For me, it starts when I sit down post security.
No big suitcase or backpack- just the essentials. Comfy clothes on. Glass of wine in hand. Phone on flight mode, adventure imminent.
There isn’t anything dragging me back to the other side of that gate.
People often shy away from traveling in times of need due to the fact you can’t run away from problems.
It’s true. No matter how far you run, they will inevitably follow you. Whether it’s a tricky situation with a friend, money troubles or just total utter confusion what to do with your life, flying to the other side of the world is not going to solve it (trust me- I’ve tried).
But I do think it can help. And just because it doesn’t automatically solve your problems, doesn’t mean it won’t be the thing that eventually does…. because sometimes travel really is the best medicine. Here’s why:
- You can gain some perspective
When your stuck in the same routine day after day it is very easy for the smallest things to suddenly feel like the world is ending. But by removing yourself from that situation, you can gain perspective. I bet you those things that were worrying you seem so much smaller from a distance.
2. You can have a technology detox
I am a sucker for finding myself mindless scrawling through Instagram, wondering why I don’t have a thigh gap, a designer wardrobe or a life that seems like a permanent holiday. When I’m away though, I spend so much more time just looking around me.
Watching that sunset on the beach, trecking and exploring incredible jungle scenery or just sitting and having an actual conversation. Don’t get me wrong- I love Instagram and Whatsapp…but taking some time to zoom out and switch off is great for the brain.
Tip- don’t sign up for roaming abroad. Hell- don’t even bother with the Wifi password.
3. You remember what really matters
I can happily say I’d pick experience over material goods… This isn’t to say I’m not a sucker for a good handbag (which I am…) …. but just that I’ve realised I don’t need to chase and buy every shiny new thing that ‘promises to make my life a thousand times better‘.When you start to zoom out and not be led by material possessions, the way you choose to live your life changes. Chase things you love- not things you’re told you should love. I promise you’ll be happier for it.
4. You gain gratitude for the things you do have
One of the things that amazes me is when people who have so little, are so generous. We stayed in the most basic homestay in Bali, but we couldn’t sit down for five minutes without being offered Bali coffee, freshly cut mango or Pandan cake. Suddenly worrying about not being able to afford the latest iPhone seems ridiculous. You see just how lucky you are (and how much more generous you could be).
5. You can find your tribe (or at least escape the moaning)
Jim Rohn famously said we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. It’s no wonder then that other people’s petty arguments or draining views on life suddenly start to effect you so much, when you are surrounded by them day after day. Do yourself a favour and give yourself a break. Discover new people and friends in the most unlikely of places that make you feel alive and excited again (another reason why I think everyone should experience travelling alone!).
Make sure you keep those new found connections alive when you get home. While you may have gained some much needed perspective, the people you left behind may not have done. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Take what you’ve learnt and run with it.
6. Rethink old habits
Sometimes a physical change of place can give us the head space we need to find answers to the things we are unsure about. Use your new surroundings to help you rethink those things that no longer make you happy, and start to plan how you will change those aspects of your life on your return.
7. Discover new ways of living
Okay, so maybe the 5am chanting sessions aren’t something that worked for you- but trying new things whilst you’re away may help you discover new things you can work into your life back home- even if it is just the home made Pad Thai you learnt at a cooking class. Get involved in the local culture… at the very least it will make a good story.
8. Change leads to growth
I’m a huge believer that if we aren’t feeling some element of fear or challenge in our lives, we aren’t living to our full potential. Push yourself to do one thing that you haven’t done before out of fear. It may just be booking the flight itself….
9. And if worst comes to worst, and you gain nothing…. at least you had a laugh
Surely that’s gaining something in itself…