Travel

Starting my big trip: 5 things traveling does for you

I’ve started my big adventure!  I am currently on a plane headed towards Dublin, Ireland.  So exciting!

I admit to being a little nervous about this trip.  It is going to be an absolute whirlwind tour of europe and it’s going to be physically exhausting.  I’m literally photographing weddings and couple sessions in eight different countries.  EIGHT.  Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Belgium, Iceland, Denmark, Greece and Italy.

I am going to be exhausted lol.

It will be amazing though.  I wish more people would get out and travel.  Americans travel surprisingly little.  I heard statistics that only 30% of americans even have a passport and only 15% of those travel outside North America.  That’s such a tiny percentage when travel does so much for you.

1. Travel gives you confidence

Travel is tough.  It really is.  I mean just packing your bags for a long trip can be horrendous lol.  I think I packed and unpacked and repacked my bag about 20 times. And then the traffic to Los Angeles airport was so bad it took hooourrrrssss to get there.

But seriously, when you travel, especially travel on your own, there’s so many obstacles and new things you have to figure out.  How do you use the train system?  How do you call a cab?  How do you get from one place to another?  What do you do when you’re lost?  How do you communicate with someone who speaks a different language?  How do you get your flip flops back from the monkey that stole them?  All these things are part of the excitement and craziness of traveling.

I was seriously stressed out prior to this trip thinking of how difficult it was going to be traveling to eight different countries in less than a month.  But at the same time I know it’s going to be amazing and I am going to be so proud of myself when I finish it.

Self esteem comes through accomplishment and there is no greater accomplishment than traveling the world.

2.  Travel makes you see the world differently

People used to say that traveling to europe made you ‘worldly.’  They were right.  Traveling opens your eyes to how big and diverse the world is.  You meet and befriend so many new people and so many different kinds of people.  I once sat and had a conversation with a romanian gypsy who was begging in front of a church.

Now I will admit that there’s two types of travelers:  tourists and travelers.  Don’t be a tourist.  These are the people who just go and see all the famous sites. They bungle around with their hawaiian shirts, standing out and never becoming part of the culture.  Travelers try to go native. They try to understand the culture and experience the normal life of the people.  Tourists can travel and never change.  Travelers return a different person.

3. Travel makes you love your own culture

I never felt so American as when I traveled lol.  And I never loved America as much as when I traveled.  It’s funny because travel is all about other countries, but the differences are never as evident as when you immerse yourself in another culture.  There are good and bad things about every culture and traveling helps you to see that clearly.   I never appreciated American culture as much as when I travel.

4. Travel makes you love other cultures too

Having said that, I also have fallen in love with other cultures.  Just like my own culture, there are pros and cons.  I love Ireland’s passion for music and dance.  I hate that they often tear each other down for being “too educated.”  Nothing is perfect, but it is all wonderful and exciting.

5. Travel helps you grow

Most of all, travel makes you become a better person.  You grow in confidence, knowledge, courage, communication, creativity and joy.  I don’t think anything in life is as effecting at creating personal growth as travel.  And certainly nothing is as enjoyable.

I had a lot of fears going into such an intensive trip as the one I’m undertaking now, but at the end of the day I now that it is going to shape me and improve me.  We’re hitting turbulence at the moment and I am trying to pretend it’s not freaking me out.  All the plane trips I’ve been on and this is the first time I’ve ever been through turbulence.  Assuming I come out of it alive, I’m going to be just a slightly braver, better person.  And that’s really what the world needs.

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