A Life Engaged

Why Travel is Important for Personal Development

Okay, so we all know how important career growth is. It’s what most people that work in the professional world focus on. We’re certainly not trying to discount that. But it is arguably just as (if not more so!) important to focus inward on personal development and growth. Some people accomplish this through pursuit of their favorite hobbies. Props to you if you seek personal growth through passionate activities in your everyday life. For the rest of us, we often get caught up in the hamster wheel and lose sight of our personal goals.

After quitting our jobs to travel for 5 months, we realized that traveling had a bigger impact on our personal development than we ever had imagined. While personal development was one of our primary goals for the trip, we never expected to experience the changes we encountered. We wanted to take time away from our daily lives including work, family, friends and all influences to see who we truly were. Would we be the same people in a different environment? It was important for us to see how we changed (or didn’t change) in a place far away from our daily social pressures. Traveling is important to personal growth in so many ways, including a few we’ll touch on here.

Travel Allows You to Time to Self-Reflect

Something about being away from your day-to-day allows you the ability to set the refresh button. I often feel a sense of peace when my computer tells me I have to restart it. It forces me to close everything down and start over. That’s sort of what travel allows you to do as well. It gives you the opportunity to put away all of your to-do lists. It allows you the time to be alone with your thoughts rather than rushing to the gym after work followed by a microwave meal and two hours of TV only to do it all over again the next day. Travel allows you to relax and turn inward to reflect on your life.

Travel Opens Your Mind

Okay, so if you live in Chicago, a weekend trip to New York is not necessarily going to be earth shattering, but it’s a start. For us, traveling both internationally and domestically has had a huge impact on our outlook on life.

Traveling to a place with a different culture than your home does something to you that is almost unexplainable. One thing is true – it opens your mind. It opens your mind to new ways of life. To new people. New religions. New food. Traveling is an enriching experience, leaving you much richer and wiser because of it.

Travel Makes You Reconsider Being an Asshole

We have all seen those stereotypical travelers in our hometown, clogging up our streets and slowing down lines. When you are purchasing your ticket for your daily commute on the train, it can be very easy to get the urge to ring the neck of the tourist bumbling through the help menu in front of you. When you experience that sense of confusion in a foreign environment, you immediately feel for that stereotypical traveler. That traveler is now you. Maybe next time you’ll take a few minutes to help the fumbling guy in front of you.

Travel Gives You Perspective

This may sound like an obvious one, but it is so true. There is so much out there we have yet to understand, especially what is changed through the filtered lens of the media. Take a trip to Thailand and see the reality of the hundreds of women selling sex just to get by. Speak with locals in Hungary and learn firsthand about attitudes towards the Syrian refugees before it’s blasted all over the international news. You genuinely learn so much about world politics, economy and culture from those living it day in and day out. It really makes you realize how incredibly fortunate you are. We live in a bubble sometimes. It can be a freaking awesome bubble, but personal growth often comes from gaining perspective outside that bubble.

Travel Gives You New Friends

Apart from meeting awesome locals, you’ll also meet like-minded travellers. We’ve met some people traveling that we’ve already reconnected with on separate trips. We met a rad chick in Thailand and then stayed with her just a few months later as we road tripped through Salt Lake City. We fell in love with a gal from Denver when we volunteered with her in Hungary. A few months later, she welcomed us with open arms and showed us around her awesome city. Being out of your comfort zone allows you to connect with people that have similar interests and outlooks on life.

Travelling provides you with the perfect opportunity to truly engage in life. These are just a few ways that traveling has changed us for the better. There are TONS of ways that traveling contributes to your overall personal development.

Has travel changed your mindset? Has it provided you personal growth? Let us know how in the comments below.