Traveling is such a beautiful experience that is different for everyone. Some people love it and some people would rather stay at home and either is fine. For me, I have always been a wanderer and love doing things outside of my comfort zone. Traveling has changed my life for the better and I don't know who I would be if I didn't take that first leap into the unknown. Here are five things that I learned from traveling that have changed my life and made me who I am today.
1. When you come home everyone and everything will be exactly how you left them
One thing I've realized every time I come home from a trip is that nothing has changed. When I came home from living abroad in Australia for a couple years I was excited, nervous and sad. I knew everything was going to be different and I was prepared for changes. When I arrived home three and half years later, to my surprise it was still the same town, with the same people with the perspectives and the only thing that has changed was me. Of course everything wasn't EXACTLY the same but knowing that everything at home will be there when you get back makes leaving your comfort zone so much easier.
2. You see everything in a new light and appreciate the little things
I grew up in Juneau, Alaska where the seclusion and torrential rain can really make you want to leave from an early age. After traveling and returning back to Juneau with a fresh pair of eyes, the things I used to hate about living in Juneau was suddenly beautiful. The unique Alaskan scenery with endless mountains, glaciers, tall spruce trees, pure air and fresh clean water doesn't compare to anywhere else in the world. I know I would have never grown to love and appreciate Juneau until I left and realized that there really is no place like home.
3. You learn to have an open mindset
From listening to other people's stories and learning different cultures first hand, you realize that we are all human and we all want to be healthy, and happy. I learned that everyone does things differently based on their cultural views. Even simple things that we Americans do every day is a cultural shock for other countries. For example, in America when have a coffee or tea we like to sit down, relax and have a chat with our friends. In Italy they are quite opposite, a lot of the times people don't even sit down to drink their coffee, they simply drink it at the counter and leave within 5 minutes. There is no right or wrong way to do things, just different cultures with different values and norms and traveling makes you aware of these differences.
4. To be more patient
When you travel there is a lot of room for things to go wrong. You can miss your flight, lose your bag, or get lost in a new city but all of these things are a part of the journey. From traveling you learn that things happen and you just have to deal with it the best way you can. There is no point in dwelling over something that has already happened, you have to move on and get over it.
Traveling (especially by yourself) puts you in a lot of uncomfortable situations from ordering food in a country that doesn't speak your mother tongue to exploring a new city by yourself. After traveling I have gained the confidence to go to a party by myself and leave with new friends. I am comfortable with my own company and I am confident to do, pretty much anything I want by myself and it is an amazing and liberating accomplishment that I would of never learned if it wasn't for traveling.