>> Over the years I noticed travelling had an immensely positive impact on me. Especially solo travel can push us out of our comfort zone and teach us many aspects of our personalities. It highlights our strengths and weaknesses and helps us develop tools to live a richer & more fulfilling life. I knew I wasn’t the only one who reaped the benefits of travelling for personal development.
This guest post series ‘Travel for Personal Development’ introduces you to others who have, in one way or another, travelled for personal development: be it to learn a new language, to mend a broken heart or to overcome an anxiety. Hopefully it will encourage you to travel more yourself and perhaps even help you to overcome barriers. <<
Meet Loraul who experienced a transformative journey when her company sent her on a work assignment of a different kind. She left her home country a timid person and returned with newly found confidence and zest for life that she didn’t have before. Read on to read about her inspirational story!
How a Work Assignment of a Different Kind Changed my Life!
Everybody travels in their own unique way; whether it is for business, pleasure, to visit family, personal development, or self-discovery. Everybody has a reason for the path that they are on, even if they do not recognize it yet.
Travel is something that was instilled in me at young age. My family and I never missed an opportunity to go to Disneyland, Hawaii, Europe, or even to visit our cabin or go camping. To say I had an appreciation for it would be an understatement. I took every opportunity in high school to travel, visiting Disneyland with my band class, France with my French class, Egypt as my grad trip, and China as an extra chaperone after graduation.
About one year after graduating from a Tourism program in college, I sort of fell into a position at a travel agency. This travel agency, based in The Netherlands, is very unique. We are solely for humanitarian, missionary, non-profit and charity travel. It is very challenging sometimes but also very rewarding.
My company has a philosophy that employees need to be their best selves in order to serve our clients in the best way possible and as a result, every new employee is invited to attend an annual “Journey” (self-discovery retreat) in The Netherlands. So here I am, barely settled in the position I am and I am preparing to take my first solo adventure. As well as participating in this retreat, I also planned extra days in London beforehand and in Amsterdam afterwards.
I am typically not the type of person to show emotion but after a very teary good bye to my parents, I was off on my 10 day European adventure…my first time traveling alone, backpacking, and staying in hostels. Having been to London a few times prior was definitely beneficial. I felt like a pro taking the tube and navigating through the city. It was nice to visit old favorites, visit new places (aka the Harry Potter Studio Tour because I am OBSESSED), but also to just wander with no agenda which is not something I would normally do.
What came next was the most terrifying, flying to a country I had never been to, meeting people I have never met before, and participating in something called a “Journey” but given no details about what lay ahead. My type A, over-controlling personality, was on high alert.
I don’t think I can give everything away, but in short; we spent 2 very intense days at the most beautiful bed and breakfast farm house near the borders to Germany and France and basically had to address 4 main things: the timeline of your life, your past, where you are currently, where you want to see yourself, and how you will achieve that. It was beautiful to hear everyone’s individual stories.
It puts your own life into perspective as everyone had different stories to share and everyone has walked through different paths, but here we are all together working towards the same goal. For me, it was a very emotional struggle. I am a very private person and to share my history and my story and to have to physically talk about my journey was absolutely terrifying!
In a very strange way though, after we had completed these very intense 2 days, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and self-awareness. I didn’t realize how much of a tense and anxious person I was until then. Apparently all it took was flying halfway across the world, going on hikes through the rain and being present in the moment to realize where I was at with myself.
After some very tearful goodbyes, we all parted ways. Most were heading straight home or to the airport, but I was off on my next adventure to Amsterdam for a few days. I began my journey as a very timid and somewhat broken person, and left with a new found confidence and self-worth and in that moment, I was exactly where I was supposed to be!
The next few days were some of the best days I have ever spent while traveling. I wasn’t just on a vacation, for the first time I felt like I was traveling with a purpose, and that purpose was for me to embrace life. I went to a pub crawl with 2 girls from my hostel, took myself out for dinner, visited museums, and just wandered the canals and streets with a sense of clarity and passion.
I was very sad to come home and adjust back into a “normal” routine and I think back to that trip often. It definitely shaped the person I am today in this very moment. I made immediate changes in my life: started the travel blog I had been dreaming of starting, got back into my gym routine and have flourished, went back to my dance group with a newly found confidence, starting working to live and not the other way around, and most recently, moved into a new position in my company that I am so much happier in.
I owe a lot of gratitude to that experience and Amsterdam will always hold a special place in my heart.
Travel is truly for personal growth and self-discovery. Embracing the vulnerability in being in a foreign place, away from the comforts and normality of your regular routine and truly being present and letting your soul be free is truly a remarkable and life changing experience. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What about you? Have you had a similar experience? Did travel shape you in an unexpected way? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
About the Author
Loraul is a Canadian and local Vancouverite with a great passion for dance, anything vintage and of course, travel. She blogs over at Suitcase and Stiletto Heels. So far, she has traveled to over 10 countries (hey, it’s a start). But she has crossed a lot of experiences off her bucket list. She hopes to inspire other dreamers like herself to always embrace what you are passionate about and live life to the absolute fullest!
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