Insights from the Pavement: Meeting Yourself along the Way

If done right, traveling will instill in the traveler the right mix of confidence and real-world experiences that garner never ending personal growth.

Travel, for many people, is a glamorous, unreachable activity they search for their entire lives.  In some cases, it’s a motivator.  In others, it’s “just not the right time.”

Whatever the conclusion, it always seems to reward those who engage in it.  And it treats us to myriad lessons and replenishes our drive.

At least, this is what people “just know” about those who have traveled – it’s the persona that experienced travelers carry with them that shines through.  People know that it took a lot of courage to leave the comforts of home in exchange for the rocky shores of the unknown.  And for this reason travel is seen the world over as very a coveted and enticing activity.


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What people must be learning on their treks abroad is also something that people back home are intrigued by.  Finding a “favorite country” or answering questions like “weren’t you scared,” or “how did you handle [that challenge]” are among the many indicators that people in the stay-at-home community are truly curious about the wilds of the foreign world.

Eventually, every traveler is faced with challenges on the road that they simply never had the ability to plan for when preparing for their journey.  This is one of the many things that separate those who do travel from those who want to travel.  But once you’re out there, nothing stands in between the traveler and these inevitable, life-changing challenges.  Traveling removes this buffer by throwing the traveler into a foreign place where their tools have been stripped away and everything they have learned is practically useless.

The type of savvy and wit that works in our native lands does little to overcome obstacles that defy even our most commonly tackled problems in our home lives.  And it’s challenges like these that allow us to realize that the tools that we use to make our everyday lives easier, may well be shields that we actually use to shelter us from seeing what we’re really made of.

And in that, traveling allows us the opportunity to metaphorically “shake hands” with the person who navigates difficult waters without the use and convenience of our previous box of tools.

Thinking on our feet, critically assessing threatening situations, quickly finding exits and myriad other resources are among the many wonderful tools that traveling brings us.  But none are more important than the moment when we dust ourselves off, look back upon our last sensational achievement and realize that we have just met the real person within.

Insights from the Pavement is a new style of blog that I am trying out.  These will be posted a couple times per week for the next few months.  And I am interested in what my readers and passersby think of them.  So be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section.


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