1. It makes you less concerned with material things
I’ve been at my happiest when I’ve been travelling around South East Asia with holes in my clothes, humidity induced hair like Medusa and a backpack that didn’t fit all of my belongings in it, and buying a new one meant less travel money so I had to tie shoes to the bottom by the laces like a homeless lady. On the contrary, working in a well paid corporate job did not make me happy (despite the increased budget it allowed me for high heels!).
Being on the road has taught me that I can cope with very little.
Meeting people from different cultures and seeing how happy they are, even though they are not financially wealthy or even stable makes you realise what is important in life.
2. More confident.
Travel throws you out of your comfort zone to a place where you have to speak to strangers and are constantly meeting new people. Before I went travelling I worried to death about what other people thought.
The truth is, people are so worried about how other people see them, that nobody is looking at you.
Besides, us travelers are a friendly bunch – if you stroll up to a stranger in a hostel, a café, the airport, most will be glad that you did and so will you. I’ve met some of my best friends through random travel encounters – the guy I struck up a conversation with on a flight to Seoul ended up being my travel buddy through chunks of East Asia.
I have no inhibitions about striking up a conversation with any odd Sod these days.
3. More Open Minded
As you become more exposed to different ways of life, and embrace the customs of the Country that you are in, you become more understanding of the way that different people do things and why.
4. A better problem solver
I need to get from A to B by X date but the train isn’t running – what is the best way to get there? I have X amount of funds left so which area can I pick up work and what is available/what are the requirements?
No matter how carefully you plan, travel throws all manner of situations and curveballs in your path. Dealing with these offers great transferable skills to work environments and management of your personal affairs.
5. More comfortable with your own company
Though I travel alone, travel is always more fun with other people and thankfully a great part of solo travel is that so many people do it, you’re never alone for very long. That said, in certain off the beaten track places you can find that you’re the only traveller so you need to be comfortable with your own company. When this first happened I panicked. “I can’t go there alone, I’ll look weird!” I would rather have died than have sat in a restaurant alone. Now I don’t care. I want to try the local food so I will, with or without someone else if necessary. I don’t feel lonely or self-conscious, I enjoy the ‘me time’ and take it as an opportunity to reflect… this also brings me on to point 6:
6. More self-assured
From a young age we seek validity from other people for our actions – as we become adults this almost turns to a point of competition, benchmarking ourselves against others to see who has achieved more in their lives and putting ourselves down when we deem others to be doing better. The presence of social media has made this all the more the case as we look at lives manipulated through Instagram filters.
When you travel, you begin to do what you want to do, on your terms, paying no mind to the nay-sayers. I’m at a point in my life where people around me are getting married and having children, and I’m going trekking in Mongolia.
“Don’t you think you should think about settling down? Don’t you want to have children before it’s too late?”
No I don’t. Sorry. You enjoy cleaning up poop and I’ll enjoy hiking up mountains.
7. More laid back.
Que cera, cera? What is the worst than can happen? In the Corporate world, everything is the end of the World. “OH MY GOD! THAT SHIPMENT OF FABRIC FROM INDIA IS GOING TO BE A DAY LATE YOU SAY? WHATEVER SHALL WE DO? THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.. I REPEAT! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!” On the Road you’re like Mr Chow – “But did you die?”
8. Fearless B*stard.
I’ve been to some pretty remote places, and backpacked through five continents by myself and lived to tell the tale; of course you still exert common sense, but you know nothing is really that dangerous, and you learn not to let the fear of the unknown deter you.
“Don’t worry” I tell my pale faced Mother about my upcoming trip to Mongolia, “I won’t be completely alone, I’ll be with the reindeer people!”