How travel changes your outlook
There’s no doubt travel changes your outlook and appreciation for life. It’s unavoidable. Pushing yourself to your extremes means you discover hidden pieces of yourself. Here are some personal changes I’ve noticed as a result of my travels.
Socialising gets easier
Hitchhiking forces you to socialise with a lot of people in a short space of time. Gone are the days of being quiet and reserved, worrying about what people thought. Perplexed stares of passers-by sorted that out. Hitchhiking forces you far out of your comfort zone into the real world where it’s not worth worrying about other people’s opinions.
Tiredness may hinder conversation but most of the time drivers just want to share their story. Longer rides often result in lengthy conversations where you can open up and delve deep into any topic.
Hitchhiking truly forces you to learn how to talk to people.
Confidence in yourself
Travel, especially solo travel, makes you more confident in yourself. Who else can tell you what to do when you’ve all the time in the world to do everything in the world? It is all down to your own initiative so you must be confident in what you’re doing.
Travel also makes you more easy going. As you’re much more confident in what yo’re doing, there’s little to worry about. Everything that must happen will happen. There’s someone on the other side of the planet in an office building stressing over numbers on a sheet, whereas we’re here on the side of the road with the thumb out. Relax. The universe will provide.
Adapting to situations
As noted, being stuck on the outskirts of a forgotten town with no traffic means you have to adapt (mentally more than physically a lot of the time). You must adapt to new drivers, new languages, new roads and hitching spots, new people… everything. In the beginning it’s difficult and out of your comfort zone, but practice is a great teacher. It is indispensable knowledge that can’t be learned in school.
Lust for adventure
Alternative travel will make you more adventurous. Instead of looking at a long lonely road with no traffic as the grim reality that you’ll never leave this place, it’s more entertaining to wonder who’s coming around the corner and what stories they will share. The adventure awaits.
I’m always dreaming of what’s beyond the next bend in the road or the hills in the distance. Adventure is everywhere; you simply have to head out and find it.
Education in the ways of the world
The last point here is travel makes you more educated. This concerns any form of travel. All of the points above mix together to educate you better about yourself, your place in the world, what awaits you in life and how you appreciate others.
It is very easy to get locked in a rhythm where life is drifting gently past, until one day you realise six months have passed with little achieved. Perhaps this suits some people, but I’ve found the time between two stints of travel is just waiting time. It’s waiting until the next leap into the unknown.
And, because of travel, I’m all the more wiser to know it’s coming soon. Remember, once you taste the freedom of the road it changes everything.
Thinking of heading out on the road and confused about an itinerary? Check out my advice over at Don’t stick to the plan: It’s more fun.