What is it about traveling to far off destinations that is so ingrained in our humanity? From the beginning of time, our species has traveled to populate the planet.
Later, explorers set off to discover “new worlds” and today travelling from one continent to another can be achieved in less than a day.
But why do we travel?
Many of us travel for business and although it may seem glamorous to be in Monterrey, Montreal and Montreux in the same month, this isn’t the type of travel I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the type of travel where you come back a “new person”. Travel where you’ve rejuvenated your mind, your body and your soul. Travel where you experienced new cultures, new foods and new ways of doing things. Travel where you leave your comfort zone and stretch yourself and travel where you witness innovation and ingenuity, which inspires you to change elements in your life and/or business.
Travel takes us out of our box — literally! The box that is our life, home, our office, our community. It is one of the best and most fun reinvention tools I know of. If you are stuck in a rut, get out of it by travelling somewhere you’ve never been before. The more it unsettles you, the better it will be for your reinvention!
But, don’t just jump on a plane and go half-way around the world and expect the comforts of home.
This type of travel is a change of scenery but it doesn’t give you the total experience you could have by immersing yourself in your new surroundings.
If you cannot bring yourself to jump in with both feet and live with the locals, at least spend some time during your stay getting to see what life is like for them. Gain an appreciation for those who live in your chosen community.
How is their life similar to yours? How does it differ? What can you learn?
I’ll never forget walking through a favela in Rio de Janeiro, seeing the gorgeous little white dresses hung to dry across the streets.
I saw pride in those little dresses — I imagined the Mom getting her little girl ready in her Sunday-Best to go to church. The families who live in this favela are very poor. It’s dusty and smelly and there are signs of violence everywhere, yet these families are proud.
As an aside, while we were walking down the street our tour guide paid no attention to the car that passed us. Inside, the passenger in the front seat had a machine gun on his lap.
We were a bit freaked out and we wanted to get out of there quickly but she kept on walking! It turned out he was a policeman and as we were enjoying the hospitality of one of the families — in an impeccably clean home — an arrest was made without incident.
Our hosts — the Brazilian tourism department — really didn’t want us to go to the favela for safety reasons and I can understand why. Anything could have happened while we were there — we could have been caught in a cross-fire, we could have been kidnapped, we could have been robbed (not unlike other parts of the world, including in our own back yards!).
Nothing bad happened though and the impression I was left with still stays with me nearly 10 years later. We took a calculated risk by going to the favela as a group with a tour guide, who paid for our safety, and we were all glad we did.
It’s for this reason, I travel as often as I can. I do things that are out of my comfort zone — not always this brave — but I still do things that give me the “tingles”.
If you feel you need to reinvent yourself or your business, get out of your house and travel somewhere. It doesn’t have to be half-way around the world, it can be a short drive away.
Just make sure you experience something new — it could be a new food; it could be a new recreational activity; it could be a volunteering experience. It doesn’t matter — what does matter is that you come away from your travel experience with something which gives you a different perspective, a different experience and a new memory that will remind you to keep taking steps toward your dream life.
This time next week, I will be on my way to Playa del Carmen where we’re doing something “new”. It’s not as far removed from our comfort zone as my favela example yet it is a step toward our location independent lifestyle goal.
We’re staying in a condo, rather than an all-inclusive resort, which isn’t a first for us because we have done the same in Italy, France, Canada and the US – but for some reason it’s not as comfortable for us to take this step in Mexico (I know we’ll laugh about this perception as soon as we get there).
We’ll be taking taxis and shopping knowing only a few words of Spanish. We’ll be ziplining and snorkeling in cenotes. We’ll even be going to Coco Bongo for our daughter’s birthday — that’s an experience that words can’t quite describe!
We’ll each be getting out of our comfort zones and proving to ourselves that we can indeed live our dream of traveling the world while I continue to write, speak, train, consult and coach.
What are YOU doing this month, this week and today to achieve your dream life goals?
Share your thoughts below in the comments …