My friends at Contiki recently asked me to reflect on how travel has changed me as part of their “Power of Travel” campaign. After recently turning 30 I felt it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on the last few years and the last few adventures and I compiled this list of how travel has changed me.
Prior to traveling as often as I do and exploring as much as I do – I was always on the go. I never took the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers. Traveling, sometimes, can be challenging and some days absolutely nothing goes your way. As such, my traveling has taught me to appreciate the little things. Something as simple as an unexpected power outlet next to my train seat can make me as happy as a clam.
I’ve never been a very patient person. My dad has been telling me for 27+ years to “count to ten” before reacting. I’ve rarely even been patient enough to count for ten seconds. With travel, you have no choice but to be patient (unless you want to be angry and bitter, often). Plane delays, train cancellations, lost luggage, missed flights and more – there is so much that can go wrong during traveling that developing patience, especially for things that are completely out of your hands, is a necessity in order to remain sane.
Although I still struggle with the occasional bout of negativity – for the most part, since traveling, my life has seen a general uptick in positivity. I’ve witnessed people who have to wash their clothes in a river happier than people I know with laundry washing facilities in their own home. I’ve spoken to people who know that they will never have a chance to see anywhere in the world besides where they live – happier than people I know who travel via private planes.
This changed my life and my overall perspective.
While I love traveling, I also love my family – which can make me yearn for home on my consistent, solo travels. Before I started traveling I used to loathe being home. Not because I don’t love my friends and family but because I yearned for something more. I wanted to go out and experience what the world had to offer. Now that I have experienced the world (32 countries and counting) I appreciate my home more than ever.
While we’re on the topic of appreciation – travel has given me an ultimate gratitude that makes me appreciative of everything. Before I traveled as often as I do, I never stopped to thank the universe for the blessings, both big and small, in my life. My travels have given me a lust for life that has me waking up grateful for everything. For the air in my lungs and even the pillow under my head.
The most surprising way travel has changed me is that I now crave routine. I’ve been self-employed since 2010 and I never had much of a structure. I did what I needed to do that day in order to accomplish what I needed to accomplish and I kept it moving. Throwing travel into the mix of all of my work got very messy at first. I fell behind on work, I missed entire cities while traveling to catch up on work. And even worse, my health suffered.
Now, regardless if I’m home or traveling I have a routine. I wake up, take two hours to myself for coffee, yoga, breakfast and maybe a bit of reading or writing – if I’m traveling this time is often spent exploring the location I’m in during sunrise. I then spend three to five hours working (depending on the day/the projects I’m in the middle of). After that, I take a break! I enjoy some lunch and if I’m traveling – I go explore; if I’m home I get some errands done. I follow this up with another two to four hours of work (again depending on the day/projects I’m working on). I finish up work, enjoy some dinner and get ready to unwind.
All in all – travel has changed me for the better in more ways than one. How has travel changed you? Watch Jose as he embarks on his first ever international trip and as he says, “The unimaginable can be”.
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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by my friends at Contiki. My opinions, as always, remain my own.