Transformational travel has recently taken the world by storm, with its simple yet novice ideas. It is not very different from normal travelling, with the only difference being that said ideas are incorporated into your travelling. It can be defined as “intentionally traveling to stretch, learn, and grow into new ways of being and engaging with the
World.” In simpler words, it is travelling with awareness. Awareness of your intentions and emotions. It emphasises on things that are generally not paid attention to – the “why” and “how” of travelling, rather than the “what” and “where” of it.
To call me an avid traveller would be an understatement. I have been travelling since 2004, and have travelled to 34 countries, but I don’t want to stop there. I want more of the bliss that is travelling. I want to visit every country in the world.
Travelling so much has not made the process any more mundane for me. If anything, it has gotten better over the years. Every single trip has affected me in a different way. Each one had so much to offer. Whether it be the food, the culture, or even the weather. There are so many aspects to the change that travel can bring about in me.
Here are six ways in which travel has changed me.
Travel has helped me overcome the fear of the unknown.
My husband and I entailed on a trip that we did not give an end date. We made sure not to limit ourselves to time or space, and embraced the rush of the unknown. After exploring South East Asia, we took a flight from Bali, Indonesia to Perth, Australia. We did not want to stop our adventure just yet. From Perth, we took a cheap campervan and drove all the way to Sydney, right across the Nullarbor desert. This decision was taken with no certainty behind it. Our phones barely had any connectivity, we had no knowledge on changing tyres in case they got punctured – it was a complete shot in the dark. But this did not scare us as much as it should have. If anything, it thrilled us. Adrenaline was our most reliable friend throughout this journey. And this was just the first night.
On our second night, we drove 70 kms across a national park to catch a sunset. We ended up in a campside that was essentially deserted, overlooking the ocean. One wrong turn brought us there. The whole experience of having stumbled upon such a beautiful sight was beyond us. The shore had sand that was white. If that wasn’t amazing enough, we found out that the bay was in fact a nursing school for mother whales and baby whales! Every twist and turn of this trip was truly delightful.
Travel taught me how to live solo.
A solo trip to Spain was what it took for me to realise how beautiful solitude is. It was a trip that my parents swore I wouldn’t survive. I did more than just survive! 5 weeks alone in Europe taught me how to make killer seafood and paella rice, how to appreciate music and local dance forms (flamenco music made my days lighter), and how happy being alone can be. Being alone does not have to mean loneliness. If anything, it can mean freedom. It allows you to live a life that is unhampered by well-meaning suggestions and subconscious kindness.
Travel has widened my horizons.
On the Spain trip I mentioned earlier, I went to visit the Pyrenees mountains that grace the border between France and Spain. Across the Pyrenees was a toy train, which was a yellow train with four compartments that travelled all along the canyons of the Pyrenees. With all my luggage packed up in a hotel room in Barcelona, I found myself occupying a whole compartment of this yellow train by myself. Out the window I could see snow pour down. I had anticipated this, as I was ready, with all of my winter gear on. There I sat, through all six stops made by the train, with no food in my stomach, and no hotel booking in sight. Not a soul on the street, and yet, I was able to find a place in Bourg-Madame, where I booked a room, albeit expensive. I walked into a pub that the people at the hotel recommended, only to be told that this pub was on the exact border between France and Spain. That was when I came to another realisation – without all of the mishaps that had taken place earlier, I would never have reached this pub that happened to be right on the border between these two countries. This adventure remains one of my most teaching moments!
Travel has changed my perspective.
Sometimes, it may take a breathtaking sight such as the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina, to humble you and put you in your place. Seeing things as beautiful as that glacier makes you realise the magnitude of the world you live in. It makes you understand that in the grand scheme of things, you really are just an insignificant speck. All your woes and begones exist in the same universe as this breathtaking sight you are seeing. And it makes you feel lucky to have ever existed. It also makes you want to make sure the planet lives to see another day, as it also makes you realise that the existence of such sights are in your hands. This awareness caused me to be careful with the resources I use and more understanding of the things I could to make the world a better place.
Travel has made me appreciate other cultures and religions.
Seeing people in so many different scenarios, attires, and cultures has made me realise over and over again that we are all in fact just humans. We are all really the same people in different geographical locations, allowing for different circumstances that make us feel so divided. The experience of travelling lets you view the world with a lens of purity and equality. This is another aspect of travelling that can truly humble you.
Travel has helped appreciate my family more than ever before.
This aspect is governed by the concept of distance making the heart grow fonder. The world may have everything to offer, but it can not offer you the warmth of your kith and kin. However, sometimes we tend to forget how important their love for you can be. And maybe a little time away from your loved ones can fix that! It also helps that this time away is usually filled with adventure and exploration. Despite everything you may experience on your journey, nothing will ever compare to the experience of coming back home to your family and catching up with them.
From all these aspects that have changed me irrevocably, my one takeaway has got to be that you should invest in travelling. If you have an opportunity and the resources to travel, take it wholeheartedly. It will open your eyes and teach you how to be. It may even teach you who you are beyond the restraints of everyday life.