There are those who travel for the leisure of it — a honeymoon to Maldives or a family trip to Tokyo Disneyland. On the other hand, there are those who go traveling for self-discovery, booking a flight to escape and get some clarity even if just for awhile.
If that’s something that resonates with you, fret not. It’s actually quite common! Traveling for self-discovery isn’t as cliche as some people might think. In fact, it’s a valid reason because it’s one of the benefits of travel.
Hopping from one state, country, or continent to another is scientifically proven to affect you in positive ways.
For starters, it’s connected to your creativity. I personally believe that creativity is in all of us. Some people may just have it lying dormant within themselves. In fact, creativity isn’t even limited to arts and crafts as others might think.
Being creative means that you can think above and beyond, that you can find a solution to a problem in ways others might not have even considered (even when you’re a scientist in your lab or a math teacher educating confused teenagers on quadrants).
That’s why traveling for self-discovery also helps with unleashing your creative side. This is because constantly being on the road exposes you to more cultures that are largely different from your own. It pushes you out of your box and makes you see the world from a whole new perspective.
Exposure to other cultures also encourages you to become more empathetic, helping you to go beyond what you see on the surface and be more open-minded when it comes to meeting new people. Going to another country pops you out of your cultural bubble (or your own social comfort zone), helping you deepen your connection with other people who can be largely different from you and the environment you grew up in.
And most importantly, it can influence our concept of “The Self” (or basically how we view ourselves). This is what we mean when we say that “finding yourself” by traveling isn’t a scoff-worthy reason because it actually works. By living abroad, you gain more clarity on who you are and who you want to be.
Traveling subconsciously triggers a part of you to reflect and discern your surroundings and your circumstances. Because you’ll be exposed to different cultures (and in extension, different beliefs and values), it helps you define your own set of values.
It prompts you to ask yourself if a particular belief is something that you personally hold near and dear to you or if it’s only something that’s passed down to you by your elders or your own culture.
Moreover, it teaches you to be adaptive and resilient. When a luggage is your only closet and your next flight will be your “home” for the next 16 hours, sticking to your comfort zone is not an option. It’s something that we personally learned.
Now that we’ve given you proof that travel is true to its promise on helping you find yourself, this may have inspired an itch to travel.
If you’re not yet sure of your destination, here’s a list of the eight best places you can go to if you’d like to get some inner peace and reflect on how life has been recently.
1. Bali, Indonesia
It’s no surprise that Asia is a popular destination for a wellness-related itinerary. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with some of the city’s remoteness and how most of the countries’ culture placing a great importance to all things spiritual. Indonesia itself has a wide range of yoga retreats. Surrounded by lush forests, it’s definitely the place to be if you want to be somewhere serene.
2. Santiago de Compostela
Actually, the journey doesn’t start in Santiago de Compostela. The journey is to Santiago de Compostela in the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage walk and spiritual journey. There are various routes and starting points but it always ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Walking a few kilometers is great practice for traveling for self-discovery as you get to think and reflect.
3. Big Sur, California
You don’t have to fly to Asia or Europe to go soul searching. Sometimes, it’s just in the same continent in a quaint little place in California’s Central Coast.
Big Sur is a destination known for its beaches, hiking trails, and the upscale retreat center, the Esalen Institute. This posh yet rustic also enticed many creatives such as writers, musicians, and artists in the past so if you’re in a creative rut, going here may inspire you like it inspired them.
4. Jökulsárlón, Iceland
The Northern Lights will always come up whenever Iceland is mentioned. Not a surprise because witnessing the aurora borealis truly is a magical experience. But other than that, Jökulsárlón, the Crown Jewel of Iceland, also has a lot to offer.
For one, a boat tour on the glacier lake is an absolute must. The whole place itself feels like you’re in an Ice Age movie.
5. Tasmania, Australia
You can’t go more remote than this island in Australia. The continent of Australia itself seems to already have its own little world. The island state of Tasmania is on a whole new level. It has a vast wilderness setting with rugged mountains and water that seems to shine.
6. Tibet, China
Going to a place known for its spirituality can be predictable but it helps.
But with how quiet the surroundings are, coupled with picturesque lakes and mountains, you can’t deny that Tibet makes a great place to contemplate and reflect. All the more reason it makes a great destination if you’re traveling for self-discovery.
7. Florence, Italy
If you still prefer an urban setting over something that’s suburban, going to the world’s cradle of the Renaissance period is worth considering.
Littered with marvelous architecture and a muted rustic charm (as compared to others on this list), going to Florence is the perfect chance to go to its historical churches and ride the gondola by yourself (with the guide of course).