All experiences that we have as humans affect the outcome of who we become. The more we experience, the more transformed we are over the course of our lifetime. Because travel involves opportunities that take us out of our comfort zone, the more we travel, the more chances we have to transform ourselves during our time here on earth.
For me, travel has been the basis of all of my changes. When I wasn’t able to travel, I made changes in my life that allowed me to begin traveling and with each trip I take that transformation continues. I’m not sure I can pinpoint the exact moment I changed, but with each trip I take, I see a significant difference in the person I am each time I return home.
There are changes in my actions and behaviors, my opinions on different subjects and the world, and a passion for the country that I have visited. I yearn to tell each person I meet about what I encountered while in a foreign country. Then it takes me months to acclimate to being back home, the occasionally bouts of reverse culture shock, and most of all, dealing with being homesick for a place thousands of miles away – the post-travel blues always hit me hard.
But, while all of those changes are important, I believe that the greatest transformation for me is realizing more about myself with each trip. It brings to mind A.A. Milne’s quote:
“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
This is what travel has made me realize about myself, and I believe that I feel this way mostly because I have traveled by myself many times over the years. Landing in a foreign country and having to get from point A to point B by yourself makes you realize just how brave, strong, and smart you actually are. There’s no one else to lean on, and because of this, you learn an awful lot about yourself.
With each and every trip, I return home a changed person, and I know that after Africa this summer that change will continue to take place. Usually, I arrive in a country alone, but later meet up with my cousin and friends. This time, however, I land in Zimbabwe alone, and it isn’t until three weeks later that I will finally meet up with someone. On top of this, I know that the culture and environments that I will be exposed to during those three weeks, and the week after, will forever make a mark on my life and change the person that I am.
But, isn’t that why we travel? To grow and develop. To break free from the mundane and routine. To challenge ourselves. That is why I travel, and with each trip, I look forward to the changes that will occur within me.
This post is part of BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge 2012.
Week fifteen’s topic: This week we’re talking about how travel can transform our lives. How has travel changed your life? Can you pinpoint a single moment – a day, an hour, a split second – when you knew that things had changed? How did that change impact your life, both on your travels and at home?