Using Travel to Promote Self Growth
This year, I reintroduced travel back into my life.
Not just abroad, but traveling to locations I’ve never been before within my home state of California. Due to where I am at in my life combined with the concept everything I experience matters, I now travel with intention.
If you let it, ravel has the power to change you internally and I have opened myself up to experiencing the transformation through traveling with intention. It was in this explorative space I have become re-acclimated with myself.
In order for intentional travel to work, I don't just pick some place on a map to go. And I don't travel to another place to simply have a vacation. Instead, I choose my trip based on an intention of gaining “something” more in life.
Before embarking on any adventure this year I asked myself: how will this experience shape me and what can I gather from it?
For 4 years, I’ve wrote on my vision board that I would go to Costa Rica and Bali. I admit, the initial desire to travel to these locations were rooted in different motivations and I attribute the shift to age and growth. It is also a testament to the journey of life. In our souls, we can want something so deep but it may be meant for us to experience at a different or more advantageous point in our lives.
This year, I got to visit Costa Rica in February and Bali in August. Both trips were experienced at the perfect times and ignited a beautiful fire within my spirit. Years ago, I wanted to go to Costa Rica to teach as a means of escape from my circumstances at the time. The younger version of my butterfly spirit just wanted to be in a different place than home for no other reason than sheer excitement and curiosity. Bali, well, let’s just say I had a supreme fascination with Eat Pray Love, and completely romanticized the experience.
Even though both of these international travel experiences were just as enjoyable as I always imagined them to be, they were also very spiritually grounding, enlightening, and transformational because they were rooted with an intention to experience change & growth.
How to travel with intention
Of course, everyone has different reasons for traveling.
Renewal and transformation may not be what you're looking for but if you want to travel with intention, here are 6 rules to abide by...
1. Don't schedule everything
When you book a trip, do not over schedule activities.
This allows free time to explore naturally without over stimulation.
Even if you don’t like being still at home, being still in another place allows you to really connect with the people, the culture, the energy, the landscape, and even yourself.
Additionally, if you want other things to come into your life, you must have the space for them. By not filling every moment with plans, you open yourself up to going with the flow and perhaps doing something much better than you ever could have planned.
2. Document your experiences
Take time every day to record your experiences.
This could be in a journal, audio recordings (voice memos are great for this), or even a video of yourself talking about your day.
Of course, take photographs. Find people, places, and objects that move you and snap a shot of them. Psychologists say that the strongest memories are connected to emotion and smell. So if you see anything that elicits emotions of awe, inspirations, gratitude, or joy, snap a shot. Every time you look at that photo, it will take you back to that moment.
By documenting your experiences and thoughts for the day, you get to capture lessons, reflect on them, and highlight the beauty of your experiences.
3. Go slow
Practice mindful eating. Listen more. Pay attention to your surroundings.
At home you may be used to routine and the mundanity of what’s going on around you. I get it, we live in a busy world.
But when you travel somewhere else with the intention to grow, you need to go slower. Indulge and savor different foods, explore your senses, and absorb the new sights, smells, and sounds.
Notice how different they are from what you're used to and how different you feel slowing down and really paying attention to everything that is around you.
4. Experience the culture
When you travel to a new place, it is important to connect to the history of the location you are in.
Try and understand the nuances of the culture, the people, the inter-workings of the society.
There are so many lessons to be learned in a new place. Gain insights into human behavior and see the similarities between people no matter where they're from.
5. Practice gratitude
Ask and seek the answer to the question: what makes this place unique and why am I grateful to be here?
I believe a daily gratitude practice is beneficial for mental and physical health as it allows us to reflect on our privileges and blessings. It also reminds us of what is important to us, which can be helpful if and whenever we feel loss or stuck.
Doing this in a novel environment as you visit a place you've always wanted to go takes this practice to a whole new level.
Try to unplug from the internet and social media as much as possible.
To experience transformation, we must be open and present to unexpected opportunities. If every moment of down time is consumed, you won't have the chance to absorb the moment.
Most importantly, when you come back from your travels, share your reflections or “aha moments” with at least one person. One of the best ways for us to contribute to this world is to share lessons that we learn with others.
Sharing wisdom not only allows you to pay forward your transformation but also empowers others to travel as well.
Check out more from Tiffany on her website, Live The Be Life.