The 7 Life Lessons Travel Teaches You

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(Photo: Instagram / @kristianirey)

Between movies like Before Sunrise and Eat, Pray, Love, the romance of travel has become increasingly prominent. Whether exotic places, stateside sights, or soul-searching spots, journeying off the beaten path boosts an array of lessons and educates even the wisest among us. No matter how far we head out, travel has the ability to not just expand our minds, but also enrich our souls.

Perception

Through the people you meet and places you see, travel keeps you modest amid the grand scheme of things. College has its benefits, but if you want to learn about people and cultures, there is nothing like strolling foreign neighborhoods. By exposing your mind to different cultures and mentalities, travel helps gain greater insight into the world. This proficiency not only produces appreciation and tolerance, but also broadens thoughts with sharper perspectives.

Solitude

If you choose to travel alone — good for you! The idea of solo travel induces a few concerns from friends and family, but studies have shown that traveling alone can be very beneficial to your mental and emotional health. Solo travel can be exciting as you gain greater confidence, take time to reflect and embrace your solitude. By depending on yourself, you can be impulsive on your journey and discover a new side of your abilities.

Fearlessness

Fearlessness and confidence are two of the greatest things we harness from being in an unknown place. Not only does traveling teach you to do things you’ve never dreamed of doing, but you get to overcome obstacles you thought insurmountable. When you don’t know where you are, you take initiative and learn about the locale. From picking up a language to engaging with locals, travel challenges you to orient yourself despite anxiety.

Adventure

One of the best parts of travel is the spontaneity. From trying bizarre cuisine to hopping on a bus to anywhere, there is no limit to how many new things you can try when you come out of your shell. Travel instills an unabashed sort of excitement that unleashes your adventurous side. By being open to trying new things in new places, you realize how much greater the world is when you live a little and defy your own limits.

Relationships

While there are plenty of stretches when you might be alone, the beauty of travel is that you can make friends anywhere and it often starts with a smile or, as Adele would say, a “hello.” Traveling abroad might bring about the struggle of language with locals, but a lot of the communication lies not in what you say, but how you say it and how you do what you do. By making a conscious effort to join celebrations or festivals, and showing genuine interest in the community, you open the door to a world of friendships.

Understanding

It’s been said that if you travel far enough, you meet yourself — and it’s true in every capacity. By helping you define personal values and uncover meaning, travel allows you to understand yourself better through unlocking the unconscious mind. Life can be hectic, often draining our capacity for creativity and dreaming. But when you are taken out of the daily routine, you’re able to notice things you never did. With this reality check, you can make a difference and unlock a better understanding of what you want from life.

Simplicity

Travel brightens your heart, allowing you to experience love in its purest form through the simplicities life has to offer. Seemingly insignificant moments like conversing with strangers or taking part in local traditions not only increases your affections for those who are different from you, but allows you to appreciate everyday pleasures you would otherwise take for granted. By opening your eyes to new ideas and people, travel has the power to release anxiety and stress while drawing more love into your life.