Traveling is great. It’s not always glamorous – you could return with a jellyfish sting or no wallet – but you’ll have an unforgettable experience and grow as a person.
Here are eight ways how:
1. Learn patience
Traveling will test your limits. Your train might be delayed or even cancelled and waiting in line for the Louvre may leave you feeling like you’ve aged five years. Either way, you’ll learn to be more patient, whether you like it or not.
2. Accept cultural shock
It will happen. Although to what degree will differ for everyone. In 2006, the BBC reported that 12 Japanese tourists a year suffer from Paris syndrome, a nervous breakdown associated with the culture shock of visiting Paris for the first time. Supposedly, the tourists become disillusioned when their romantic ideas about the iconic city are dashed by the reality of it. What? You mean, there are actually homeless people, strikes and body odor on the metro? YES! Enjoy.
3. Test your relationship
Whether you are traveling with a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend or even a dog, the relationship will be tested. Traveling can be stressful and everyone will handle the challenge differently. This is the break it or make it moment: you will either come back stronger or probably never speak to each other. Ever. Again.
4. Make new friends
Especially if you are traveling alone. Being away from home, you’ll be surrounded by strangers and can end up making friends even in the most unlikely of places: your hostel, your taxi or a kebab stand. Embrace it; they might just end up becoming life-long friends.
5. Change your perspective
Maybe you had a certain perspective or view on life or a given culture. This can change. It most probably will. Or, it will confirm your beliefs and you’ll understand yourself better. Final outcome: growth! (see?)
6. Adapt to change
The only constant is change. Keep this in mind for life and travel, especially if, say, an Icelandic volcano decides to erupt and mess up air traffic for weeks. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Eyjafjallajökull!) The better you prepare, the better you’ll be able to handle curveballs life will inevitably throw at you.
7. Reconsider your attachment to things
This goes along with number six, as sometimes what you consider valuable may not always be available. So when your hair straightener blows up since it was the wrong voltage, for instance, you might realize that your hair straightener isn’t actually that important, and rock some Lion King hair instead.
8. Appreciate more
They say you never appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Truth! So leaving your most precious items for a time will only allow you to return with a more deeper appreciation for them. So yes, after all the travels, you can go back to perfectly coiffed hair.
Although traveling won’t change you overnight or make you into an entirely different person, it does help you grow. The more you travel, the more you will grow and learn about yourself.
Conclusion? Never stop exploring.