By Javier Valdez
What comes to mind when you think of traveling? You might imagine clear blue skies, hot sunny weather and sipping watermelon margaritas while waves gently lap at the sand between your toes. You likely imagine a place far away from your daily grind, your desk, a messy home, horrible traffic jams or crowds.
While it’s easy to simply let go and leave behind challenges and responsibilities as an employee, business owner or family member, traveling offers so much more than an escape from reality. In fact, traveling can be an opportunity to significantly alter our perspective.
Love them or hate them, routines are the backbone of our days. They bring order to chaos, making us feel organized and in control. With little warning, a comfy routine can start to feel like a stagnant swamp. When this happens, it’s essential to have a go-to remedy – a way of breaking free and taking on a new rejuvenating challenge.
TRAVEL CAN BE THE PERFECT WAY TO MEET THIS CHALLENGE
In and of itself, the practice of traveling disrupts routine, forces us outside of our comfort zones, and presents us with immediate challenges that, when overcome, will help us learn, become more confident and grow.
Though the challenges posed by traveling can be numerous and unpredictable, there are some struggles that seem inevitable. For example, it’s safe to assume that some part of our travel plans will fall awry. When they do, our patience, independence and fortitude will all be challenged. Similarly, it’s likely the tasks that are incredibly mundane and easy at home – transportation, food, directions, etc. – can feel extremely difficult when we are abroad. In short, we will most likely lose some control and comfort in the absence of our routine.
But what’s important is that, with the right mindset, all of these disruptions and challenges can serve a greater good. They can force us to confront our comfort addiction, encourage us to re-examine our daily lives, teach us to surrender to the moment, force us to improvise, make us more open to things that are new and different, and ultimately arm us with a new perspective that inspires us to re-engage with life.
Whatever realization or perspective shift you’re hit with, chances are it’ll be valuable. Being cognizant of and in contact with different points of view is conducive to more self-realization, better decision- making, and even innovation – because when you gain perspective, you gain the ability to see new opportunities and escape from routine.
If we approach travel with curiosity, an open heart, and an eagerness to learn, it’s almost guaranteed to reward us. One significant way travel can do this is by making us more knowledgeable, empathetic and sensitive to those around us, supporting our journey
as conscious leaders.
Javier Valdez is a social entrepreneur and founder of Myght, Inc., a New York State benefit corporation dedicated to promoting sustainable travel experiences.