If you want to travel in a more meaningful way, look no further. Looking at where you travel is not as important as HOW you travel. Keep that in mind as you plan your next trip. Traveling for self growth means looking within, using travel as a tool for inner transformation. These are just a handful of ideas to take with you. May your travels show you the path to the truest, most beautiful, most alive version of yourself.
Determine your motivation BEFORE you go
Finding your ‘why’ is crucial. Getting clear on this will take slowing down enough to listen. The first step of the journey is knowing why you’ve decided to leave the familiar and actually set out for your adventure. Get quiet and look within for answers. Some questions you can ask yourself to find your why include:
- What is the deeper reason behind my motivation for going on this trip?
- What am I hoping to learn about myself?
- Why now? Why this specific place/experience?
Take a deep dive into all things history and culture of your destination
Research as much as you can before your trip. Read about the literature, music, and history that has influenced and shaped the place so that when you arrive, you will already have a more meaningful connection to where you are. For example, if you’re going to Spain, study the famous artists like Picasso, Dali, and Goya. Watch flamenco shows and learn about the history of flamenco. Make a list of the tapas you’re dying to try. Read about the Spanish Civil War or how life was in Granada when the city was under Moorish rule in the 1400s. The richness of your research will pay off when you experience the destination firsthand!
Meditation and mindfulness/awareness practices will bring you more clarity and insight, leading to powerful transformation on your travels. These practices will change your life for the better. Download Headspace if you’ve never practiced meditation before. It’s a great app for beginners!
Get in nature
Take time to reconnect with nature on your trip. Leave time for hikes. Wander through the rainforest. Explore a local botanical garden. Spending time in nature can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, activate parasympathetic nervous system, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.
Setting intentions is the practice of shifting your focus to how you show up. Instead of focusing on doing and accomplishing, which is the process of setting goals, focus on BEING. Bringing intentionality to your trip puts more energy on the way you want to show up and can be an extremely powerful practice!
Meet & converse with locals
Get advice from locals on where to dine. Ask them what they love most about their city. When you strike up conversations by using a phrase or two in the local language, you open yourself up to learning about your destination through the eyes of a local. I’ve been invited to local live music shows, into people’s houses for a home-cooked meal, been taught about how to make a local dish, and much more all from being open to the kindness of strangers. The world is kind if you see it that way, and trusting that kindness will bring more of it your way.
Traveling for self growth is a mindset, setting out on an adventure with purpose and intentionality. With COVID-19 forcing us to spend more time with ourselves, isolated from the outside world, I believe many of us have learned that there are some areas of our life that we want to upgrade.
Often when we are in our daily routine, it’s not as easy to break out of habits and make meaningful and lasting change in our lives. That’s where traveling for self growth comes into play. This fresh start, a metaphorical reset button, is exactly what we need at times.