I don’t know many people who never dream of escaping to the beach or cuddling up with a good book in the mountains every once in awhile. The jury’s out: vacation is fun. Duh. And even though most of us have had the opportunity to get out and see some part of the world (even if it’s just a few hours from home), there’s always something new to learn. With travel becoming a bigger priority in my life recently, I’d like to share some things I’ve learned beyond what to pack and where to stay.
Travel changes you.
Hi, my name is Kristin, and I’m Type A. I may not say these words at the beginning of a friendship, but I promise you’ll find out in about 5 minutes. Inefficiency drives me CRAZY. I’m a planner at heart, and lists are a must. This personality is conducive to leadership and task completion but for living in the moment? Ehh, not the easiest thing for me. But travel has taught me immensely to appreciate the Type A in me as well as take a chill pill or two. When you know that you only have a specific amount of time in one city, it’s easier to go in with the mindset of living to the fullest. This summer I visited Los Angeles, but due to the fact that I was at a conference for 12 days, I really only had one weekend to explore downtown. And when a wild sty on my eye put me in the urgent care for one of these days, I wasn’t thrilled. But nothing sucks the life out of a trip like freaking out and getting upset. I was really bummed that I didn’t get to go to the Santa Monica Pier, but hey, that just means I have to go back to L.A. again.
But at the same time, travel changes you.
After experiencing the beauty and healing powers of travel, I know it’s grown me and developed me in ways I couldn’t have from home. But then again, travel doesn’t transform you into an entirely different person. You think that you’ll turn into this fantastic new woman after you’ve backpacked through Europe and climbed Mount Everest. You’ll definitely gather some new memories and bragging rights, but you’re still you. And that’s not a bad thing. Before I moved this past August, I thought I’d blossom into this totally different person. Yeah, I’ve blossomed, but I’m still an aspiring crazy-cat lady and quite the klutz. You may think that since the Colosseum or Big Ben is in the photo that you’ll snap your fingers and become the classy picture-perfect friend that everyone aspires to be. But this really isn’t reality. Travel is about development and personal growth; it’s not exchanging you for someone else.
You don’t have to go far.
Now that you already know I’m Type A, it’s only fitting that you know that it’s pretty much my life goal to be French. But I don’t exactly live close to France. Through this, I’ve found that travel isn’t so much as an activity as it is a mindset—a mindset of exploration and adventure. I may not have the cash to jet set the globe on a regular basis, but it’s not hard to explore my hometown or nearby cities. You may not be staying in a hotel or traveling with a tour guide, but diving deep into your own city can satisfy wanderlust. And in some ways, being a tourist in your own town can be more enjoyable because you have a long amount of time to truly get to know the city. And it’s not hundreds or thousands of dollars up front. You may live in a small town, but have you tried out that one restaurant you’ve driven past a million times? Even a short drive can open you up to an entirely different culture. I dare you.
Not everyone is like you.
I’m sure you know this well just thinking back to the people you weren’t crazy about in high school. But I’m not just talking liking coffee over tea or sweet over salty. On a mission trip just 30 minutes away from home, I met refugees who could barely speak English and ate meals that didn’t look like mine. Even a trip to Los Angeles revealed a much different culture: a mix of beach vibes and cosmopolitan city life. Even talking to friends from China and France, I’ve learned they listen to music and watch movies in different languages. I absolutely love that my friend listens to American music even though she doesn’t understand every last word. I feel like this is something deeply engrained into the culture: engaging with the unknown even if it isn’t comfortable at first. And America could sure use some culturing and understanding of other people’s backgrounds.
Travel is not some frou-frou activity for the rich and famous. It shapes and develops you in ways staying home can’t. What has travel taught you, and how have you grown through leaving home? I’d love to hear about it! And bonus: there are some free desktop and phone wallpaper downloads below to soothe your wanderlust!!
Desktop Background/Desktop Wallpaper Downloads:
Phone Wallpaper/Lock Screen Downloads(fits iPhone 6 best):