The train back from a trip away feels haunting and visceral. You walk home with a ghost of yourself- someone you were before the trip, someone you don’t quite relate to now. Back home, things feel strange, one step removed from where they used to be in your mind. The kitchen counter looks cluttered, and the bookshelves seem too full. When you go out walking in your local area, things look different; the parks are not exactly as you remember, the leaf-lined roads somehow different in their speckled complexion.
It can be surreal to return from travelling. We expect, in some way, that our experience of travelling will change us- and so it often does. But travel doesn’t change everyone.
Oftentimes, it’s those of us with a self-development practice who feel distinctly changed by travel. For many people, travel is just travel- a means to an end, in order to see more of the world, enjoy new places, and relax. When combined with an intentional self-development, travel can be eye-opening in a way which it otherwise isn’t by default.
What is it about the far-off places, sunny skies, rainstorms, hostel bunks, backpacks, ferries, which make us feel changed? How is it that some of us can be so greatly altered by travel, while others may not see it in the same way?
The answer: Perspective. Those of us who are changed by travel know that we may not be changed by every experience, but we equally have a vast perspective on even the smallest of our experiences. A ten minute conversation with a stranger on public transport may mean something entirely different to each of us based on our perspective, and our willingness to reflect. Our ability to have a broad perspective on our everyday life is inevitably heightened by travel but the consistency of this change is greatened by our ability to reflect on our experiences and process them on a daily basis.
The ultimate takeaway from this, then, is that we are in control of our personal change and development. While travel can be a pathway to this change and development, through the experiences and people we encounter, we are nonetheless able to access personal change whenever we choose, through our perspective and reflection on our everyday experiences.
How has travel changed you?
Featured image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash.