Some years ago, I first published my life’s manifesto towards personal development as a journey and tried to explain why I use solo travelling as a tool for personal growth.
It was the moment I took blogging seriously, bought my domain and started publishing on a regular basis.
I had no idea what I was doing, and how could this even be a niche for a blog. I had little knowledge of the world of motivational speakers and self-help books. (Yes, there is an entire universe of them, and some got really famous for their innovative ideas while others are a bit lame.)
As I wrote in 2016, personal growth is a journey and I am still taking the journey.
Although I have made a lot of changes in my life, did a ton of mistakes, and position myself more as a travel blogger, I have never given up the idea that started this life shift.
Take this blog as a sequel to the original personal growth manifesto, in which I will lay out why travelling is a tool for self-development.
Travelling is a tool for personal development
In my original personal growth post, which a cornerstone for my travel blog, I talked a lot about what made me start this journey. It was a delayed decision and feeling miserable was the trigger.
But years have passed, and I travelled some more, met all kinds of people and experienced the liberty of being a grown up. And it did me good.
When people ask me “Why do you travel?” I tell them that I see travelling as a tool for personal development.
I did a lot of solo travelling, before meeting my partner. Solo travelling was first a lack of fortune to find a travel partner, but later I have realised how much good it brought into my life.
Yes, solo travelling started as a necessity, as I was all depressed, stuck in a job I hated, and later on because I was in a foreign country, by myself.
Solo travelling forced me to make friends. And I failed a lot at making friends. I said all the inappropriate things, made people very angry, but it shaped me and helped me stay true to myself.
I’m still bad at making friends, but at least I can be a sociable and pleasant person, when you first meet me.
Another thing about solo travelling is that it’s unexpected. And not in a good way. It hits you in the head and breaks you to the ground. And lets you lay there, until you get angry and get back at it. And once you get back up, you discover that nobody else cares that much about your journey, but you have to take it, to understand that and how life works in general.
Paradoxical, most things are useless and make little or no sense at all, but people still do it. And it’s up to each one to decide on our journey if we want to take part in this vast nonsense or not. I guess it depends on the immediate interest you have from the outcome of the situation.
As you see, it’s not a walk in the park. While it seems like I want to discourage you to go solo travelling and start your self-developemnt journey, I do not want that. I want you see it as the greatest challenge of all and to start it with an open heart and to accept things that may come your way. There is no way around it, it’s all about acceptance.
Solo travelling and self-development is a bumpy journey and it boils down to accepting yourself.
If you haven’t tried it, you can’t imagine it. And if you have gone solo travelling and haven’t experienced what I described above, then you might not accepted it. But that’s ok, because it’s not for every one of us. It’s about letting go, and not all people I know are going to let go and go for it. But those are the ones that need this solo trip the most. It’s like this magical cure to life that nobody speaks about, but it works.
I believe that too many of us get to say “It’s not for me” before even trying that new thing. I used to say it a lot, and I still say it, although I know I need to try before I am entitled to say it. That’s also ok, but not trying it, means to stay the same. The be in the same place. To deal with the same kind of emotions and situation.
Although this can be applied to other areas of our lives, I will stick to travelling.
Why do you need to travel alone?
We don’t travel to escape anything, we travel to have everything. The explore everything. Or at least, a bit more than we thought it was possible to have.
Think of life and all its elements as a sphere, a ball, and you are in the centre of it. I am not talking about the egocentric kind of feeling about the world. I just want you to imagine your life, in a visual way, and see that everything you know and touch is what you call life and it’s all in that sphere.
But then you travel and you are no longer in that sphere. The sphere can’t travel, because it’s made of cities and people and the parks you played in as you were growing up. But you can move and you can travel, because you are not a tree. You just happened to be there.
But then you discover a new sphere, a new world, a new life. The further away you travel to, the more different this sphere is. At first you’re going to hate it. The food will be lousy and the people will be weird. Maybe they have different beds or toilets. Not to mention the constant noise they make, which they call communicating.
It’s all too much. Because it’s all coming at you at once, and you have to deal with all of it, at once. The basic need you have, food, shelter kick in and force you to learn a bit about this sphere, and how life works inside it.
If you come from a very comfortable sphere, any little discomfort will annoy you terribly. Imagine that every human interaction, a meal you eat or social situation can haunt you for life. Haunting is not what we define as pleasant. But this isn’t about pleasant. It’s about the unpleasant.
Solo travelling is about the moments you mess it up, and you end up in the wrong place.
Solo travelling it’s about how you get yourself out from the not so great situations and you make it the best you can.
That’s why solo travelling is as much as an outer journey as it is an inner journey. A journey of ups and downs. On which you acquire new skills, you face your demons, and you save the princess. And the princess is you.
The secret of personal development is choosing to change
Exhausting? I say exciting. What would life be without excitement? A monotonous day played on repeat. Groundhog’s Day. Until someone switches off the light.
Why not add some spice to it? And find out what makes you sparkle. But as heroes don’t know at the beginning of the journey what’s the thing that makes them spark, you won’t know either until you start your solo travelling.
Such a journey can be done at any age, and most of the times it doesn’t have to be physical if only you are willing to let your mind run free and accept new ways. New ideas. For me, that’s hard to do if I don’t move. My brain requires visuals to function. And that’s how I’m wired to think and to act.
And that’s why travelling does this. It takes me on a journey of self-development, a bumpy road of emotions and hidden treasures.