar with. Trying different foods is certainly an important part of the travel experience.

As an almost vegetarian, I don’t eat red meat and although I will eat fish and chicken, I am very fussy about what types. I thought that in China I would be able to find plenty of vegetarian options such as tofu and Tempe, but this was not the case.

Eating out without a Chinese speaker is quite an adventure. Most menus are written in Chinese only, some with pictures but in restaurants were tourists frequent they can sometimes pull out an “English” menu, with some very funny descriptions. On one occasion I ordered what was written as ‘SizzlingTofu’ and the picture seemed to have vegetables. I was anticipating something like a tofu stir fry but what I got was some very nice stir fried tofu and a lot of pork!

Eating meat is a sign of affluence in China but they eat EVERY part of the animal, which as an almost vegetarian I was not prepared to try. In a street market in Beijing you can get silkworms, grasshoppers, seahorses, and scorpions- I decided to not go on that excursion!

8. Travelling makes you patient

Dealing with delays, mishaps and the different ways of doing things in other cultures, makes you more patient and understanding.

Learning how to be calm and not get frustrated or upset when a flight is cancelled or your luggage is lost is probably one of the most valuable skills you can acquire that will not only apply to traveling, but the rest of your life. You quickly learn that you can handle most situations and that there really aren’t a lot of things worth getting upset about.

9. Appreciate home

Travel can give you a greater appreciation for your home and home country. Although I always enjoy my travels I do also look forward to returning home, to sleeping in my own bed and being in a familiar environment. I also appreciate that where I live is a beautiful part of the world and I am grateful to be living here.

If you are feeling a bit stuck or need a way to get out of your comfort zone (not necessarily by travelling) get in touch to find out about my coaching packages, or sign up for my newsletter to register for my new online course coming soon.


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