Travel changes you, but you have to be willing to change, too.
After working overseas and travelling over the past year, I’ve become an even greater advocate for travel. Now I have an intense case of wanderlust and here I am, reflecting on all that has happened with a full heart.
I came to South Korea with the intention of growing through travel and making an impact while achieving mindfulness. It wasn’t easy at all, but this is how travel changed me throughout and this is how I believe it could change you, too.
You become the master of your life
You learn to take charge of your life and become braver and more independent with every challenge and obstacle you face. You learn to embrace change, create change and let go of anything you can’t control. You learn to control your thoughts, feelings and how you react to certain situations. You no longer settle for less than what you deserve and now you’re not afraid to go after your dreams and create opportunities for yourself.
You adapt a growth mindset
You become more open-minded, constantly choosing experiences that help you grow and feed your curiosity. You continue to live your truth and not what others expect of you.
You’ve met others that taught you many things about yourself and the world around you. They’ve opened your eyes to new experiences and perspectives and challenged you to step outside of your comfort zone even more. You’re reminded of your experiences that anything is possible and that there are other ways to live a fulfilling lifestyle.
You bring your presence everywhere
You realize how minuscule some of your problems are with every place that you travel to. You’ve seen so much beauty in this world as well as the not-so-glamorous and even traumatizing parts of the world, but you see it all through the eyes of your soul. You become more adaptable and flexible with all the dynamic changes and you learn to live with less. You also learn to live in the moment and enjoy the simple, little things in life more than you used to.
You love a little more
You will definitely feel lonely throughout your journey of self-discovery and uncertainty. However, you have your support system back home that’s there for you even with the heart-wrenching long distances and 14-hour time zone difference. Your bond with them is even stronger for the time they make to talk to you and listen to your endless adventures and rants.
Then you cross paths with your students, expats, travellers and locals and they become a huge part of your life forever—even if it’s just within your heart. Even when they’re scattered in the distance, you know that you could stay in touch with them through the ever-evolving internet. You also know that the world is a lot smaller than we think. To some benefit, they give you more of a reason to visit their home countries or travel often so that you could meet them halfway across the world someday.
The most important love you learn from this entire journey is the self-love that you needed to stay strong. You’ve been through a lot, but you learn to be patient and not give yourself such a hard time every time you trip and fall. With every experience you pick yourself up, standing a little taller each time.
If you fall in love with your solitude and spend some quality time reflecting, you might hit one of those big moments where you discover your truest passions and purpose in life. For me, I developed a greater love for travel and a passion for teaching. I also rekindled my first love in writing and was constantly inspired to share my travels.
Summarizing one of my favourite quotes from my published poetry in Korea, this is what I truly believe travel does to you:
“When you travel around the world
and travel alone,
you will experience incredible adventures,
develop your own
You become more compassionate, grateful and appreciative for all the loves of your life and life itself. Wherever I am in the world now, I constantly remind myself that if I survived an entire year living in a foreign country and traveling solo in three other countries, then I'm sure I'll be able to conquer what’s ahead.
This article was originally published in Verge Magazine.
Tina Chow is an avid traveller, aspiring writer, and visionary change-maker. She is passionate about millennial leadership, self-empowerment, and career development. Currently, she is embarking on her new adventure as an English teacher in South Korea.