There’s just something about travel that immediately heightens the senses and gets the heart pumping a beat faster – something about exploring the unknown speaks to a primal, innate feeling of possibility. To be sure, traveling is thrilling, but there can also be longer-lasting effects that stem from time away from home – effects that impact you on a deep, identity-shifting level. Here are just a few of the ways that travel actually changes your personality:
Become a Better Global Citizen
Through the ingenuity of technology, we can now virtually zip across the globe in a matter of seconds or hours. Gone are the days of months-long, wearying travel. As a result, we absolutely live in a truly global society – one in which borders slowly become fuzzy and the differences between us, though still distinct, start to fade.
Travel enables you to become a better, more conscious citizen in our global society. By experiencing diverse cultures, you’re able to become aware of the complex relationships and histories pulsing across the globe. This experience leads to a better understanding of people and how they function in a multitude of situations. Seeing how our own cultural origins are connected to – and even dependent upon – the unique times and places shaping other nations helps to broaden our perspective. Travelers become global citizens who are able to be more compassionate, more knowledgeable, and more aware of the world around us.
Hone Communication Skills
Whether you are desperately trying to find a bathroom or attempting to pay the correct amount for your taxi ride, traveling abroad will undoubtedly refine your communication skills. Face-to-face interaction, especially with those whose language differs from your own, becomes a kind of challenge, a daily gauntlet run with perseverance. The ability to clearly, verbally communicate your needs and ideas is a valuable tool in today’s fast-paced, technology-obsessed society. Even if you are the quiet, shy type, you will discover a hidden aptitude for finding your voice through travel — traveling demands in-the-moment communication with those around you, and can help you develop a capability for solving cross-cultural problems and barriers. Human, personal interaction becomes the focal point. A translation app may not be enough when ordering off the menu at a back alley cafe in Venice, but expressive eyes and hand gestures do the trick. When you don’t get cell service on the milk train rumbling through the Alps, you just may be forced to strike up a conversation with the older gentleman next to you, who then walks you to the stoop of your hostel and chivalrously tips his hat before turning to leave.
And this is the other bonus:
Learning to communicate with strangers around you opens you up to an entirely new world filled with stories, experiences, and the potential for memories to be made in the moment.
Enrich Your Life
No one comes away from an experience abroad without having been changed, at least slightly, in some way. That is, after all, why we travel in the first place – to do things we never would in our “real lives”, to see things we’ve only seen in books, and to meet people whose paths we might never cross otherwise. Traveling changes your personality when you experience the “new.” When your life becomes inextricably intertwined with a place or a person or an event, you are altered forever. Memories like that – the life-shaping kind – sustain you for years. They become threads in the fabric of who you are, and bring a vibrant color and texture to the tapestry of your life.
The inescapable truth is that travel will definitely change your personality in some way. How that happens is entirely up to you.