Media has made top dollar on people “finding themselves” while traveling – from movies like Little Miss Sunshine to books like Eat, Pray, Love. What these media topics subliminally say is that everyone has a need to find themselves, and getting out of your comfort zone is the best way to do this. People who read, listen to, or watch a piece of media on the topic are left with a warm and fuzzy feeling and a desire to do what the people in the story did.
But as can be seen from the vast array of different travel-based self-realization stories there is no mathematical formula, no specific type of travel vehicle, and no certain path that predicates self-realization. It is based on spirituality, something that is personal and spontaneous. This blog is no authority on spirituality, but we’d like to think we have a handle on travel. So here are four ways that you can focus on yourself and your own values on your next big road trip. We can’t promise a reinvented you, but we can promise you’ll discover things about yourself that had previously been unrealized.
1) Don’t Overpay for Happiness
Part of modern travel is hyper-organization. We lead busy lives, and many travelers don’t really enjoy coming home from their 9-5 jobs to spend hours planning the most cost-effective routes for their road trip or the 9 different flights that will allow them to see the 27 different wineries they want to visit on their European trip. Many busy people will opt for commercial cruise packages or very tourist-oriented tour packages. While these tour packages will certainly save time and sometimes money, they risk the traveler not being able to see things that they truly want to see – and they sometimes cost much more than just taking the extra time to plan out something completely unique.
Want a mix of unique and pre-destined travel? Opt for smaller, personalized travel agencies like Pure Adventures. Pure Adventures tailors trips to its clients, a feat that allows travelers to save money, see things they want to see, and create lasting connections with places and people.
2) Keep Off Social Media
This one is hard for many, especially millennial-aged travelers. Social media is such an insipid part of daily life that it seems natural to want to put your vacation on Facebook or Instagram immediately. While some of the stricter anti-technology evangelists worry that posting vacation photos could compromise the security of your home, basically letting the entire connected world see that no one is in your apartment, there are more spiritually important reasons to opt offline too.
Social media posts do focus on you, but in reality, they are focusing on presenting a superficial you to a lot of people you really don’t know that well. This is not to say don’t take photos, but take photos without posting them directly to Facebook. This will keep you in the moment and you’ll relive the memories once you get back and go through your photos. Alternately, consider keeping a journal so you can recall the sights, smells, and tastes through your written experience.
3) Travel with a Close Friend or Loved One
I know what you’re thinking. I’m trying to be focused on me, shouldn’t I be traveling by myself? But traveling with loved ones is one of the best ways to get in touch with yourself spiritually. Relationships require a deep self-awareness to be sustainable. They require compromise and reflection. Travel-wise, you both must take into consideration what would make both of you happy and reflect upon all the things that make you close to one another. Additionally, traveling with someone else is much safer than traveling alone, so why not take the stress out of travel and add in some fun with someone you trust?
4) Take the Road Less Traveled
You’ve done your research. You know where you want to go, and chances are that this was largely influenced by many reviews you’ve read on TripAdvisor or some site like that. But then you hit a site you’re interested in. A niche site that you find interesting, like a trail full of petroglyphs, but many others might not. Do you risk it without the safety net of good reviews?
Our opinion is a resounding yes. While the site itself may be a dud, or while you might get lost trying to find it, the experience of getting there is always worth it. While it may be hard to do research of lesser-known places with no prior knowledge of the area, travel companies like Pure Adventures are designed to help with these common travel planning barriers. With their vast local knowledge and their attention to their customers, Pure Adventures helps travelers find the less-known places for optimum adventure.
If there is one thing that we can learn from those many, many travel movies is that stepping out of your comfort zone always leads to something different. Difference or change usually leads to a greater understanding of what makes you laugh, what drives your curiosity, and overall what shapes your being. Embrace change as you travel and chances are you will reconnect with yourself and your life’s purpose, even in an unexpected way.
Denise Bickford was raised in Winterport, Maine, USA and has since traveled and lived all over the Western United States post-graduate school. Denise enjoys hiking, camping, traveling, ghost stories, sampling craft beers, and writing. Denise reads and translates German poetry as a hobby, which has largely influenced Denise’s travel interests and writing.