Posted on June 21, 2017
How Travel Has Changed Me
The more I travel, the better I know myself. I have always been someone who writes in journals and does self reflections at the end of the year to know if I am making progress in what I want to do in my life. We have been travleling for a year! I am really proud of myself. I broke through many mental barriers in order to accomplish this. In doing so, I am stronger in my mind and my conviction that anything is possible. It has changed me in three remarkable ways.
1. I am more open-
I always thought I was an open minded person. I have always liked talking to people from other countries and backgrounds. In the past, I was guarded about people who may look like me or who held different religious views than mine. Traveling, those ideas have been challenged. I realize many of the prejudices that I held were taught by people who learned their prejudice from someone else. Some were truly well meaning. Some were ignorant. Some just didn’t know any better.
Travel has forced me to interact with so many people who are the exact type of person I was warned against. People from different economic backgrounds, people from different religions and different experiences have all crossed my path. I have learned that my prejudices hold no weight. Interacting with people on my journey teaches me more than listening to people who tell me what those people are like. I prefer the interaction. I am glad my mind has been truly opened.
2. I am more assertive-
All my life, I have been prone to observe rather than participate. I have been passive about confronting people who demand that work be completed in an inefficient manner. I have stayed silent when confronted verbally. I prefer to look as if I agree and do my own thing.
Since traveling, especially since we stayed in the homes of so many families, I have found my voice. My voice no longer consist of only my journal and a pen. My voice is my spoken word. And it has power!
Before being continually on the road, our vacations helped me to speak out a bit more. I found myself being the one to speak when a fight broke out on the subway. I was the one who spoke up to the crazy man talking loudly in the post office line. I was the one who said the plan for my classroom would not be effective and I wanted a different room. But those were rare occasions. Afterwards I would think to myself “Where did that come from?” Those words seemed to pop out of my mouth from an unknown place.
Now, I have been pushed by the universe to stand up for myself and others on many occasions. Instead of saying, “It’s not my problem”. I think of the one who is watching, Bean. I want Bean to speak up against injustice, even if it is only an impatient person cutting in front of all the exhausted moms and children in an extremely long customs line.
Time after time, I have been presented with situations where I could have kept my head down and ignored what was being said to me, what was being done to us or others and I have chosen to take that time to speak. Speaking up has been empowering. If I can speak, I can encourage others to speak. I can make a small change in the world for the better. I am thankful I have a voice and, finally, I use my voice.
3. I am more flexible-
I am a person of lists; who is on time; who keeps her promises. I can be stiff and proper, concerned with what image I am presenting to the world. Traveling has helped me to knock that perfectionist off her throne in my head.
Traveling, I lose control of outside forces. My plane may be late. My train may be late. I may lose internet access, even though it was working a minute ago. Airbnb hosts may forget to give me the access code so that I can get into the apartment I rented. Visa paperwork that takes months to complete, museums being closed when the website says they are open, the list goes on and I adjust!
I have learned to go with the flow. I relax into the moment and explore my options. I know that the moment will pass and I will be able to enjoy new experiences in time. I have no need to get upset at what happens outside of me, because it will pass.
Traveling has taught me much. It has changed me much. The most important thing that it has taught me is that I have a lot more to learn. I welcome that opportunity. If I feel that I know everything about certain subjects, travel teaches me that the world is my school. As long as I am willing to learn, I will continue to learn. I accept the way travel changes me and rejoice that I will continue to grow!