Many people travel, at least in part, to try and solve their problems — to overcome the hangups and traumas which have been haunting them, and to discover a newfound sense of positivity and purpose in life. This is why I believe you can grow and improve on your travels.
While travel can certainly be an inspirational experience and can give you motivation and insight that can contribute to you making positive changes in your life, travel will not solve your problems and lead to transcendent personal transformation.
To enjoy such a transformational experience, there’s no substitute for doing work on yourself, whether that takes the form of getting a handle on your addictions, sitting in your apartment (or tent) and mapping out your goals for the future, or surveying and addressing any habits that might be detrimental to your overall success and progress.
Travel can be a perfect opportunity to commence this type of deep, introspective work, but it’s going to require focused effort and engagement on your part.
To that end, here are some things you can do while travelling in order to turn your trip from merely an uplifting and inspiring experience, to a life-changing one.
1 – Read
Take a selection of “self-help”, autobiographical, and inspirational books with you on your trip — read them diligently.
When most people are packing books to take with them on holiday, they tend to focus on paperback romances and similar forms of light entertainment — often bought in the airport moments before catching a flight.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with such forms of light entertainment, the kind of books that are likely to really help you transform your life, are of a slightly different nature.
Despite the bad reputation it has among some people, the self-help industry contains many books by many authors that may help to provide insight on how to deal with your issues. While some of the books you’ll encounter are bound to be scammy and unhelpful, there will be plenty that can offer you useful insights on how to manage your life better.
These could range from more business-centric books, such as Jack Canfield’s “How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be“, to the more psychological, such as Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos“, or those specifically focused on getting you out of your comfort zone and into a place where optimal growth can occur — such as John C. Maxwell’s “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”. Find the books you must read at least once in your life here.
In addition to self-help books, it can be very useful — when trying to get your life in order — to read the autobiographies of people you admire for one reason or another, as well any books which help to raise your sense of positivity and inspiration in general.
Often, when we’re in a rut, looking to the examples of other people who have overcome similar problems, and succeeded in achieving things we admire, can be extremely helpful. Books such as The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho — which can help to revive your sense of awe and potential in life — can be no less important for their ability to pick you back up and motivate you to keep moving on.
While growth can stem from many different sources and avenues, books provide one of the greatest resources for self-development.
2 – Write
Journals often get a bit of a bad reputation, as people frequently see them as self-indulgent and childish. In this case, however, I am not talking about a book where every entry starts with “dear diary, you’re not going to BELIEVE what happened today” — but are instead describing journaling as a tool for serious introspection.
In fact, there’s nothing wrong with the traditional “dear diary, guess what” format, but the key to journaling for self-development is to focus less on petty gossip, idle thoughts, and social happenings, and to orient the journal around questions of mood, meaning, purpose, happiness, and growth.
A successful journal entry, recorded at the end of the day, should address issues such as; how you felt during the day. What thoughts you’ve had about your life in general. Which moments you think you acted properly in, versus those where you felt you acted poorly, and so on.
As the quote attributed to the ancient Oracle at Delphi runs; “Know thyself”. To change your life in a positive way, you need to understand how your mood and behaviour tie together day to day, and take appropriate steps to adjust unproductive or unfulfilling behavioural patterns.
On my little stationery start-up, you will find the perfect travel journal in the next few weeks. Stay tuned and make sure to buy a copy of this very limited edition.
3 – Make new positive habits
To say that our lives are just the sum total of our habits is likely pretty close to the truth. When all is said and done, it is those things that we do every day that shape the overall arc of our lives, and determine what kind of story we leave behind.
For this reason, introducing positive and empowering habits that bring us closer towards our goals, is not just a crucial method for achieving the kind of life we want — it might be the only reliable method for doing so in the long term.
The way this plays out, in practice, is that you focus on your daily habits and try to structure these in a way that is most likely to bring about success, rather than focusing too much on particular targets set for a certain point in the future.
An example of how this habit-based systems approach could work, for example, would be for you to focus on doing 20 minutes of exercise every day, rather than setting a goal to “be fit enough to run a 5k race in 6 months”. Since I was on the road, I’ve had this great habit of waking up at sunrise for 10/15 minutes meditation, 30 minutes yoga and then a 5k run. It’s been brilliant not only to keep me in shape, but also to fill my body and mind of positive energy for the rest of the day.
The issue with setting a specific goal — particularly when travelling — is that much will be left to fate and uncertainty. Your daily habits, on the other hand, are almost entirely under your own control.
And you? How are you going to grow and improve on your travels?
Let me know in the comments below!
If you are ever in need of some help or tips about travelling for a long time, please use this contact form and let me help you have the best experience of your life!