7 Ways to Find Your Path through World Travel
“Most of us choose to live like monks anyway, rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phony ritual that justifies the present.”
-Rolf Potts, Author of Vagabonding
Written by: Scott Dinsmore
If you’re visiting from my recent guest post on Zen Habits, welcome to Reading For Your Success! This site is dedicated to living life on your terms. I constantly read, learn and experiment. Then I share it all with my readers in the form of personal development articles and actions for finding your own path to success and freedom.
Check out the bottom of this post (and the top 10 list in the right column) for a breakdown of some of my most useful articles.
Thanks for reading.
Today I want to talk about adventure. In 3 days I’ll be marrying my college sweetheart of 8 years and then venturing off on a honeymoon to Croatia. Any excuse to get out of the country is a good one, but they don’t get better than this. The next few days and weeks are going to be breathtaking.
There is something about travel that opens one’s mind in a way unlike any other. Simply being out of our typical environment strips us of the standards and expectations set around our daily lives. The ones we’ve molded ourselves to without even knowing it. Maybe it’s the way we expect people to talk or how they dress or the jobs they do. To some extent we become our surroundings, for better or for worse.
The best way to break the pattern of mindlessly following the routine of everyday life is to take a drastic leap out of it.
Travel is just that. Ideally in a foreign country. I spent a summer in London at LSE and a total of a year and a half living in Sevilla, Spain running a small business and soaking in every ounce of culture, language and life lessons I could.
The experience continues to mark the biggest turning point in my world outlook.
That’s when I first stated to realize that life did not have to be lived the way I was used to everyone living it. The people in Sevilla could not have had more different lives than those in San Francisco, yet they seemed to love their moments more than I’d ever seen.
That was my first experience on the road less traveled. I haven’t looked back since.
*Side note: For those of you who don’t think you have the money to travel, you are likely mistaken – I know I was. Frequent Flyer Master and Travel Ninja will change your perspective and show you how to book killer free international trips.
Why You Need to Get Out of the Country. 7 Ways it Will Change You.
1. Shift your focus. Daily details disappear in the midst of seeing a new world. None of your little tasks or emails matter where you’re going. Get used to seeing the big picture and it will stay with you upon your return.
2. Take time with yourself. How often do you really get to be alone from day to day? Time with ourselves (or those we enjoy) is when we get to learn the deep things in life. What makes us happy? What’s our purpose? It’s not until we drown out the noise that we get a chance to really start finding our own path.
3. Don’t get anything done. Society trains us that accomplishment is about how much you get done in a day. This thinking has to stop or it will run you to the grave. It’s ok to just be. You’re only task on an adventure is to not do anything at all. Simply explore. That’s nearly impossible to manufacture at home.
4. Learn you don’t have the answers. It’s easy to think you have life figured out when you do the same things every day. As soon as this thinking takes over, it’s time to step back and reflect. Get out and find some new questions. Often people expect to go out and find all the answers, but after a long trip you might have nothing but more questions. Awesome.
5. Make time for the big ideas. Free your mind. You have to escape the confines of your routine to really let your mind free. The further from your usual reality the better. Think big and capture the ideas somewhere (notebook, mindmap, or scribbles on post cards). You won’t even have to try. New experiences trigger the imagination better than anything.
6. There’s no comparison. Comparison drains energy. It’s likely affecting you whether you know it or not. In another country, culture, language or society, nothing is comparable. You won’t be jealous of someone’s job or how they look or live, because it’s all apples to oranges. You get to put down your guard and simply enjoy the new interactions. The focus shifts from judging to learning. The only comparison you’ll likely experience is how much simpler, yet enjoyable others’ lives are. That can be the most eye-opening of all.
7. Realize you don’t matter that much. Immersing yourself in another culture deepens your perspective like nothing else. You quickly realize what you’re doing in your bubble is really not that major in the scheme of things. Allow this to take the pressure off yourself and stop taking so many simple wonders for granted. I spent a few weeks in Africa a while back, and wow, that’s how you’ll start to appreciate the small things. A pair of socks, your own bathroom or simply fresh water. Stress becomes a little harder to find in that light.
New experiences mean new tools. We learn something from every one. Start having them today. Whether it’s expanding our taste buds on some fresh local eats, or expanding our mind with renting a Smart Car with zero understanding of the native tongue.
One ‘aha’ for me was noticing the small Spanish restauranteur who was a terrible advertiser, until I realized it wasn’t because he didn’t know how, but because he didn’t want or need any more customers. He was just keeping it simple. That thinking isn’t too common where I’m from.
Don’t worry about finding the experiences. Just get yourself into a foreign land and they will find you.
Find Yourself by Losing Yourself
The people who haven’t traveled don’t think they’re missing much, and those who have, don’t know how they could live without it.
If you haven’t been outside of your environment lately (or ever), make it a priority. Make it a must.
Telling yourself you don’t have enough time or enough money are not valid excuses, they are just statements of priority. If you get creative, you can travel like a king for less than your monthly rent. Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Work Week and Rolf Potts of Vagabonding teach (and prove) this better than anyone.
There are ways of experiencing the world out there that you could never imagine. Some better, some worse, but all different and worth the ride. Spend time in another culture and you will be changed. Ideas will expand and your realm of what’s possible will grow. All of this helps us better find our path.
Life does not have to be lived the way it was in the past. Most people do because that’s what’s easy. But what’s fun? What fires you up? Let those who are different from you be your inspiration.
I know I will find that along The Dalmatian Coast next week. And believe me, I will have my notebook close in hand and be ready to report back what I’m sure will be an entirely new and invigorating perspective on what I thought I already had figured out.
“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
While I’m traveling:
Since I will be out experiencing the wonders of a new land, I will be doing a lot of things, but one of those will not be spending time online. However, in my absence I wanted to provide some resources to keep you busy learning and acting. While I’m on my journey, I hope you’ll take one of your own. Below are a few of my favorite paths with some of my best articles and books to get you going:
Take an Awesome Adventure
Get Calm and Remove Some Stress
Outsource Your Life and Get Massively Productive
- 7 Steps to Finishing a Non-Fiction Book in Half the Time While Retaining Twice as Much
- Living the 80/20 Life: 5 Ways to Achieve More with Less
- Quadruple Your Productivity and Enjoy a Little Life: 8 Steps to Getting Things Done
Get Ridiculously Healthy
- How to live to 100: Lessons from the Blue Zones
- A Simple Guide How to Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants
- Michael Pollan’s Top 14 Food Rules to Healthy Eating
- Eat Simply and Reclaim Your Energy
Get Super Motivated
- Be Your Own Best Competition: A Guide to Victory
- Make ‘No’ Your Best Motivator
- The Most Dangerous Word in The World
- 13 Life Lessons I Learned from Warren Buffett
Find What You’re Meant to Do on this Earth
- The Beginner’s Guide To Being Congruent
- Strengths Finder 2.0
- The Power of Purpose
- Awaken the Giant Within
- What Color is Your Parachute
- What Color is Your Parachute Workbook
Enjoy the adventure and I’ll see you in a few weeks!
What adventures have changed your life and how? Which do you recommend? Share with us in the comments.