It’s not all that difficult to “see the world” in this day and age. There are cheap flights everywhere, inexpensive resorts where you can spend a week or more for a cost that most people find manageable. There’s a difference, however, between experiencing the world and merely seeing it. To be a worldly traveler, you have to do more than just visit a place; you need to experience it in an authentic way, the way the locals do.
We’re all guilty of seeing the world through our subjective lens. Sometimes, when we travel, we have a tendency to do the kind of things we do everywhere else. For example, if you’re into music at home, you might just locate the music scene in a place you visit. But what if, in the place you’re visiting, the music scene is not all that big, but the dancing scene is? You’ll have a more rewarding experience if you throw yourself into a destination without your agenda set firmly in place. See it for what it is, not just what you want it to be.
Out of the Comfort Zone
To travel is to grow, but it doesn’t happen automatically. You have to throw yourself into scenarios that you’re not automatically comfortable in. This could be taking part in local exhibitions and ceremonies, or just pushing yourself to meet local people. It’s much easier not to do these things, but months after you’ll have done them you’ll be glad that you did – and you’ll also have become a better, more well-rounded person in the process. If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space, as they say! Push yourself, and you might be surprised to discover that you’re capable of so much more than you think you are.
Letting Go of the Safety Net
We all have characters that we play. If you have a settled life with friends and family, you’re probably only really showing one side of yourself to the world. Traveling alone is your opportunity to test out different versions of yourself, and also experience the world without having your friends to fall back on. This doesn’t you have to spend the entire traveling period alone; singles vacations are a great way to have a mix of solo and group travel. Traveling alone is an experience that can’t be replicated by money or anything else for that matter: you just have to do it.
Experiencing the world is different from just seeing it. Putting yourself out there is not always as comfortable as lying besides the pool in a 5-star hotel, but it is more worthwhile. Often, the effects of this new way of traveling are only felt many years later, when you can look back and see that the way you traveled had a huge influence on the person you would go on to become. While you may not set out with the intention of ‘finding yourself,’ that’s exactly what you’ll do if you throw yourself into the world without restraint.