This article (edited version) was first published on ‘Travel Log Magazine’ an insert of Standard Newspaper on 5th September, 2019.
Have you ever walked on the streets and seen someone selling very random things like belts or pesticides and thought to yourself, ‘How often do people buy such stuff? How much does this person earn at the end of the day? Is it ever enough? Are they living a miserable life? Are they content?’
Therapists will almost always advise their clients to take a walk as often as possible. This is because there is a lot to contemplate about once you step out of your home. There is so much growth to be experienced in going out, travelling, exploring…there is always a lesson to be learnt.
Here are some wonderful ways in which travel leads to inner growth:
1. Travel is the break you desperately need. Everyone needs a time-out from the normal daily pattern. Sometimes we get too engrossed in the routine, we forget how many parts of ourselves die within us or talents that remain unexplored or magic that will never be unleashed. With traveling, you get to interact with nature, breath in fresh air, watch sunrises and sunsets and take a boat ride across the ocean. It is an opportunity to break from all the city noise, the traffic jams, the toxic air, the fast foods; an opportunity for new experiences. Indeed a monotonous life is not worth being called life.
“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” – Caskie Stinnett
2. It pushes one out of their comfort zone. Now if you’re used to one particular thing in your locality and it is not available at this particular instance, you are left with no choice but to explore the other options you have. It pushes you to talk to strangers, ask for directions, taste food you wouldn’t otherwise taste and maybe even participate in group activities with people who don’t even speak the same language as you do. At this point, you are not at total liberty or in control to have things your way. You come face to face with change. You’d have to make sacrifices and compromises. You’d have to comply and obey rules of Foreign land. As they say, when you go to Rome, you do what the Romans do.
“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
3. It humbles you. Honestly it does, especially when you go out of your typical scenarios and locality. You meet people with intriguing stories, people who’ve fought hard and survived, people who struggle to make ends meet, people stuck in very heart breaking situations. You meet children hawking, begging you to buy from their nuts or cookies, you meet very old and frail men and women seated in intense heat, trying to earn from their own sweat; people who create their own happiness with the little they have and who are content despite what they lack.
It also gives one a very different perspective on life and people. It is a great reminder for one to be grateful, to appreciate what they have and to remember that always, there is someone going through worse than you do or what your community does.
“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
4. Exploration enhances your creativity and story-telling abilities. Being around nature, different culture, different people opens up an entire other world for you. You get to learn new things, do new things and experience new, exhilarating, thrilling adventures. You get to hear other people’s stories, you get new ideas and all the moments bring forth to you many possibilities.
“Travelling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
5. An opportunity for introspection. One can’t possibly know everything about themselves if they stay all their lives stuck at the same place, same situations and with the same people. You know how they say if you want to truly know someone, you have to travel with them? This is why. You get to see their patience being tested, their immediate reactions, their excitement for trivial things, their mood during exhaustion, which foods they prefer or totally hate…Yet sometimes one doesn’t even know these things about themselves. It is not until they are in the situation itself, does one get to know who they truly are and what they feel deep inside. It makes one reflect and question themselves. This is the best chance for one to introspect and evaluate their emotions and behaviour.
“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” ― Rich Ridgeway
Without travelling, without exploring, one doesn’t really get to experience the world in all its beautiful colours. You just get to see it in the shades of black, white and grey only. You don’t get to have life-changing encounters, or embrace humanity or appreciate the little things in life. You don’t get to taste kindness and witness love and light in human form. You don’t get to be amazed by the creations, by our similarities and great differences and how they make this world a more wonderful place. As the Moorish proverb goes, ‘He who does not travel does not know the value of men.’
Do not let financial constraints cage you in limited space. You don’t necessarily have to fly to a location across the continent for you to spread your wings and explore. Even sitting by the ocean some blocks away from your home or exploring your own locality can be therapeutic enough. We all need a breather, a moment to reflect and introspect.
“To travel is to evolve.” – Pierre Bernardo