With the internet and our daily life, being swarmed by material on self-development, teaching us different ways to become a more superior self, one thing is clear — we all want a better version of ourselves and become more efficient than we are today. If we run fast, we want to run faster. If we speak one language, we want to speak many. If we already have an impressive personality, we still want to go one step further, defying all laws of our existence and become undeniably impressive… and the quest never ends.
The problem is, however, we just know how, or we don’t have the time to work for it. Our little lives, bounded by schedules and responsibilities offer no scope for creativity, and with that, for any self-development. We are still repeating the same thing that we were, three years ago. One day turns into the next and all those things that we desired to do, combined with all the personality traits we wanted to gain, keep piling up until we eventually lose grip on life.
So what to do? My advice…
Try Solo Travelling
Over the years, I’ve thought about losing grip on my life too. When I was working in England (after completing my post-graduation) I was being paid more than I ever could in India, particularly during the early years of my career. Yet I wasn’t content. So after a year and a half of a constant mind-fuck, I moved back to India, hoping for a positive shift in life. I thought by staying closer to the people I knew, the world would change. But nothing happened. I was still constantly regretting about where my monotonous life was heading.
Then one day, I quit the job to travel, sold all my belongings and decided to follow the road for as long as my heart desired — and I couldn’t go back. Why? Because when I was travelling A Constant Change Was Guaranteed. I was busy exploring new places and meeting new people, and between all that, gaining new experiences every day.
Solo Travelling Brings About A Slow But A Constant Change
After two years of uninterrupted solo travelling, when I meet friends whom I have not seen in years, they inquire about the ‘remarkable change’ in me. And all I’ve to say to them is: while there were moments that were more precious and comparatively more educating, moments that owe to the highs and lows, there is no single incident that I can point to and say, “that moment turned me from a hopeless introvert to a fearless nomad”.
My transformation from someone who always preferred the security of four-walls and staying close to his family and friends to someone who now carelessly wanders across cities finds his own way, and turn strangers into friends was a slow and a steady process. It happened constantly over time.
Solo travelling forced me out of my routine. Helped me become more independent, take risks, and accept the change. The whole idea of versatility is what’s adding to the new me.
Solo Travelling: A Self-Development Tool
What do you do when you end up in a new country, with no one coming to receive you at the airport. And to top it off, you don’t speak the local language either. You think hard, try a dozen sign-languages and find a way around. And in the process, develop a more superior self than you were, before landing in the country.
I remember when I planned my first ever cross-continent trip to South East Asia I was scared more than ever. I didn’t speak Thai or Cambodian, and to make it tougher, I had no one receiving me at the Bangkok airport. Now, under a tight and a limited budget, I had to navigate my way, ask people the most cost-efficient way to get to the city centre, try different sign languages, and make sure no one rips me off because I behaved like a hopeless tourist. Later, after reaching the hostel, new challenges appeared — of making friends in the dormitory and getting around and sightseeing the city.
By the time I left Bangkok, after a few weeks of hopeless wandering, I improved communicating in situations where I didn’t know the local language, learned how to turn strangers into friends, fill my stomach when I didn’t understand the food, and solve a slew of problems that came up during my stay.
In just one trip, I got better at communication, problem-solving, patience, speaking sign languages, and being more confident about situations I wasn’t ready for. Why? Because I had no option. It was all needed for the survival.
Take A Break. Go. Explore!
I always suggest people take a break from their tiresome lives and travel. Take a year off, or a few months, a sabbatical — whatever you can afford — and explore the world on your own.
I am not saying that travelling is some kind of panacea, and there is definitely no place far enough to escape your problems, but what travelling does to you is it gives you that space to be someone else and improve your life. As you travel and face new challenges, you adopt a new personality and start thinking “What the new me would do here.” You end up putting yourself in different situations, and in the process, improve yourself without even noticing.
So as the year of 2018 slowly passes by, let’s forget all those new year resolutions that we have already lost our bet with. Let’s just stick to one thing — and I assure that the rest will follow — of travelling alone a little more.
Because as far as I’ve learned, solo travelling is the ultimate tool of becoming a better, a more confident you!
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