This time of year, we all make the same resolutions over and over. We’ll lose those 10 pounds, eat healthier, and get eight hours of sleep. While those are great to strive for, I’m here to propose a new resolution: travel. Travel to places you’ve never thought of going to before, and try things that make you uncomfortable. This is exactly why traveling is the best resolution you can make this year.
Traveling is the best way to challenge yourself and see how strong you really are. When you travel, you’re in an unknown territory, which can be terrifying for people who like to be in control all the time. You won’t know the language, might not know what you’re ordering at lunch, and probably will get lost at some point.
The first time I went to Europe, I was so nervous about getting lost that I printed out everything. Even directions (don’t do that – that doesn’t help once you get away from your starting point!). The reality is there’s only so much you can prep for, and most likely things will go wrong at some point. You have to give up the idea that you can control everything.
When I was in Scotland just a few weeks ago, I needed to get to Old Town in Edinburgh but had never been in the country before. While the old me would have researched the heck out of how to take the train and all the things that might go wrong, my new self just walked into the station, found the train I needed to catch through the reader board, and jumped on it.
I used to worry about getting on the wrong train, but do you know what the worst that can happen is? You realize it while you’re on the train, get off at the next stop, and get on the train going the opposite way. Simple as that.
Learning to go with the flow while traveling has helped me let go of what I can control in other aspects of my life. Stressing out about traffic or not being able to find parking in Seattle doesn’t bug me as much as they used to. Sure, they’re still annoying, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it in that moment. I used to try to plan everything out with so much detail, but now I’m okay having a general plan.
I’m not here to tell you to start traveling to exotic countries every month for the next year. That’s not financially feasible for many people, and getting time off work for those who work 9-5 jobs can feel impossible at times. Travel doesn’t have to be far or expensive. I’m here to encourage you to get out more and push yourself past your comfort zone, even if that’s going somewhere that’s only half an hour away.
When I set out on a journey to see my mom’s small hometown in Poland, neither the bus or taxi driver spoke a word of English. Was it stressful? Yes, but I was able to show them where I was trying to go with a screenshot on my phone. Was the trip worth the stress? Absolutely – it turned out to be one of the most special travel experiences I’ve ever had once I reached the town.
The more you put yourself in situations you’ve been avoiding or are uncomfortable, the more you’ll realize you have the strength to get through them. People are so scared of the unknown, but most of the time the outcome is never as bad as you thought it would be. Not doing something because it might not turn out perfectly is something you’ll always regret. I’ve discovered so much about myself in this past year by pushing myself past my comfort zone over and over again. Now it’s time for you to get out there and finally do something you’ve been avoiding due to fear.
What lessons have you learned from traveling?
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