Travel has given me many things:
Motivation: There's no doubt about it, there's a lot of motivation in travel. I spend most of my time while not traveling working many jobs in an effort to save up more money for my next trip! Saving money is a big part of my life now, and I look back even a few years ago before I fell in love with travel where saving money wasn't really on the agenda for me, I thought it was just something people do when they need to buy a house or have kids. Travel truly is a gift, and I know not everyone has the same goals as I do when it comes to traveling. I know for many it is just a dream, but I am here to say it's all possible! I am lucky to have had the opportunity to travel since I was a young. Many trips with parents, and then trips on my own and with friends since I was 19 out of my own pocket. It's all out there, waiting for you, if it is your choice to go, see, and do it!
Forward thinking: This is something I realized only recently. Travel has got me to think about my own future. Where do I see myself in the next year, or years? Literally, where? What am I doing? What am I bringing to the world and my surroundings? In the past 6-8 months, I planned a 3 month trip, went on that trip, and then upon return got a working holiday visa to spend the next year in Australia. Even now I am thinking past that year...will I do another backpacking trip to South America? Volunteer with sea turtle rescue in Costa Rica? Move to England? All of these are on my mind. I have never thought this far ahead before, and travel has helped me feel in tune with myself and the choices I am making for my future.
Showing you who you really are: I was starting to realize this towards the end of my 3 month solo trip. I thought traveling solo would turn me into the extroverted extremely confident version of myself that I always wanted to be. Turns out, you can't force yourself to be something other than who you really are deep down. I may be an extroverted introvert, and this trip taught me that I need a good balance of being with people, making sure my own needs are being met, and that it's okay to be alone. I did gain more confidence too, as solo travel puts you in situations where you are the only one who can help yourself. I learned no one would babysit me and hold my hand through life and sometimes it's just better to take care of things yourself. Solo travel is a challenge, because you are on your own through every daunting and stressing situation, like you need to ask for directions, or basically any time you need to assert yourself and ask for help. I will admit, there were a few times I wanted to break down and cry, or scream, but I pulled through each time and am amazed how much I have grown as a person and applied this mentality to my at home life too. Knowing who you are, will help you appreciate the differences in everyone you meet. We all have something unique to offer and share, and I love how travel brings together people into your life at the right time.
Grateful: This is a BIG one. Traveling makes you appreciative for what you already have. You open your eyes to new cultures, people, places, and beliefs and realize a lot of the people out there in the world are happy with less than you have. I remember seeing children playing on the dirt streets in Cambodia, not a care in the world and perfectly happy. It makes me realize how much America(and many other countries I'm sure) cycles you into a "buy, buy, buy" mentality. Every new item equals (momentary)happiness, but does it really add up? I can honestly say I usually feel worse after I buy something that is more of a want than a need. Maybe part of this goes with guilt of trying to save money, haha. Traveling has changed my mentality so much where I am willing to spend less at home in order to "splurge" more on experiences while I'm abroad. It's all about what you're willing to trade off for in life, if you're motivated to travel. Saying no to going out and partying, having the most expensive makeup and clothing, bringing your lunch to work every day... I make what "sacrifices" I can so I can travel. I have learned that I am the type of person that experiences mean so much more than material items. I really like this quote:
"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer"
Travel is an investment you make into your life, for the rest of your life. These lessons and memories will stay close in your heart forever.