How Traveling The World Can Help You Love Yourself
What did Diane Lane’s character do after her husband left her for a much younger woman in “Under The Tuscan Sun?” She moved to Italy. What did Liz Gilbert do after her life fell apart in “Eat Pray Love?” She traveled through Italy, India, and Bali. What do thousands of college students do right after graduation and before embarking on life in the real world? They backpack through Europe. And why do these individuals do these things at these pivotal times in life? These times when they may be feeling the most insecure and frightened that they ever have? It’s because traveling the world, particularly by yourself, has a way of proving to you that you’re going to be okay—in fact, that you can get through just about anything. It shows you inner strengths you didn’t know you had. Here is how traveling the world can teach you to love yourself.
You’ll negotiate and bargain
When you travel to foreign countries, vendors may try to take advantage of you. Even if you’re not comfortable negotiating, you’ll just have to if you’re not going to lose all your money in the first week. You’ll learn, through the experience or negotiating on taxi and hotel prices, to know your worth and stand up for it. You’ll see that you won’t stand for being taken advantage of.
Only you set the agenda
You and only you choose which museums to visit, which hikes to go on and which old villages to explore. Perhaps you’ve never had this freedom before. Perhaps you never really had the chance to know what your soul is drawn to, because you always had to accommodate someone else. You might discover a passion and interest you didn’t know you had.
You can be anyone you want
Perhaps, for the first time in your life, you can be yourself. You aren’t surrounded by people who are used to you being a certain way, or need you to be a certain way to make room for their egos and demands. You don’t have to be around people who don’t allow you to be yourself, and for that reason, you may finally be yourself for the first time.
You cannot be codependent
If you struggle with codependency issues, those will just have to go out the window. You won’t always have someone to run with you to the pharmacy, sit next to you on the train or go with you to the show when you travel. If you want to experience things, most of the time, you’ll just have to go alone, and you’ll realize it wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was awesome.
You’ll discover the friends you actually want
So much of our social circle is forced upon us due to family, work, or just…history. Some people are around because they’ve been around for a long time. When you travel the world alone, you don’t need to make any friends you don’t want to make. You can discover what personality types you’re drawn to, when you don’t feel pressure to hang out with certain people.
You’ll become a master at handling surprises
Almost every day, something will go wrong. But you’ll learn not to see it as “wrong” and rather as “unexpected.” You’ll learn how to swiftly accommodate for surprises and last minute changes, and how to adjust your mindset to be happy, even when things didn’t go as planned.
Sometimes, you’ll be terribly lonely
You’ll have moments when you feel terribly lonely. It may have been days since you’ve spoken to someone for more than 10 minutes at a time. You’ll be far from things and people with whom you’re familiar. And then…you’ll wake up and realize you survived. Being lonely didn’t kill you. You’ll remember that next time you consider letting the wrong people into your life, all because you’re lonely.
You’ll learn to love spontaneity
The majority of your days will lend themselves to spontaneity. You cannot possibly plan every day, down to the hour, when you’re traveling. And you’ll learn to love spontaneity. You’ll leave more room for it in your life, when you get home, rather than clinging to routines and schedules.
You don’t need to satisfy anyone else
You can nap when you want, eat where you want, move at the pace you want and be in whatever mood you want to be in. You don’t need to adjust your behavior to make someone else happy. If you can be a bit of a doormat in your relationships, this can be a great way to break you out of that pattern.
You’ll treat yourself
Every day you’ll have the chance to treat yourself. You’ll treat yourself to this gondola ride, to that adorable sundress, to this cone of ice cream. You’ll realize that you should treat yourself, all of the time! Why don’t you do this more at home? Treating yourself shouldn’t be reserved for travel.
You’ll pick and choose cultural traditions
You’ll learn cultural traditions that you’d like to bring home with you. Whether there’s a type of dance class you’d like to get into when you get home, or you’d simply like to eat dinner outdoors more, you’ll pick up on little cultural habits that really work for you.
Sometimes, you’ll feel afraid
Sometimes, you’ll feel afraid. You may become lost. You may lose your room key when the concierge has gone home for the night. You’ll feel completely unhinged. And again…you’ll survive. You’ll feel so much stronger for it.
You’ll be really, really happy
You’ll have moments when you’re happier than you’ve ever been. Because of those, you’ll learn to recognize what people and experiences don’t make you feel that way. And you’ll stay away from them.
You’ll feel ready to take on anything
You’ll never say no to an opportunity or experience again because you feel unprepared, or unfamiliar. When you travel, you constantly do things you don’t feel prepared for and things you aren’t familiar with and you realize it all works out.
You’ll learn to let go of things
You can’t bring your dumbbells, your full array of makeup, or even all of your electronic devices when you travel the world. Things you thought you couldn’t live without—you’ll realize you can live without them just fine, and are even happier that way.