How travel makes us stronger

I know many older people who will not travel interstate or abroad out of fear … fear of being mugged, fear of flying, fear of getting sick in a foreign place, fear they will not have a good time, fear of loneliness … and the list goes on.

In my book, these phobias are a barrier to experiencing life and spiritual growth. If only these travel-shy types could be persuaded that none of the things they fear is likely to happen to them. Rather, they are more likely to grow in character and self-confidence when they roam away from home.

Once they allow themselves to be a little intrepid, most travellers find they emerge stronger from the experience. Blogger Kacey from The Drifter Collective does a good job of explaining why. In her (edited) words, travel …

1. Tests your limits and builds strong self-reliance
There are a lot of gritty moments that test what you are made of when you travel. But, during these darker moments, you’ll learn the most about yourself and also about building confidence, self-reliance and relationships.

2. Takes you out of your comfort zone
It can be a bit scary at first, but with each little step you take, you’ll find that travel begins to nurture new and positive sensations. You’ll look back and understand how travel experiences have helped you face challenges and succeed in going further.

3. Builds your creative genius
Once out of your comfort zone, you will find yourself in environments that challenge you to think differently, to problem solve in new ways and to ultimately build on your creative genius. It’s like tapping into your full potential – an extremely powerful tool.

4. Teaches you to accept the once unacceptable
If you allow yourself to embrace an open mind, travel will foster tolerance and encourage dialogue between you and someone you would not normally interact with. You can have a positive impact on the world simply by being open to and understanding of other people’s culture and perspectives.

5. Enables you to become a social butterfly
You’ll build up self-confidence that shines through, making it easier to meet and connect with others along the way. The more places you see, cultures you experience and languages you immerse yourself in, the easier it will be to find common ground with other individuals.

6. Allows you to groom new skills
Travel is the teacher of flexibility and adaptability, as well as of leadership and problem-solving skills. If you don’t already have these qualities, you will soon acquire them when you venture out to unfamiliar places.

7. Teaches you about yourself
Heard the term ‘taking yourself on a date?’ Well, travel is one of those rare things in life that allows you to spend a lot of time getting to know yourself. Wander the unfamiliar streets, river banks and alleyways, go to a movie, try a new restaurant, have a beer – whatever it is, just do it for you and you will soon learn to feel comfortable in your own skin.

“Travel gives you so many useful skills in your personal and professional life,” Kacey writes. “When you push your limits, you give yourself the chance to grow and change – to discover how strong you really are.”

Have you ever felt yourself ‘grow’ after travelling? What strengths have you nurtured or discovered while you were holidaying away from home?

Related articles:
Why you should go it alone
Apps for travelling solo
Travel conversation starters

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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