“It may be for the better, it may be for the worse - either way, travel changed my life forever.” ~Jinna Yang
“Yes yes! Travel has been so important to my own growth, confidence, and (in my case, since I have a chronic illness) healing.”
“When I booked that plane ticket and started researching for my trip, I was asking for a change in my life, and that’s exactly what I got. A new city, new foods, new language, new culture - I saw things and did things that I had never done before and it fuelled my desire to continue to see the world and experience new things.”
Remember when the summer vacations used to get over and every period in school used to go in discussing our family trips! How exciting school trips seemed to us? Daydreaming of going unofficially on a trip with friends after watching the famous road trip movies! The cliché Goa plan punches and the longingness for a change! How refreshing it seems even to visit grandparents!
Imagine living where you do and seeing just nearby places. Having no clue what “Battle of the Oranges” (Italian festival), “Bœuf bourguignon” (French dish), “Sagrada Familia” (Spanish Church), etc, is. You might have heard stories, though, but you get a chance to visit these places. How exciting it would seem to step into a new world! You might form images as you daydream about them, you might hear gossips about how the people are and about their cultures and with little knowledge and ability to imagine, you reach there, a place unknown yet super exciting to explore! You will definitely make, break, and live those notions, you had! You might end up exploring a new version of yourself too!
BENEFITS OF TRAVELING
Everyone carries notions, images, and perceptions about different places, food, lifestyle, culture, traditions, norms, etc. Upon visiting places, making use of all the senses our body has, one gets to live those notions, those beautiful imaginations! These experiences form perceptions and break them too, which is the most enriching part of travelling. After all ‘what you see, you believe’, right? It is then when people genuinely feel they have grown. These many little changes make the difference and give a new version of self.
According to psychology, travelling changes your state of mind. Travel disrupts your routine and introduces novelty to your brain, which improves cognition and helps reactivate reward circuits. According to Brent Crane’s article in The Atlantic, the cognitive flexibility helps stimulate neuron plasticity. This, in turn, can help generate creativity that persists even when travellers return home and helps with innovative idea generation at their jobs. Mindfulness techniques also recommend travelling because the stress-free, pleasurable memories help in coping with negative emotions.
We are also familiar with advice on moving on, dealing with stress, anxiety, etc. All of these will have one phrase in common, “get a change“, well practically it seems impossible to do because of life being the same way as it was yesterday! Nevertheless, think of travelling. It is a change of situation entirely and an amazing distraction. Then, there is definitely interpersonal growth due to travelling. When trying to adapt, empathise, imbibe, being tolerant, due to differences in culture, traditions and everything, you gain virtues. These can help negotiate better with real-life situations. It can also motivate to learn, follow, and seek out new things, which is growth in itself. Apart from the hectic monotonous routine, travelling might add purpose and goals to life temporarily. This is because of the gained virtues like appreciation; better mood; benefit to the intellect.
All of these result in interpersonal growth and helps to see the world with a different eye. The reason interpersonal growth initiated is due to the formation of new views about the world. Acceptance towards the differences in ways of living and most importantly appreciating and enjoying those gives a new eye to view the world.
“ARE YOU REALLY HAPPY OR JUST COMFORTABLE?”
Comfort zone is a behavioural space where activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimizes risk and stress. There is low anxiety, low-stress levels, and regular comfortability. So, if it so benefitting then why expend energy to move out of this zone? The answer is stagnation. This state reduces productivity, creativity, keeps away from self-exploration. Hence, low levels of anxiety and stress.
However, in order to maximise potential and performance, relative anxiety needs to be involved. This is an optimal anxiety level, which lies, outside the comfort zone. See the comfort zone as a space to realise and make the most out of the benefits gained upon leaving the zone. Anybody, who often pushes themselves out of their boundaries deals with changes in life in better ways. Also, upon repeating the activities that lead one out of comfort zone, adjusts comfort zone in its accordance with time.
To break out of the comfort zone, change is required. Taking little steps to do everyday things differently along with making and breaking habits can push your boundaries. We already know that one of the best ways of change comes through travel. Meeting new people, indulging in new activities, etc, but most importantly taking out time for self is not just a big deal but also a great way towards little changes. This is exactly why there are recommendations to travel when going through something upsetting. The goal is not to become an “adrenaline junkie” but just to learn, to learn about capabilities of self!
SOLO TRAVEL VS GROUP TRAVEL
For a first time traveller, the decision to travel solo or in-group could be a tough one. There is definitely no wrong or right here. One can try both, but there are a few pros and cons to them, which might or might not hold true in every situation.
In the case of solo travel, one is completely independent and is the sole decision maker. One can begin to appreciate the feeling of liberation that comes with it. Thus, there are time benefits that are, that you control how and how much you spend time. This seems like a gift because when in real life you get to decide how you spend your 24 hours! There are work-time limitations, limitations due to family, etc. Decisions are simpler in solo travelling. Then, the ability to enjoy own company is a boon and comes with self-confidence and self-worth. Therefore, it is a great opportunity for self-growth as well after all priorities change, virtues gained, and opinions alter, decision-making improves. Hence, you improve as a person. Solo travelling provides with a lot of space for self. There are no considerations and obligations due to other beings. Then, the chance to meet new people and make new friends increases when feeling lonely.
The cons of solo travelling would be it could be lonely. One can feel lonely even in-group travel but it becomes more of a challenge in solo travelling. Homesickness can happen at times like when eating alone or clicking pictures. One can then see this as an incentive to reach out to people and be acquainted. Solo travel can cost more due to inability to sharing the expenses. There could be safety concerns also.
On the other hand, group travel creates a sense of companionship and togetherness. Stronger friendship bonds form as you go through situations together be it with an unknown bunch of people or known friends. Chances of loneliness and homesickness are lower too. It cannot fade entirely, but having someone to help during tough times could be a blessing. Group travel could be cheaper due to sharing and splitting of money or discount offers on group travel. Safety concerns are less in group travel. Group tours can be fun!
However, there are cons to it too. Decision-making can become complicated due to various opinions, which can lead to arguments as well. Then, space for self is less due to a company.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both solo and group travel. The decision largely resides on how you are in your everyday life. Would you rather be alone or in a group? It is not big of a deal if travel duration is short but for any length of time, it could mean a lot of difference.
Lastly, travelling has its own share of pros and cons. However, it is worth giving a shot. The change and the experience remain for a lifetime. It is important to overcome the travelling fear and all those excuses we give to ourselves. Travelling is an opportunity to leave the old life behind and return to it with energy, ideas, tolerance and much more. For this escaping comfort zone is a necessity and for escaping comfort zone, travelling is the best option!