More and more people are doing it. Travelling, that is! The world is becoming smaller as we all begin to explore new corners of the earth. Today, there are no barriers to travel. Age is no barrier. Awesome agencies cater for all ages. All budgets are catered for, from couch surfing to 5-star luxury resorts, and everything in between. And it doesn’t matter where you want to visit or what you want to see or do. It’s out there somewhere on the map.
So, what is it about travel that you love, besides the laughs, tackling the unknown and experiencing the new? What is it that you look forward to the most? What is it that you bring home with you from your travels? And, from another perspective, how does travel boost your self-confidence, create new choices and ensure change?
A travel agency asked its readers some years ago to give in one sentence why they liked to travel. The reasons given were so very inspirational, in most cases putting into words what so many of us think. I love to travel because….
… it makes you fall in love with your life
… there is always something new to taste
… you see things in awe and make memories
… it gives you the freedom to be yourself
… it opens your eyes to a glowing world
… it restores hope where humanity causes doubt
… it makes you appreciate your blessings, especially the gift of health
… it allows you to see life through a unique lens and challenge your concept of conventional
… it broadens the mind and feeds the soul
… it opens your eyes to ways of life you would never know otherwise
For me #8 hits the button. Travel for me has absolutely blown my view of the world sky high and continues to do so. I no longer take things I have for granted, appreciating the very little things in my life, even down to being able to drink clean water and shower daily! I no longer believe there is one right way of doing things. There are so many shades of grey out there, so many roads to the same destination. I have become more patient with how things roll (well most of the time, this one is still a work in progress), learning how to go with the flow more than control the flow!
When you travel, you begin to realize how insignificant many of the small every day trivial matters that you stressed about previously actually are, and how we so easily get caught up in sweating the small stuff. You learn how people view your country as a whole and it challenges you to take a harder look at your own personal stance in many areas of life. I would love to see a day when every child, as part of their education, got a chance to experience a whole new culture, create a whole new perspective of the world from a young age. The world I believe would be a very different place.
And so, here we are today. Michael and I are planning a quick trip to Harbin at Christmas. I love getting away and seeing new places. Specifically, here are three things I am looking forward to for this Harbin trip:
- Slowing Down – I love to travel as it gives me space away from the noise of must do, have to commitments and obligations of every day life. I can’t say I slow right down. When we travel, I fit in as many things as I can and my brain is like a sponge wanting to take in every sight, sound, smell, taste of the area we are visiting. I see Harbin being no different. We have chosen it simply because it is so very different to anywhere we have been before. Just the temperature will be a challenge, with the average daily high and low being forecast at -9 and -20 degrees Celsius.
- Less is More – While “doing” less, we will experience so much more. I love to travel to experience more, create more connections, more conversations, with more people from more countries, learning more about different cultures, learning more about me in a completely different world. It is so much fun being surrounded by people of completely different lives, interests and beliefs. I love that my life can be both challenged and enriched by meeting different people, experiencing new things, even if only for a moment in time. I have created a challenge for myself on this trip to create more selfies and capture the moments, something I have not been very good at in the past.
- Life’s Beauty – I am so not a winter person, so this trip will in itself push me out of my comfort zone. I prefer islands, sunshine and pool-bars. I remember so clearly arriving in Nanjing close to four years ago from a beautiful summer holiday in Bali to temperatures well below and snow! I cried the first week! And here we are, heading into one of the coldest regions of the world for our holiday. Totally bizarre and I can’t wait! Five days in what has been described as “winter wonderland” magic. Snow and ice sculpturing to Siberian tigers in their natural habitat, there will be so many new things for us to share with our family and friends on return (and probably bore them to tears).
Of more interest to me, what I am totally looking forward to on this trip, are all those things I haven’t planned for, things I can’t plan for, things that I know will go wrong, the unexpected events or meetings, the tricky situations I know we will find ourselves in. I love the uncertainty of travel. So many things can come from these unexpected turns in the journey! I don’t think I have ever had a trip go totally to plan and it is in these times that you discover so many things, usually about yourself, about your relationship with whom you are traveling with, about your expectations, your fears and your resourcefulness! I love the fact that you can take the wrong turn, look stupid, say something embarrassing in a different language and the odds are good that you will never, ever see that same person or people ever again. It’s a peculiar type of freedom!
Traveling forces you to be a beginner again. No matter how educated, competent or confident you might be at home, traveling reduces you to someone who is dependent on your own wits and to some extent, the kindness of strangers. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more you accept the challenge of adventure and embrace the unfamiliar, the more your confidence will grow, not only in your ability to navigate a new place but more importantly in yourself and your capacity to grow as a person.
So, as the end of the year approaches and holidays become the focus for many of us, think of ways you can improve your self-confidence by accepting the challenges of travel and adventure. Don’t shy away from situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Look for new opportunities. Ask questions. Ask for help. Take the scenic route. Step out of that 5-star comfort (well for a moment).
With every trip, you will feel more and more confident about who you are and your abilities to cope with anything life throws your way. Then, use the time to make wonderful memories and have a whole lot of fun.
If you are ready to invest in yourself, book a free 20-minute springboard session with me to see how I can help you build your confidence, create change and begin living the life you desire. Join my group – Quantum Leap for Women for daily inspiration.