Travel To Grow

Understanding The World Through Travel

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Mar '10

Why Travel Series #4 – Growing as a Person


In this last article of the series on why a person should travel we’ll talk about how travel makes you grow as a person. That is what this entire website is dedicated to after all!

In this website I’ve shared a lot of the ways I’ve grown as a person and a lot of the lessons I’ve learned through travelling but I have a few things to add here.

Growing in maturity

Sure travelling often involves countless drinking games, crazy parties and ridiculous times… but somewhere between those it also helps you really mature as a person.

Travelling can be a really humbling experience. There’s no quicker way to learn how easy we have it and how blessed we are in North America compared to some other countries as to travel and see them for yourself. Watching small Chinese women work filthy 12 hour hard labour construction days in the burning sun really made me feel foolish for the jobs I had complained about in the past. Seeing the tiny, dirty, houses that some children are forced to grow up in will make anyone appreciate what they had as kids. Even seeing how much homework Chinese children get can make you wish you complained a little less back in school!  😀

Travelling definitely humbles you and makes you grateful for the things you take for granted back home. When you see some of the unhappy ways people live on a daily basis it makes all the small problems that used to concern you seem irrelevant and silly, they just don’t matter as much.

Travelling also helps you mature in your ability to deal with difficult people. If you thought dealing with your boss back home was difficult, imagine if he was Chinese and didn’t speak your language! It can be frustrating to deal with people who have different ways of thinking and hard to come to terms with them, but as you travel your forced to try your best and you can’t help but gain increased patience and people skills through the process.

Travelling helps us understanding more of the world we live in… and this wider worldview and understanding helps to grow and mature.

Constant growth

Travelling gives you more opportunities for constant growth than you could ever find working a 9-5 back home. Whether you take the path of working for a while, saving money then travelling, or getting a fulltime job like English teaching which has very low hours, chances are you’ll have much more time to experience the country and learn from it.

You’ll be able to fill your time with countless opportunities to go on adventures and experience the new culture you’re in. These experiences will get out of your comfort zone constantly and although you might have some fears and difficulties as you try to make it in a foreign land, these difficulties will cause you to adapt and grow quickly.

Travel will force you to take on new challenges. Anything as simple to making it home from the long walk you took without any English street signs, to learning to cook new food, to socializing with people from different countries, to learning a new language. These new challenges will help you build new skills and free yourself from your former limitations. If you become good at doing something in a foreign country you’ll be even better at doing it back home in the familiar.

Personal insights

When you’re challenged through travel you’ll no doubt learn a lot about yourself. Getting away from your familiar routine you’ll have to deal with new things, and in seeing how you deal with things you’ll learn, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can improve.

Travelling also helps you find out what’s important to you. When you remove all that you know you quickly realize what you miss the most and what really matters to you. And with this blank slate of a new land you’ll be able to find what you need again to be happy in life. For me it was sitting on a beach under the stars with people I loved and some live guitar in the background that I discovered all I ever needed to be happy.

Besides learning what’s important to you, you may also discover what you’re passionate about. Most people have no idea what they want to do with their lives… at least when they are forced to choose a career path in university… but travelling shows you what’s possible to do with your life and you’ll be exposed to so many things it’s much easier to discover your life’s passion or what you want your purpose to be.

Bonus benefits

As a nice bonus benefit to travelling, it also makes you a more interesting person!

You’ll have experiences to share and stories to tell. You’ll definitely have a lot to talk about and you’ll be able to provide value or at least entertainment to others through what you’ve done.

You’ll also gain interesting insights and ideas from all the people from around the world you’ve met along the way. You’ll know new foods, new games, new music, new jokes, and new ways of doing things.

You’ll have the gift of many unforgettable memories that will be valuable to you for years to come. Not to mention the lifelong friendships you’ll have created along the way.

Lastly as you get older you’ll be able to look back on your life and say ‘I did that’ with a feeling of accomplishment in time well spent.

The 5th reason

As a final note to end this why travel series I want to bring up a 5th reason to travel… It’s a whole lot of fun!

I’ve had more fun in the last year and a half of travelling than I could have ever imagined before leaving for the first time. I’ve gone bungee jumping, cave exploring, zip lining, elephant riding, I’ve slept under the stars in a hammock, went cliff jumping, entered into 2 muay Thai kickboxing fights, went snorkeling, scuba diving, petted tigers, went to museums, went rock climbing, explored Chinese temples, climbed mountains, gone skinny dipping, hiked up to the world’s largest flower, visited 4 different theme parks, went to concerts, went to a full moon party, played countless drinking games, went to countless parties, sang songs at countless ktv’s, and did a bunch of fun things I don’t want to admit!

There’s a lot I’m missing but the point is travelling is an absolute blast, and putting all the personal development aside that alone makes it worth it!

I hope this series inspires you to get out there and travel! It’s by far the most awesome thing there is to do in this world!

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