Changes that Come Through Traveling
Traveling is not only an experience. Traveling also has an effect on you. To what extent, changes of course, but change still occurs nonetheless. Mainly, I have found that the change depends on a person’s willingness to learn and overall difference between a person’s homeland and the place that one is traveling. Change is additionally affected by the environment or situation that a person is placed in when they travel. This can be a student, teacher, backpacker to business person, and experiences can be as different as night and day from one person to the next. For most who openly seek it, traveling will teach a person about the world, about others, and about themselves.
In my experience the most dramatic changes are:
- Change in politics– Traveling can drastically affect a person’s political views. Not that one necessarily has to change political parties or start being more proactive, but traveling seems to make you think about politics, especially as it may fit into the world system. Politics, whether we like it or not, runs our world. Everything is relevant to governments ever since we decided to adopt the state system just a few hundred years ago.
- Habits– In my experience, we never realize the meaning of little things until we have seen where they are important. For example, as many of us come from a nation of plenty, it is difficult to comprehend what it is like to not have or to find something scarce. My habits have completely changed from traveling. To illustrate this point I will tell a story.I remember hand washing my dishes once in my hostel as I was talking to a friend from South Africa. She noticed that I didn’t turn the water off between washing dishes and asked me if I knew how much water I was wasting in the process. As bad as it sounds, it had never occurred to me before. It took me seeing and hearing it to realize that perhaps my habits needed a second look. This later went on to affect me in my consciousness of wastefulness and use of resources among other things.
- Fine tunes your senses – Traveling fine tunes your senses. Specifically if you are traveling solo. The reason is because you are completely dependent on your own skill set. Essentially, you are responsible for your own ‘survival’. I have found that my ability to read people, navigate through new situations, and roll with the puncheshave all improved through backpacking and travel.
- Appreciation for what is important to you– Travelling gives you a new idea on what things that you enjoy and what you do not. You will realize quickly how you could easily live with far less, and how things that you thought were important, were not actually that important.
- Change or confirmation of religious belief– This can go both ways. The people who I typically meet are either agnostic or atheist. Personally, I believe that many of them tend to be on the agnostic side, or at least embrace the idea of coexisting. I have also met the devout. People who are extremely religious and uphold it while traveling. I think traveling can affect one to go either way for many reasons.
- Change in overall perspective (big picture) – Regardless of what we might think, our problems are not as significant as we think. Our lives are just a piece of a giant puzzle that is our world. Every person has a niche, but yet we are all affected by our connectedness. We realize quickly that the world is an interestingly complex matrix of biology. The world is really big, yet small at the same time. People are diverse, yet seek similar lives.
Traveling changes you. People who are willing and open to change will benefit most from the great lessons that the world has to teach us.
Tell me what you think!
I want to hear your thoughts on this. How has traveling changed you?
Subscribe to my blog for weekly updates on the latest from BackpackingDiplomacy.com.