Seneca is a wise man. He said:
“Live in this belief: I am not born for any one corner of the universe; this whole world is my country.”
I sometimes reflect on my life traveling, living abroad and I imagine the faces, the people, and the souls I’ve gotten to know. And I wonder, what would I be without those experiences?
Who would I be without these foreign strangers that take me into their homes and break bread with me? What would I be without the hostels and the beaches, and solitude to reflect on the direction of my life?
Seneca’s letter goes onto sum up that we don’t have to leave our place to find happiness in another. He argues that happiness isn’t a destination, or foreign lands, or learned, or fought for, but rather through living with daily gratitude and love.
An article on Why Travel Isn’t a Cure for the Mind might be right. Traveling isn’t a cure for the mind.
Travel Tip #1: Travel is a cure for the soul.
Traveling isn’t a cure for the mind. In fact, never ending travel is just an endless input that loops dopamine through our brains. This doesn’t cure us. It hides us. Traveling and more importantly, living abroad is a spark for soul growth, understanding differences, and realigning one’s values.
Because never leaving your place to understand other people, staying in your box of experience denies you the beauty of understanding how to live in a state of difference. Without travel, we deny ourselves the experience of living outside our comfort zone, which is where the most personal growth happens for humans.
Not traveling takes away the chance of learning, feeling, and practicing empathy with different cultures and people.
Finally, the truest of vulnerable moments happen when you sit alone in a foreign land wondering who you are relative to a completely different society.
Invert your life, your location, your money, your fame, your comfort, your bank account, your things, your friends, and who are you?
You are a human, just like every one else — living, struggling, shaming, guilting, dying, laughing, smiling, living, breathing, loving, fucking, losing, winning, buying, consuming, and trying.
But traveling experts and doctors admit there are important health benefits we must scientifically admit that help the personal growth of world travelers and vacation goers.
More important than a relaxing vacation, world travelers grow their minds, the understanding of who they are, and their personal emotional wellness by how they view themselves to other people, cultures, and places.
What if I just want to keep traveling to see the sights? To love the lovers? To smell the green grass? Yes, Seneca, the dopamine keeps coming and I keep traveling. The dopamine keeps coming and I keep traveling and like any American that is cornered in subdivision buying things, expensive things, and then more expensive things, I wonder, “Does traveling make me more aware of my life’s experience or less?”
Am I a more self-aware citizen of the world or just a dopamine junkie that finds happiness in strange sights?
Isn’t that we to be in the end, a more self-aware, empathetic, and vulnerable citizen of the world?
Travel Tip #2: Travel can really, really change you if you do it slow enough.
I’m not a fan of five day vacations to Disney, but parents and kids in America know what they know. But even this is healthy for us. Vacations, time away, putting down the computers, telephones, and electronics help us remember life before the information age had simplicity.
I’d rather have my kids (if I had any) play and speak Spanish with a kid in the safe streets of Isla Mujeres, Mexico than go ride THUNDER MOUNTAIN again.
But this vacation idea is different than living and slow traveling in a new society. Yet, both are proven to make us healthier.
Going to Disney World is much different than living and traveling in Buenos Aires, Argentina for six months.
By going to live in Argentina (or any country), you begin to touch, smell, listen, learn, and grow through adaptation to a foreign world and culture. I don’t know about your Box of Experience, but usually when I travel, I deal with culture shock, depression, anxiety, loss of language, am lost constantly, have no friends, and am forced to find happiness and peace in ways America never taught me.
Understanding people on deeper levels starts with understanding how vulnerability works inside yourself.
That makes any Box of Experience (here or there or anywhere) better when you finally grow through it.
Travel Tip #3: You can finally relax and take time away from your old self.
- You will become more creative and open yourself to new ways of thinking.
- You actually decrease your chance of heart disease through travel.
- Help you keep relationships strong when shared with a partner or friend.
- According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, those who travel and study abroad tend to be more open and emotionally stable.
Leaving your world to travel out of displeasure or unhappiness with your own life isn’t a cure for the mind, but hell, what if it is a cure for your soul? What if it sparks you to change and grow into a happier version of yourself when you return home?
What if you never come home?
Why the hell wouldn’t you travel if it helps you grow, relax, understand, enjoy, and be more emotionally stable?
Leaving your world to travel with the idea you can grow into a healthier, happier, and more aware mind and soul in a foreign world comes down to who and what you want to become.
Travel Tip #4: Change never stops in our world, or the world outside it.
Taking in change, and feeling beauty, and understanding differences belong to those who are willing to grow, learn, be vulnerable, and apprehend the foreign ideas, cultures, and origins of our world, and their place with them.
Travel can teach you how to open your mind. In fact, if you do it long enough, it naturally does it by default.
The American that lives with the Japanese learns to view honor differently.
The American that lives in Guatemala understands the gratitude of opportunity.
The American that drinks Belgian ale remembers where their IPA’s were invented and the true history of micro brewing.
Personal growth happens through traveling indirectly (or directly, if you seek it out).
Travel forces you to understand what you are and who you are in relation to the millions of people you don’t know.
Today, in the USA, our people, our society, our political system, it reflects the spectrum of a portion of the humans not willing to try and understand one’s different beliefs, feelings, skin color, religious upbringing, background, ethnicity, or sexual views.
Seneca says, “I disagree with those who strike out into the midst of the billows and, welcoming a stormy existence, wrestle daily in hardihood of soul with life’s problems. The wise man will endure all that, but will not choose it; he will prefer to be at peace rather than at war. It helps little to have cast out your own faults if you must quarrel with those of others.”
When we travel in the self-awareness of knowing our quarrel with life is usually started internally before it’s manifested externally, then travel is a perfect cure for the soul because it allows us to grow through the experience we could not otherwise have.