How Planning a Trip is more than about rest, tourist sights, holiday photos but often a way to gain distance and find new focus, distance and perspective on life.
Travel has long been an excellent way to discover yourself and learn more about who you are as a person. However, it’s often hard to define exactly why and how that happens. Some trips spark a revelation in you, inspire you to know yourself better, or change your habits for the better. Some trips change your life while others only leave photographs. So what sets a life-changing trip apart? What makes some travel more impactful than others?
Sometimes, travel changes you simply by allowing you to prioritize yourself. The destination, whether it’s a western Caribbean cruise or a hike on the Appalachian trail, is not as important as the journey, and who you take the journey with. Many people take long vacations so they can prioritize themselves. Especially if you are traveling alone, a trip can be a unique opportunity to do the things you want to do, without fear of judgment from your friends, family, or co-workers.
Instead of having to make that work deadline, or impress your boss, or please your parents, the only person you are really answerable to is yourself and your own preferences. Especially for people-pleasers, this might be an almost unique opportunity to explore what makes you curious.
Travel also changes you by literally giving you some distance. Whatever problems you are facing at home, travel is a chance to take a break and get away, both figuratively and literally.
Think about that one unfinished problem project in your house. Maybe you don’t like the color of the walls in your living room, let’s say, but you don’t know what color you prefer. Every time you step into your living room, it annoys you, but you don’t have time to fix it. When you’re away from that room, you realize that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter all that much. You might even find inspiration, a color that you love that you think would look great in your living room.
Distance can sometimes provide the solution to a problem that might otherwise go unsolved.
Part of the reason distance works is that it gives you a new perspective, sometimes literally. The living room looks different if you’re seeing it for the first time after a month of hiking through the backcountry.
Traveling also shows you how other cultures approach life. Even a brief exploration of someone else’s mindset can show you new ways of looking at a problem. However, this likely won’t happen if you only visit a place for a little while and it definitely won’t happen if you don’t engage with the culture. That means doing your research, engaging with the locals, and probably getting off the beaten track a little.
Take a Break
If nothing else, a vacation should give you a moment to breathe. Taking a break from your problems won’t solve them, but taking a vacation isn’t about solving problems, it’s about letting yourself rest a little.
You have to take a break in order to prioritize yourself, get distance from your problems, and take the time to truly appreciate the new perspectives presented to you. This may mean that your travel itinerary isn’t as full as it could be, and that’s perfectly fine! If your itinerary allows you no downtime to really rest and relax, you might be vacationing wrong. The whole point is to get some rest. You might be surprised how many problems in your life can be solved more easily when you’ve had a break to rest and put yourself first for a change.
So when you’re thinking about taking a trip, remember that it’s more than just a series of photos to show friends, a suntan and a couple of souvenirs. It’s an opportunity to put yourself first, get some distance and a new perspective, and rest yourself. You may find that afterward, you are better equipped to handle whatever life throws at you next.