The One Thing That Will Change Your Life

Story by Amazing Perspective @amazperspective

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! ~Dr. Seuss

If there’s one thing that will change your life, it’s traveling. I didn’t realize the affects it has on our lives until I started wondering off to new places myself. Traveling is the therapy you never knew you needed (and would work) until you actually start doing it.

Traveling is as much about visiting new places as it is about the personal journey into self-discovery, and where those discoveries lead you. This past weekend I hosted and facilitated the “Travel As A Personal Journey” storytelling discussion, featuring Nomadic Matt, Ernest White II, Sucheta Rawal, Erik Trinidad, and Olga Maria at the fifth annual New York Travel Festival (NY Trav Fest). Listening to their stories, I learned we each have our own travel stories that change our lives in different ways…

You may quit your job 

After a trip to Thailand in 2005, Matthew Kepnes decided to quit his job to finish his MBA and travel the world. His trip was supposed to last one year. Today, more than eleven years later, Matt is still roaming the world. He runs the award-winning budget travel site, Nomadic Matt, and wrote the New York Times bestseller, “How To Travel The World On $50 A Day.” He opened a hostel in Texas, and leads yearly group tours in Europe and Southeast Asia. He also launched a nonprofit organization called FLYTE, which sends kids abroad to bring their classroom experiences to life.

You may start a nonprofit organization and start writing children’s books

Sucheta Rawal worked in investment banking, market research and human capital consulting. Her vacations to Russia and Morocco, where she volunteered at an orphanage and women’s empowerment center, inspired her to get out of the cubicle, travel more meaningfully and engage with locals. She created a blog in 2011 called Go Eat Give, which is now a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, that educates readers in more than 120 countries about sustainable and volunteer traveling. Aside from being featured in numerous publications, Sucheta has also written her own series of children’s books called Beato Goes To, which aims to inspire kids to learn about different countries and cultures.

You may create a television show

That’s what Ernest White II is currently working on. After trekking around the globe to new places, meeting new people and befriending the locals in each of the countries he visited, Ernest decided to create a travel series for television. Besides running his multicultural travel portal, Fly Brother, being a contributing writer at the literary travel journal, Panorama, and the founding editor of digital men’s magazine, Abernathy, he’s been featured on the Travel Channel’s television series, Destination Showdown and Jamaica: Bared, and in the 2013 documentary, Gringo Trails. His television series is set to air on Roku TV, and will lead viewers on a journey to the best secret spots you can find (uninhibited by tourists), starting with the first place that grabbed his heart: the city of São Paulo.

You may become an influencer

Olga Maria, a Latina travel and lifestyle influencer, fell in love with traveling during an exchange program in college that left an imprint on her heart. She created the blog Dreams In Heels and the community Latinas Who Travel to inspire Latina women to travel and get involved in new adventures. She’s also involved in projects that send Latina children and teens from low income homes to destinations around the world. In 2012, she was named the “Next Generation Latina” by Latina Magazine.

You will find inspiration and gain a new perspective on life

For me, travel has been about escaping to find inspiration and forgotten pieces of myself. It’s about giving in to the curiosity of experiencing how people from different parts of the world live, and taking that knowledge to improve our own lives in some way, and to live a more meaningful life. I see it in my work and how I show up in my own life.

My journey began in Cabo San Lucas, then Barcelona, places throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Bali and Hong Kong. Amsterdam and Italy… I’m addicted to the stamps and the rush I feel each time I board a plane and wake up in a new place, but also what I discover about life and myself each time I travel.

I push myself during my solitary excursions to grasp my capacity for dealing with unfamiliar settings and situations. That builds self-confidence. It teaches you how to interact with different types of people and conduct yourself in new surroundings. It cultivates compassion toward humanity. And builds tolerance, acceptance and respect toward other people, their perspectives and their cultures just by exposing yourself in their environments and how they live their lives.

Traveling is a tool that defines, and shapes our perspectives and our lives. It’s a mirror that reflects back who and what you are, and the parts of yourself you’d forgotten about. If you’re open to understanding its affects, and digging in to decipher the amalgamation of the sights, sounds, people and experiences, I guarantee you will come out a changed person. You may not notice the affects right away, but they’re there. They plant themselves inside you the moment you arrive in that new destination and step off the plane.

And while you may not start a nonprofit organization, create a television show or a travel blog, traveling unequivocally inspires you to think about and go about life in new ways. So get out there and go places. Where will you travel next? How have your travels changed your life?