6 ways traveling encourages self-development
Traveling will broaden your mind and teach you valuable life lessons that you can't learn by just sitting at home. Here are 6 ways traveling can contribute to your self-development and personal growth.
Dec 05, 2019
I am a 24 year old from the USA, currently living and working in Australia. I love writing about my travel experiences in Europe, South America, an...
The hardest part of traveling is taking that first step.
Whether it's quitting a job to travel long term, or just dishing out some money to buy a flight for a weekend away, committing to a trip abroad feels like taking a risk and that can be scary.
Especially if you're traveling alone for the first time, venturing out of your comfort zone and diving headfirst into the unknown takes immense courage.
But once you take that first step, you are making a conscious choice to embark on a journey of adventure and self-discovery.
Traveling has its ups and downs, but every single part of it plays a role in your self-development and provides an opportunity to learn.
The best way to stimulate inner growth is to challenge yourself. Try new things, converse with new people from different cultures and live life in a way you aren't used to. Do a work exchange and live with locals in a different country. Learn new skills and languages.
These new experiences will broaden your mind and teach you valuable life lessons that you can't learn by just sitting at home.
All the things that you learn while traveling can help make you a more intelligent, compassionate and curious person. People grow and change in incredible ways while traveling the world.
Here are some examples of self-development that may occur while traveling.
6 ways traveling promotes self-development
- You may realize that travel is cheaper than you think
- You may learn how to budget better
- You will feel more confident in yourself
- You will gain more independence
- You may develop a stronger sense of empathy for others
- You may start to appreciate home even more
1. You may realize that travel is cheaper than you think
Lots of people don't travel because they think it is too expensive. But once you actually take the initiative to start researching the costs of travel, you'll find it to be surprisingly affordable.
With thorough research and dedication, you will discover the best travel apps, resources for budget transportation, and platforms for finding cheap accommodation. By digging around for the best prices on transport and accommodation, you'll find traveling abroad is actually straightforward and budget friendly.
Finding those cheap deals on transport and accommodation proves that traveling isn't just a luxury for wealthy people. Traveling is accessible for anyone with a little bit of savings and a determination to see the world.
This new optimistic mindset will encourage you to travel again in the future, thus continuing your journey of self-growth and development.
2. You may learn how to budget better
Once you actually hit the road, you'll slowly learn how to budget while traveling.
There are so many ways to save money while traveling, and the more you explore, the more budget travel hacks you'll gain. As you become a seasoned budget traveler, you'll become familiar with these useful habits for saving money abroad.
For example, you might choose to travel using a work exchange where you can stay with locals for free in exchange for a bit of work.
Worldpackers is a great website for finding these intercultural exchanges around the world that allow you to save lots of money on accommodation. Another habit you may develop is researching the best places to travel on a budget and picking the more affordable destinations.
Whether it's munching on cheap street food instead of dining in nice restaurants, or taking advantage of weekly discounts and travel deals on tours and activities, or finding the best ways to enjoy a new city for free, traveling will help you develop these methods of budgeting so your money can last and you can travel longer.
3. You will feel more confident in yourself
There are positive and negative aspects of traveling, but both will help you gain confidence.
Some of the best moments of your entire life might occur while traveling. From hiking a volcano or mountain, to marveling at ancient architecture and artwork, to swimming in different oceans and catching gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, traveling is full of moments that make you fall deeply in love with life.
Knowing that you are responsible for bringing so much wonder and joy and beauty into your own life will make you feel amazing.
Even the negative moments of traveling can help you feel more confident in yourself. Maybe you get lost in a new city, or miss a train or lose something valuable. Though these mishaps suck at the time, you always have the ability to fix the situation. Using your own street smarts and your own instincts can get you out of sticky situations, and sometimes you can look back on those moments and laugh.
Knowing that you fixed the problems yourself shows that you can remain calm under pressure and get things done. Problem solving while traveling is not only a necessary skill, it also helps you gain confidence in your own abilities.
4. You will gain more independence
Whether you travel alone or with others, you have to develop some form of independence while abroad. You have to make your own decisions and take care of yourself. Coping with culture shock and navigating foreign countries can be difficult, but once you learn how to tackle these challenges you can tackle just about anything.
Aside from daily problem solving, traveling long term teaches you how to survive on your own using a nomadic lifestyle. If you start traveling and decide you don't want to stop, you have to make that happen all on your own.
Whether that means teaching yourself how to work as a digital nomad, or seeking out other international jobs like teaching languages or working as a tour guide, the independence that you gain from traveling can compel you to create the type of life that you want.
5. You may develop a stronger sense of empathy for others
Staying in one place your whole life gives you a very narrow view of what the world is actually like.
Taking a little time to travel and experience different cultures broadens your world view. Even if it's just traveling to a different area of your own country, it is humbling and eye-opening to see how others live.
The world is so diverse. Instead of just reading about different parts of the Earth, go see them with your own eyes. Eat a home-cooked meal with a local family in South America. Hike through small villages in Europe or learn about ancient practices and religions in Southeast Asia.
Immerse yourself in different cultures and you will adopt a sense of empathy for others who live differently than you.
Traveling teaches you that all people are different on the outside, but inside everyone feels the same emotions and wants happiness. It is inspiring to listen to the stories of people around the world, and this human connection can help you become a more compassionate and empathetic person.
6. You may start to appreciate home even more
Spending lots of time abroad teaches you to never take anything for granted.
Traveling often means being away from loved ones and missing home. But instead of feeling sad, you may feel incredibly grateful. Family and friends will always be there for you, and there is no better feeling than returning home to your favorite people after spending time away.
Soak in every single moment while abroad, and always remember how lucky you are to be able to travel. You will see so many mind blowing sights and beautiful places on the road, but nothing helps deepen your appreciation for home more than traveling.
Sometimes it takes being away to really cherish what you have back home.
Final thoughts on self-development while traveling
Though there are many other ways that travel can contribute to self-development, these are a few common examples. It is natural to feel anxious or nervous before traveling, especially if it is your first time abroad. So if traveling seems scary, think about how much you will benefit from this experience and don't let fear stop you from taking a risk.
Leaving your comfort zone helps you become more independent, responsible and confident. You have to problem solve constantly and be able to financially and mentally support yourself abroad. Through traveling, you’ll learn how to budget better and save money by using different resources.
You may also have interesting cultural experiences while traveling that will make you a more sensitive and empathetic person. Doing a work exchange is a great way to immerse in local culture, form a close connection with locals and become part of a community.
The compassion and respect for others that results from a deep cultural experience will give you a more positive and balanced outlook on life.
Traveling promotes self-development and growth more than any motivational book, poster or movie ever could.
Traveling helps you grow through hands on, real life experiences.
It can be hard at times, but every challenge you face will make you even more prepared for the future. You can only learn valuable lessons from traveling, and you'll gain some unforgettable memories along the way.
All you have to do is book that first journey!