I started traveling when I was 14 and since then I became addicted to it. But even though I was doing it constantly, I did not know since recently why it was so important to me. What I came to realize in time was that there were actually some reasons – traveling is helping me become my best version and why is that so I will explain in this article.
First of all I have to explain that there is a significant difference between going on vacation and on a journey. A vacation is a way to relax and disconnect of stress and daily struggles, spending time with loved ones and recharging our batteries. We all need this, but we might need something else as well. Journeys are actually opposite to vacations – they are based on exploring and can often be very tiring. A journey is an activity which brings us out of our comfort zone, expands our horizons and changes perceptions and preconceived ideas. A journey can be very challenging and sometimes even stressful, but in the end it gives us unique experiences and helps us understand the world better.
There are studies which show that journeys bring benefits in multiple areas of our lives, proving out to be a great exercise for our personal development and a good method to improve our state of being and health. In the next paragraphs I will present some of the benefits we can have if we step out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves.
Journeys are one of the most simple and pleasant ways to stimulate our creativity. Studies have shown that experiences outside our countries, borders, realities have a huge impact on our creative and original thinking. But for this to happen it is essential to have an authentic experience when we travel. To mingle with people, to explore the lands, to question the culture, to come back home with a luggage of new knowledge. The brain reacts to every sound, smell, taste, sensation and when powered with such new things, it sparkles.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms. The key critical process is commitment, immersion and multicultural adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and does not engage in local culture will have less creativity than someone who travels abroad and engages in the local environment”, says prof. Adam Galinksky, for The Atlantic.
A journey is an experience which highly contribute to our personal development. When we travel and explore we have the chance to observe different cultures, different ways of living and different sides of life and we become on the one hand more empathic, and on the other hand we become more open in facing new and challenging situations. Journeys can have an important influence on our emotional stability and openness to understand that there is not a single way to living life, but so many. And when we understand that, we have happier lives ourselves because we know there is a path to follow.
Traveling is a unique stimulus for our cognitive abilities, as well as a good supplement to brain health. The effect is due to the new situations and experiences experienced by travelers and the activities that put the brain’s “wheels” in motion, from the discovery and need to handle an unknown environment, to reading maps or visiting cultural attractions. Journeys can be considered to be a medicine for our brains as they challenge it with understanding and assimilating different experiences and environments. In time, such thing contributes to the “resistance” of the brain.
Journeys change our perceptions and give us a new perspective on humanity – they reiterate our trust in the goodness of others. When we engage in other cultures we start experiencing different people and we see that we share similar struggles at some point and that most people treat us in similar ways. Cultural exchanges produce an increase in trust, a growth of belief in humanity.
Traveling is more than chilling on the beach, cutting off the list some monuments and tourist attractions to visit – it is about having and sharing impressive and memorable experiences with the world. It is about focusing on the others in order to be able to focus on ourselves. As they say, knowledge is the key to everything, and as we travel we know and understand more, we dare and change more, we become our best version.