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Day 263: Travel as a Means to Improve Yourself (and life)

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notesWhat does travel mean to you?

In light of yesterday’s post on my work from home life, I thought today would be a good day to talk about how I got here.

Travel.

Without ever starting my big travel life, I might still be in Peoria, Illinois working in the IT Help Desk at Caterpillar. Ok, so probably not; I am the type of person that is willing to jump at random opportunities here or there, so I’d have most likely moved on to something different, perhaps somewhere else, too.

Still, would my life be anything like today if I didn’t set off to Spain for my month-long archaeology dig towards the end of 2007?

Travel, to me, has always been seen as a way to learn – not just a holiday or an escape, but more as a means to change both myself and my life path. Even when I was in university, travel was the goal I was working towards. My advisor (after returning from my semester in Italy) set up a meeting to talk about my future schooling and career path – something I was far too relaxed at that time to honestly chat about thanks to my adoption of Italian time-can-wait culture. My response was that I didn’t want to pursue any graduate schooling until I had more real-world experience. I mean… there I was on the verge of graduating with a major in International Studies and yet I had no real clue of what was beyond Italy or Western Europe, a fact I became well aware of during my semester abroad.

My advisor, being the former hippie that he was, agreed in a manner that made it seem he had once thought the exact same way.

So, I set off. It took me a few years to get there, but I left for various adventures that were all to be targeted on learning and acquiring skills in the process of being a free-flying backpacker. I helped uncover a Roman fort in Menorca for a month, I took a month of Spanish lessons in Guatemala and I ventured over to Kyrgyzstan for Russian lessons. I then taught English in Ukraine before moving on to Australia for a working holiday.

In the midst of it all, I knew that I was working towards finding experiences that would help me figure out what was “next” for me, but I never once thought that the blogging part of the journey would end up being so darn important!

And, it wouldn’t have been important if I hadn’t had the freedom of travel to give me that time to focus on it, or if I hadn’t ventured over to Australia where I was given the opportunity to handle the blogs and social media accounts for a couple of companies to get even more experience in the field. It wouldn’t have been important if I didn’t have that presence out there so I could get the gig at WhyGo. Travel has given me an opportunity, just like it gives several other people opportunities. Travel has given some the content to write a book, while others might choose to write a book while living in a less expensive part of the world. Some travelers end up setting up hostels, setting up volunteer organizations and discovering new business ideas all while traveling.

For some, they just get time, and this is probably the biggest part of travel as a means to improve yourself and your life. Imagine always thinking you want to start a web business or try your hand at becoming a professional photographer but never having the time. It’s not easy when you’re already working a full-time job! Long-term travel can give you that opportunity to pursue other ventures.

I know how travel has helped me, but how has it helped you? What opportunities were you able to take advantage of once you finally hit the road?

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11 Responses to Day 263: Travel as a Means to Improve Yourself (and life)

  1. Leah September 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    It’s always interesting to look back and say, “What if?” What if I hadn’t done this? Or, what if I hadn’t gone there? I’m always amazed at how things normally just work out as they should even though it might not seem great at the time. Some of the best times in my life are a result of choices I made at my lowest times. Travel opens my mind and shakes me free from the everyday routine that is my life. I’ve touched at bit on the subject in a post called, “Why I Travel: A Dedication.” http://leahtravels.com/site/people/why-i-travel-a-dedication#more-302

  2. Erik September 22, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Travel has opened my eyes to so many things I might have never know exisisted if I hadn’t caught the bug from my parents. I am thankful everyday for all of the lessons I’ve learned, even the painful ones!

  3. Chris September 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    God, how *hasn’t* it helped me?

    Pre-travel Chris was a shy, ambition-less virgin. Traveling opened up my eyes about life and what I wanted to do, it brought me out of my shell, and it introduced me to the wonder of pretty girls :-p

    • Brooke September 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      I like this all… except for the comments on your sex life… meh

      • Chris September 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

        :-p All I said was that I didn’t have one prior to traveling >_>

  4. Audrey September 24, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    Travel taught me I could never live the ‘corporate’ life, that I actually love teaching ESL, and that one day I’ll probably end up running my own hostel πŸ˜€ Who knew travel could give so much direction?!

  5. Vira September 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    nice post, Brooke πŸ™‚
    travel has let me see the various ways of how people live, how people think, and the plus & minus of things. Though I’m still stuck with day job to make a living, I travel as often as I can, as long as I’m allowed. And like Audrey, I too plan to run my own hostel, dedicated for all backpackers/travelers out there πŸ˜€

  6. Rich October 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Brooke,
    I think that any NEW experiences help broaden our perspectives and help broaden our horizons as to what is possible. Most people are too afraid of what is new to put themselves out there to experience “risky” new things.
    Most people should travel, but most won’t, out of both fear and desire to be comfortable.

    Check out my blog too at Matrix of World Travel and share some thoughts there too πŸ™‚

  7. Kirsten @ Green Global Travel January 16, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    Travel has shown me that there is may much more to life than being a slave to your job. It has motivated me to pursue a career where I am not behind a desk. I don’t think I can handle it. Great article!

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