Traveling may not be what you thought it would be, even though people say that travel is the best thing you can do.
So... You've traveled throughout Europe. You've been to The UK. You've traveled to South America. You think of yourself as a 'seasoned' traveler. But something isn't right.
And you can't quite put your finger on it.
Do you ignore your intuition?
Or is it that, really, travel has consequences [thus bursting your happy travel bubble], and you weren't prepared to deal with them?
Top Consequences of Travel
Mark Twain is often quoted as saying, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
The fact is that travel has consequences. Keep reading to find out what they are and if you identify with one or all of them.
1. Traveling changes your perspectives.
You may have left home a die-hard Democrat but that may not be the case once you return home from traveling. If you're an American who's traveled to other countries or throughout the U.S., you may have discovered that your political lines are now blurred. You may not agree with your political party and this scares you. Why? Because if you voice your new found perspectives and opinions, your family and friends may not agree with you. In fact, they may become downright hostile toward you. The only thing you can do is honor the way you feel and respect the opinions of others. If they don't respect yours, you may reconsider your relationships.
2. Traveling forces you out of your comfort zone.
You may have left home nervous and scared, especially if you traveled alone. Traveling forced you to get out of your comfort zone in many ways. You were forced to learn or strengthen your negotiation skills. You may have been forced to start conversations with complete strangers. Now that you've conquered your fears, now what? Once you return home, you may not be able to relate to those around you. You may roll your eyes at a friend who says she wants to change careers but is too afraid to take action. Keep in mind that everyone is doing their best. Encourage people instead of getting annoyed with them.
3. Traveling shows you the beauty of earth.
You may have climbed the Matterhorn or hiked the Grand Canyon and realized that the earth is a precious jewel that is ours to care for. Now that you're back home, you're most likely thinking about your carbon foot print and what you can do to reduce it. Perhaps you'll volunteer with an environmental and conservation group or you may step up your recycling efforts. Whatever you do, accept that you've transformed into a tree hugging, earth loving person. If those around you don't like it, that's okay. They don't have to approve of everything you do. Live and let live.
4. Traveling opens you up to new people.
You may arrive home and think, "Who are these people?" Because you've traveled to 10 different countries and learned about different cultures and spoken multiple languages, your home city, state, or province may not resonate with you anymore. You may think it's plain and boring and not advanced. You can either stay where you're at or move. Get out the map, again, and research areas that offer amenities you want, i.e., a variety of museums and restaurants where you can meet like-minded individuals. If the place you live in doesn't feel right to you, it's time to pack your bags and move somewhere else. It's that easy.
5. Traveling makes you question your beliefs and thoughts.
You may have left home with a set of beliefs and thoughts handed to you by your family, teachers, co-workers, friends, and anyone else who's influenced your life up until this point. Now that you've put your backpack away and got back into the groove of things, you may be questioning what you believe and think. This isn't surprising since travel expands your mind and senses. The only thing you can do is continue to question and change your beliefs and thoughts. Don't stress about it! If you no longer think this or that, let it go. You don't have to rush the process.
6. Traveling shines a spotlight upon your family and current circle of friends.
You may look at your family and circle of friends differently. You may notice how they're not risk takers. You may realize that they have never traveled outside of their front yard and back yard. When family seems obsolete, remember that they love you. While living in the same city, state, or country as your family may not be ideal for you, keep in mind how they've always supported you. The same goes for your friends too. If you must break off friendships, be gentle. You don't have to be rude. Explain that it's time for you to move on and you're not the same person anymore. Hopefully, your friends will understand. They may even feel the same way as you do.
7. Traveling upgrades you to a higher level.
You may not be at the same level at others. What the heck does that mean? It means that during your travels, you realized that you do have control over your life choices. You can speak up for yourself when you don't want to do something. You may no longer buy into the "woe is me attitude" of those around you. Be who you are and allow others to be who they are. Accept your new level of consciousness and send love to those around you who may still be wallowing in their stories. Remember, everyone has a story. It's up to you to write it and/or move onto the next chapter or book.
What To Do When You Stop Traveling
Picture arriving home from your latest travel destination, but this time you're less anxious than usual. You walk calmly through the airport.
You don't shudder as you arrive in the baggage claim area; you actually look forward to getting your luggage (packed with souvenirs) because it means you've accepted the top consequences of travel and can deal with them.
Not only do you have a spring in your step and wear a smile on your face but you've finally learned that it's okay to be changed by travel. You don't know owe anyone any explanations as to why you no longer believe in (fill in the blank).
Think it's impossible? It's not.
Admit that traveling has impacted you and your life in ways you never imagined or thought possible.
You've got your guide on the top consequences of travel - all you have to do is follow it.
Photo Credit: Free Images - Vladimir Starovoytenko