After many months spent mostly inside and isolated, Australia is finally looking like it might slowly start to open. You’d be forgiven if the prospect of travel – even domestically or a staycation within your own hometown – makes you nervous. It’s been a fearful and uncertain few months! But travel is more than just going to a new place and taking a look around. It’s also a wonderful education.
We help you revitalise your wanderlust by discovering how travel changes you for the better.
It makes you more social (even from a distance)
If living like a hermit during lockdown has made your social skills a little lack-lustre, travel is the ultimate cure. While extroverts will love the opportunity to re-integrate and get social with strangers, introverts might be a little more apprehensive.
The great thing about travel is that you can have a little or a lot of social interaction, but you will need to interact even just a bit. You’ll need to talk to people face-to-face, even if it is just with staff at coffee shops or information centres. Even this small amount of communication will make you feel more human again.
If you want to really build connections and have conversations, join a tour group. It can be difficult to strike up small talk with strangers during a pandemic, but when you’re on a tour, you’re bound to start chatting to someone in your group. You’re all likely to be more open to talking because you’ll feel safer within the bounds of a COVID-safe tour operator.
You’ll broaden your horizons
Before the pandemic, we may have been bound by the repetitiveness of everyday life. Then we were literally bound by restrictions. Even the comfiest homebodies need to venture beyond their four walls from time to time. If you’ve got cabin fever or feel a little stale, travel is a great way to rid yourself of that ‘stuck’ feeling.
Expanding your physical horizons will invigorate you. Your senses will be stimulated by new views, smells, tastes and sounds. You’ll feel energised by adventure and will have the chance to feed your curious spirit. Naturally, these physical changes will lead to more meaningful and lasting mental and even spiritual ones.
A change of scene, pace and experience will expose you to seeing different ways of living. Even an excursion closer to home will expose you to people living differently to the way you do. If you have a conversation with some of the locals you’ll learn about their blessings and challenges – this is particularly true for those living in beautiful tourist destinations that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Exposing yourself to different ways of life will undoubtedly push you to evaluate your own lifestyle and values. This will either lead you towards making meaningful changes or living your life with more gratitude.
You’ll appreciate home much more
Months on end of living and working at home may have ruined the tranquillity of your haven. After all, you can have too much of a good thing. Getting away from it, living on the road and out of a suitcase can help to rebuild your appreciation for your home. You might be sick of your surroundings now, but a few days or weeks of living without the comforts of home can change that. Spend some time away and you’ll learn to love to stay at home again.
Your relationship with your travel buddy will be enriched
Travel is testing, so when you do it with your partner, family or group of friends – those relationships will be tested. It will be hard at times, but you’ll also have the chance to experience things together.
At home, you only really see a few facets of your partner or family. You may only spend a few hours or so with friends. But when you travel you spend a lot of time together doing many different things. All the planning, sight-seeing, eating and challenges will bring out different sides of people that you don’t often get to see. Hopefully, you’ll like what you see, but regardless, it should make you appreciate that your companions experience a full breadth of emotion just like you. That should help you empathise with one another and appreciate why they sometimes do or act in certain ways. You’ll also be able to bond over the good and the bad, and get a better understanding of each other as whole people.
If you’re travelling solo, that still applies. You’ll become more self-reliant, self-aware and discover things about yourself that weren’t obvious (or necessary) in the confines of home.
You’ll practice living in the moment
The pandemic had a lot of us thinking (or worrying) about the future. This is normal, but it’s also important to embrace what blessings we have right now. That can be quite difficult when you’re stuck inside your home, but when you travel it comes quite easily and often.
This is because when we see something that leaves us in awe – like the sun rising over a beautiful beach, or watching birds flutter around on a bushwalk – it forces us to slow down and take the moment in. When we experience wonderful things, we want to savour them, so we let thoughts of the past and future melt away.
Travelling encourages us to unplug and live in the now. It reminds us of the cleansing and calming power of focusing on the present. The more we exercise that, the better we get at it.
You’ll develop a taste for new things
Travelling exposes you to many new things. New foods, drink, music, art and crafts: all of which you can bring home with you. It might be a new meal that you love and integrate into your dinner menu at home; a painting that you purchase from a local artist to decorate your home; or even something as little as a new scent of soap to use in your bathroom.
You can also bring back things that are less tangible such as habits or ideas. A break from your usual routine might mean that you spend less time on your phone before bed and more time with a book instead. You could notice different social norms in a foreign place, such as the way people say ‘hello’ to each other in small towns, and bring that back with you.
The things that you discover and bring back when you travel make you and your life at home more interesting. Travel can shape your tastes and thoughts, which can make the life you lead at home more enriching.