Updated: Sep 17
Travelling is more than just an adventure. It gives opportunities to learn, grow and reconnect with your authentic self. Choosing travelling or expatriation as a journey for sustainable changes is like choosing the world as your laboratory for new experiences. By disconnecting with the world you know, you give yourself the opportunity to discover or reconnect with what is important for you.
“ You don’t know what you are capable of until you put yourself in a position to do something you have never done before.” Dave Cooke- .
Everyday we have to face obligations, challenges and choices. Now and then, to detach ourselves from work is beneficial to release the pressure related to responsibilities. Vacations and breaks are times that allow ourselves to fully relax our body and mind, regain our energy and find a healthy balance in life(1). They can be as powerful as natural “free thinking times” (e.g. meditating, having a shower, being in nature or sleeping) which help us to develop our creativity and an inner balance by having a free flow of thought and emotions.
In his conference in 2015 Cao Dan exposed the facts that “ Travel, to a great extent, improves people’s ability to adapt to society and nature, increases the opportunity of learning communication between people. Makes people become more optimistic, confident and happy, reduces the inner despair and all kinds of concerns, begin to tolerate all kinds of culture, take the initiative to accept the cultural differences, (...)” and can even help us with all kinds of difficulties in later life to take positive. (1)
However, following their study, Israeli reservists, Etzion, Eden and Lapidot noticed something else about the subjects’ happiness when they returned to work. “After a month, the effect faded, and they were as happy — or as miserable — as they had been before they left. Psychologists have since discovered a similar effect holds for even the best vacations: the benefits don’t last very long. When mood, energy, engagement and happiness are measured among workers before and immediately after a vacation, and then weeks or months later, psychologists find the emotional boost a vacation provides lasts about three or four weeks. (But for perfectionists and workaholics, the fade-out may happen faster.)” (…) “When psychologists ask people how they feel during a holiday, they find that happiness levels rise rapidly during the first few days, peak around day eight, then plateau or slowly decline. While two- or three-week vacations may have their virtues — they can let you travel farther and spend more time learning about other cultures, for example — long vacations don’t necessarily translate into greater happiness. So rather than treating vacations as big, annual events that are completely separate from our working lives, taking shorter but more frequent vacations every few months could provide greater levels of recovery. As psychologist Jessica de Bloom, a vacation researcher at Finland’s University of Tampere, puts it, breaks are like sleep: you need to take them regularly to benefit. “ (1) The purpose, length and the way we choose to fill this time is personal and depends on different criteria, such as our own standards and resources. These criteria will greatly influence the benefits you will gain from any vacation. Chosen wisely, they can be used as an alternative way to learn and grow as a human being.
Choosing alternatives ways of discovery such as solo travel, gap year travels, expatriation, working holiday-visa or international student programs can bring these benefits to another level. An American study highlighted that living abroad increase self-awareness and development. The longer the expatriation is, the better you understand yourself. This experience allows you to distinguish the norm and the values which define yours, and which are the ones that reflect your education and culture. To travel often, for shorter time periods has less impact on this process of self-realisation. It is the same with visiting a large number of countries without staying for a while has few consequences on self-discovery. Being an expat offers several advantages such as a better understanding of your own taste, your moods and emotions (2) however it can be really challenging.
In my opinion, if the opportunity is there, a total immersion in someone else’s lifestyle is an experience everyone should take at least once in their lifetime. More than just an experience, you can be transformed by travel. Travelling is an action based learning process which means that “it encourages people's capacity to adapt to new situations, bridge the gap between theory and practice. It results in a permanent behaviour change and impacts organisations for the long term.”(3) It helps to make sustainable changes in ourselves through a journey of Self reflection. It can become a time to take back control over our life; recover, reconnect with the present, with others, with nature and also with our authentic self. Exposing ourselves to new experiences, opens the mind to new perspectives. You increase our awareness, explore and reconnect with our human natural traits*, challenge and identify healthy boundaries while processing a wide range of emotions. By playing with the unknown, going out of our comfort zone and facing vulnerability, you give ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow. They give you different levels of opportunities to go onto a process to touch base with your authentic self.
With some guidance and four major steps, this kind of experience can become a sustainable transformation giving you the impulse to take the first step. Travel mentors are here to guide you in the process toward using those times to push your limits, embrace your full potential, discover how capable you are and anticipate a smooth transition back to your daily routine using this travel spark as a booster in a “safer” way.
Feel the pulse, embrace that impulse. Experience-once in a lifetime. Choose to challenge yourself being prepared to be part of this life-changing adventure. Little steps by little steps finding a peaceful balance in our inner-world, we can spread seeds of ideas and empower the world.
In the next article I will dive into those four steps. In the meantime, I offer you the first challenge to experience getting out of your comfort zone. Samantha Sacchi, one of my collaboratrice and CEO of the Self Academy gave us this exercise. You need to experience it with someone, if possible unknown. Be face to face with that person and hold 1 minute of eye contact. What did you feel ?
Click here to consult the FREE sample of the questionnaire that will help you to make the most of your travels
(1) Source : “The secrets to a truly restorative vacation.” Author : Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is a senior consultant at Strategic Business Insights in Menlo Park, California, as well as a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He is also the author of the 2013 book "The Distraction Addiction." 20 Dec 2016 ) https://ideas.ted.com/the-secrets-to-a-truly-restorative-vacation/ Site IDEAS.TED.COM
(2) source : site Courrier Expat "Psychologie.Vivre à l’étranger pour mieux se connaître " https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/psychologie-vivre-letranger-pour-mieux-se-connaitre?fbclid=IwAR2iLmWbdpcj8zReQlTs5N1nw7i4IOcK0DUlLIeiMWyTrHKrplI4wDnVISo 26/03/2018 Author : Science Daily . https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180320123446.htm
(3) Report “Action -based learning. It’s the Future of Corporate L & D. Bridge the Gap Between Corporate Training and real work outcomes.” By myQuest.