If you've ever been on social media (Facebook/Instagram), you'll likely come across a quote or two that would inspire you to pack up your bags and travel. I admit-- I even follow some travel bloggers where I hope to get inspiration on where my next adventure will bring me. There have even been days where I dreamed of dropping everything and following their example-- to bring my work with me and just go wherever I can. Believe me-- there are days when I still get so inspired of the photos they share on Facebook and the quotes that I feel speak to me the most.
But let me tell you this-- it's not the only way you can discover yourself.
Sure, there are people who will tell you otherwise. But to be honest, traveling doesn't always do that.
I'm not saying that traveling is wrong and that you shouldn't do it. By all means, go! If you've saved up for a trip that you've always wanted to take, if you've always dreamed of going to a certain country, or if you just want to take a break-- GO.
Traveling is a great way you can explore the world and see what's out there. But it does not mold you. It gets you inspired on things like the idea of learning a new language, trying a new cuisine, or even moving to a new city. But I strongly believe that the best way you can discover yourself is through the experiences you go through.
These experiences, no matter how good or horribly bad they were; they teach you to learn more about yourself and what you are capable of. When you go through a bad breakup or when you lose a parent, it may feel like the end of the world-- I've been there a number of times and I can truly attest to how difficult this is. On such instances, I've wanted to move to a different city and live a new life. I traveled to get away from the memory but at the end of my trip, I still have to return to the reality I left behind.
Even until today, there are still bits and pieces of my broken past that I try to mend. The only way you truly heal is when you allow yourself to and when you give yourself enough time. Yes, YOU. No one else can help you mend from a bad breakup or move on from a cheating boyfriend. You're truly the only person who can heal yourself. These experiences will help mold you into the person who you should be.
When you travel, you may feel amazed at the beautiful scenery before you and that you'd want to do this more often. If you travel alone, you might encounter an experience where your patience or courage gets tested; perhaps because you missed your turn and you were forced to ask a stranger for help. And when you were able to go to the right place you intended to, you'll feel proud of yourself for being able to do that. Back home, this would have been something someone else had to do for you. Or perhaps you had to deal with a hotel losing your reservation and you had no choice but to look for another option. You may be amazed at yourself because you didn't lose your cool.
Yes, traveling tests us. It helps us experience things that will mold us. But no, traveling is not the teacher; our experiences are.
So if you feel the need to travel just so you can "discover yourself," think again. You certainly don't need to spend your life savings on an experience you can learn back home. Find yourself in the small experiences you encounter everyday. And when you can, try to do something you never thought you could do. Why do you need to travel 1,000 miles if you'll learn the same lesson back home?
But if the scenery is nice (and you have travel money), go for it.