Yes, you’ve guessed it, it really does! Not only has travelling made me more mature and self-aware, it has really made me see clearly my own likes and dislikes. It sounds funny to say so, but I believe most of us are somewhat in denial on things like these.
But the real reason writing this piece is because I’ve been reading too many articles that overly glamourize the quest towards self-discovery. And on the other hand, possibly for SEO reasons, I found extremely negative titles to crash the dreamy aspirations of travel, though they are actually quite reasonable.
Honestly, why can’t we be neutral and realistic about this?
This whole shebang is not for everyone, and definitely should not be just for the ‘gram’ (Instagram). We must be ready to dig deep and then the benefits will surface naturally.
Openness to self and travel
For a start, are we truly open to trying new experiences? are we truly open to ourselves? Let’s face it, we all have our thresholds and limits, but are we willing to throw it out of the window? If we can’t even ditch the prejudices we have in our heads, then how are we really going to explore the person within?
Not saying that this is bad: we are all unique individuals. Perhaps then this whole ‘finding yourself by travelling’ is just not for you.
Acknowledging and Accepting
My overseas experiences have mostly been great but that does not discount those weird encounters and maybe racist remarks that I’ve got in some places. Was I prepared to enter train cabins that are filthy with oddly gazing strangers beside you? Was I prepared for ridiculous delays and inefficient systems? Was I even ready to be confronted by people who gave me weird stares because I was different?
We acknowledge that things have happened to us, be it for good or for bad, it should not be internalized then making quick judgments. This is when the positive and negative viewpoints come into play.
Positivity vs. Negativity
Look at these experiences objectively: are we becoming that over-generalizing person to say that “Oh, all Europeans are nasty” or “Southeast Asians are scammers”? In a spate of anger, perhaps these slurs come out unknowingly, but it should not be the definitions at the end of the day.
In finding the best version of yourself, we usually have to observe these situations and dissect the good and the bad out of it. Take the good, and remind yourselves of the bad so that you will never make the same mistakes. Everyone is brought up differently, regardless of the country’s culture. Once we see past that, not only are you more forgiving to others, you are also doing the same to yourself: good step ahead towards self-discovery!
The inertia for the first step out was very high. How do I leave the comfortable background of Singapore and take on the journey so far away? I’ve seen so many people withholding their preconceptions overseas, when in fact it is the best time to let yourself go. It’s not going to be easy, but once that first step is taken, I’m sure the road to self-discovery will only be easier.