By Jen Lucas, Pack Up + Go Contributor
There’s no better feeling than coming home from a trip and reflecting on the experiences you had and things you learned. Whether international or domestic, travel helps us to grow as individuals.
Being outside of your comfort zone
When faced with the daily routine, you’re not forced to use your brain a ton as you go through the same motions as you did the day before. The alarm goes off, getting out of bed, brushing teeth, caffeine, morning commutes… You get the idea. But when on a trip, each day is different with new and exciting places to explore. Your brain gets a stimulating workout planning the days for fun or relaxation. Both are equally important and healthy.
Learning new languages
Being able to communicate is key when traveling. It’s also a nice gesture to become familiar with the local language, even if only a few common words or phrases. This gesture shows the locals respect as you attempt to communicate, whether effectively or not, and that you are interested in their culture. Even domestic travel requires us to learn different regional dialects.
Meeting new people
Travel requires us to talk to people we may not normally as we find ourselves in a new locale. People are our greatest resource when traveling and can help with directions, restaurant and activity recommendations, or just to learn more about the city you’re visiting.
Group travel allows us to be more patient and compassionate than we may be in everyday life. To maintain sanity on a group trip or tour, we must be understanding of each person’s wants and needs as we all have our expectations.
Experiencing a new place
Despite the help of apps such as Google Maps (which is a lifesaver!), traveling to a new location requires us to navigate new cities and lands, whether by foot, public transportation, subway or rental vehicle. It forces us to tap into our internal compass and to be more self-sufficient to get from point A to point B and, sometimes, to do so creatively.
Gaining new skills
Taking part in unique experiences helps us to broaden our skills. Whether scuba diving, going on a rugged hike, taking a local cooking class or skiing a black diamond, even if it’s the first and last time, one should feel proud to have tried something new.
Expanding your palate
Whether you find yourself at a local market or in a five-star restaurant, you’ll be exposed to fare unique to that destination. While traveling one may be more inclined to try something outside of their usual taste spectra such as Baja style fish tacos in Southern California, gator tail in Florida, a crawfish boil in Louisiana or a steak the size of your head in Texas.
After every adventure whether successful or even those with obstacles, I always return with a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration. Visiting museums, seeing historical landmarks, architecture, relaxing on the beach, taking beautiful pictures, and simply enjoying the quarks of a place allows our minds to clear and open to inspiration. Some of my best ideas are formulated during or after a trip regardless the length or purpose of the voyage.
To be the best version of ourselves, I feel as though we need to break out of the mundane every once in a while and gift ourselves a change of scenery for a fresh perspective. A long day drive, a month traveling the states in an RV, a weekend adventure in a new city, an overnight stay one town over, all can be extremely useful for one’s personal growth.