How Travel Has Changed My Life in 11 ways

Osaka

Traveling can have a positive impact on a person’s life. While traveling, you could meet someone new with a new personality and culture which you are not accustomed to. There were times I was going through stressful periods of my life because of my job, and taking a few days off had so many positive effects on my mental well-being. Going away for a few days had helped to reduce stress and pressure, and I was able to produce better work after coming back from a short break. Below is 11 ways that travel has changed my life. These points are all based on my personal experienced as a traveler. I didn’t start traveling because I was feeling stressed or was under a lot of pressure, I started traveling because I enjoy going to places to explore new things and take photographs, and capture those memories into still images. I am proud to say travel has changed my life in many positive ways and has made me a better person today. 

  1. I got to taste some real local foods. When I was living in Sydney, I would always go to have Thai food at least once or twice a week. When I had a chance to fly to Phuket with my parents in 2001, I was so looking forward to the local food and I wanted to compare the taste to the Thai food I had in Sydney. Then I realized our tour guide either got us to eat at our 5-Star hotels, or at Chinese restaurants. So when I finally got another chance to fly to Bangkok for a vacation, I was craving for some local food (God help me please). I gotta say, Thai food is my top 5 favorite cuisines of all-time. Another time when I was in New York, I got the opportunity to have some huge sliced pizza and it was so delicious. Mexican food was awesome too, burritos were fantastic and I would always want to go back to the States for the sake of their food. If you have upcoming trips booked, you should look into what local foods you must try.        
  2. I am more healthy mentally and I’m motivated to stay in the right shape for a long time. Following on from the first point, in order for me to travel to these places, I got to stay healthy. I want to be able to walk, run, and carry things with me while I am having fun in overseas, I also need to exercise regularly to be able to continue to taste all the foods around the world, try out some desserts, and taste different beverages. Traveling to different cities around the world and exploring new adventures actually helps me to relax, and having a travel buddy does make me feel happier. Traveling is just one of the many ways to relax your mind, and it’s good for mental health. Taking photos while traveling is another way that helps me to relax, and these could reduce your stress level, as well as your blood pressure. 
  3. Talking about places both clients and I have been to often helped me to break the ice with clients. When I was in the online media industry, I had a big portfolio of clients that I had face to face meetings with regularly, I also was responsible for meetings with potential clients. A good way to break the ice with these meetings was to chat with them about holidays, and places they’ve been to, and if it’s a destination that I’ve been to as well, it becomes easier for me to relate to what they had to share. Even if the client just got back from a destination that you’ve not been before, you just need to ask the right questions to get the client talking. For a 30 minutes coffee with a client, I would spend 25 minutes getting to know more about the client, and use the last 5 minutes to talk about business to try and close the sale. I usually would write down things that the client had mentioned, and continue on with the conversation when I see the same client again. Travel is not a topic that’s too personal for the client, and they’re usually willing to share their highlights with you. I’ve actually written a lot of businesses because of the relationship I’ve built with my clients, and some were actually happy to catch up with me even after I’ve left the companies that I stayed in. 
  4. I improved my confidence and became more willing to step out of my comfort zone. I was always a shy person when I was a little boy. I didn’t know how to make conversations with other people, I was always feeling nervous and anxious. By going to a place that I’ve never been before, forces me to do things out of my comfort zone. I often didn’t want to ask for directions but I had to in order to get to where I wanted. By talking to hotel staff, ordering food at restaurants, and being around random people, it made me more comfortable with the environment I was in, and gradually I saw myself feeling more confident in dealing with people. One other thing I also improved,  I was able to speak and look into the other person’s eyes. This seemed pretty normal, but not for a shy person like me in the past. I mumbled a lot in the past because I didn’t like to speak up.
  5. Being myself was important, and still important to this day. Traveling around the world made me realize who I was, it made me understood what I wanted and what I didn’t want, and also how my body reacted to the environments from each city that I traveled in. Being myself as a shy person in the past was not necessarily the best for me since I was scared to approach people, but at least I was having fun, and I was doing things that I wanted to try. Now that I have overcome some of the fears I had in my life, I want to continue to travel around the world, enjoy some local food and coffee, and just be myself. There is no point in trying to force yourself into an identity that doesn’t suit you. Continue to build on things that you are good at, and go from there. 
  6. I realized freedom means a lot to me. There were times at my full-time job, the business was at a peak period time to time and I wasn’t able to apply for leave due to my workload, but when I was granted for a short break, I had the freedom to plan my break and shift my focus to my interests and hobbies. Travel is not necessary only about boarding a plane and fly off to somewhere else, getting inside a car from A to B, or catching a ferry from B to C in your local area is also regarded as traveling. Having a list of choices of where to go for vacation next became a topic that my wife and I have discussed for the past few years, but we got to work out our budgeting as well. Having the freedom to choose where you want to go next has a lot to do with how busy you are with your commitments, and if a vacation will eat up too much of your savings. I want to be able to have enough budget to be free to go wherever I want, and not have to worry about the impact financially. 
  7. Traveling made my relationship better with my wife, we leave our stress behind. Life was definitely a lot less to think about before my wife and I got married, we have even more to think about since our daughter was born. Sometimes we would book a hotel room somewhere for a night during long weekends, and we enjoy that a lot. Why? Because we leave our daily duties behind, we shift our focus to our mini-vacation, and not have to worry about the chores we have to do at home. There was one time, a day before we took off to Japan, it was a 6 days break, and I was very much ahead of my work schedule because I didn’t want to have too much to catch up on when I get back from my break. On my way home after work, I should have felt totally satisfied since I was way ahead of my workload, but I wasn’t. I was freaking myself out, worried that something that I was supposed to finish did not get completed correctly, or perhaps a client’s special request occurs while we’re in Japan, and this would actually affect my holiday mood when these work emails start to pop up on my phone. I actually didn’t express my concern until we got back from our holiday, simply because I didn’t want to affect my wife’s mood. Luckily, work was pretty smooth while I was away, and the handover I made for my colleagues was clear for them to continue with my usual work. In fact, as soon as we landed in Japan, I automatically stopped thinking about all the stressful things I had in my mind. Since both my wife and I enjoy traveling, we created a lot of unique memories and our common interests made us closer as husband and wife. You should make plans to take days off from work and have a break with your other half, it really helps with building relationships. 
  8. We stopped shopping for clothes or shoes locally, we often do our shopping when we travel around. This actually happened naturally, we simply stopped shopping for any clothes or shoes except while we’re on vacation. It’s not always because the price is cheaper, but it’s more to do with the overall feeling on that particular holiday we had. It’s obvious we still need a place to sleep and eat while on vacation, we can plan our itinerary for each day, and shopping became something that we enjoy doing. The clothes that we wear, feels more special because it brings back memories of where we went, it’s similar to the foods we had, which all brought back some sort of good memories. We often brought back some birthday gifts for our parents if the timing is close to their special day. 
  9. I try to live like a local person while I am there. Although while trying to explore places that we’ve never been before, my wife and I actually enjoy living like a local resident in the city that we were in. For example, I stayed at an Airbnb home when I was in Fukuoka, Japan. We searched for a 24 hours supermarket, bought some raw meat, vegetables, and milk, and we did some cooking instead of eating out. We would still go to some tourist spots because it was part of our plan, but we always love to blend in like a local. When I was in New York, I tried to blend in with the culture there, and the feeling I got is just so wonderful. I also stayed at an Airbnb home while I was there for a week. 
  10. Travel became a motivation for me to set aside some savings, and I am more appreciative of what I’ve got. Traveling to different places around the world made me realize, not everyone gets to travel, and everyone’s purpose to travel is different. I feel really thankful to my parents for being able to take me to different places around the world. I often see random people on the streets that are less fortunate, and it really makes me appreciate what’s been given to me, and what I am able to achieve for myself in my life. My wife and I always look forward to our vacation, and sometimes during a vacation she would ask where I’d like to fly to next, my response to her has always been “Just enjoy living the moment, and worry about the future later”. So we always try to set aside some cash for our future trips, and obviously we have so many other expenses to take care of, we just need to work out our finance wisely.
  11. I didn’t feel lonely when I was traveling alone. The main reason why I traveled overseas alone was that I had to fly out of Taiwan in every 4 months to avoid military service (I’m a Taiwanese resident). The trips that I traveled alone were usually departed and back to Taiwan on the same day, this saves me time if I was busy with my commitments, and also cost-saving for not staying for any nights at a hotel. Flying back and forth on the same day alone was so easy, it only took me a few minutes to pack, and I can either catch a bus or metro to the airport. In my backpack, I usually bring: A book to read (Sometimes I read the papers on the plane when it gets handed out), I also carry my earphones with me to listen to my music (My music taste often depends on my current mood), portable charger for charging my mobile phone, cash, and credit cards, I keep a pen in my bag to write my arrival card for the airport customs and my passport. If I don’t leave the airport after customs, I usually would go to a book store (Yes I know I brought a book with me, but I like buying books that I think I can finish), go have my coffee since I am a coffee lover, and read for a while. Something else I’d enjoy while spending my time at an airport is to find a place to eat, and it’s an expensive meal since the meal includes the price of the returned air ticket. I would do some eye shopping, and when it’s time to board again, I’d sit near the boarding gate. By planning my trip thoroughly, I was never bored or lonely, and I’d usually have an extravagant day. 
 
Have you ever felt that you became a different person after coming back from a particular overseas trip? Or has anybody ever said that to you? Although I still get lost while looking for directions and I still have language barriers with people on the streets, I, at least know what I want and what makes me happy. Traveling around the world has changed my life and as a person, and it continues to change the way I look at life, period. I appreciate more and more with what I’ve got, and by sharing my experiences with you, I hope I can help you out with what you are searching for in life, and I also hope I can make your vacation more worthwhile and memorable. Your life will continue to change as you continue to come across different people, different places, and different cultures. Stay safe on your trips, and always plan ahead. You probably won’t even notice the changes until you reflect back to certain periods of your life.