Shift Happens :: How Travel Changes Your Perspective (Part II)

Bhutan Yoga Retreat

Travel changes you. That’s so clear it goes without saying (even though we just said it).  As traveling yogis we spend a lot of time thinking about exactly why we do this and why we love it so much. Suffice it to say, we’re big believers in the benefits of adventuring. The insights we’ve gleaned from traveling from one side of the globe to the other have become part of who we are and how we see the world.  And we can’t imagine learning those lessons any other way. So without further ado, here are a half dozen ways travel changes you for the better.

Travel Gives You Resilience 

The logic here sounds circular, but hear us out — travel helps change your perspective because it literally changes your perspective. Back home at your desk, work might seem like the most important thing in the world. But from the top of a mountain with the first rays of sunrise peeking over the horizon? Not so much. By stepping outside of your usual concerns for even a few days, what once seemed carved in stone can seem very much relative. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have to file another report, but at least you’ll have another viewpoint to fall back on when everyday stressors are bearing down.

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Language Immersion 101

Most of us took a language class or two while growing up. Apart from learning to ask about the weather or what time it is, a lot of it goes by the wayside without practice. It’s a heartening factoid that immersing in a foreign culture day in and out roughly doubles the rate of learning versus sitting (bored) the a classroom. The benefits of learning a second language are well-studied and super cool.  Widening your foreign lexicon improves your memory and the ability to multitask.  And, bonus, you  actually strengthen your abilities in your mother tongue by learning the underlying language rules. If those aren’t perspective-changing qualities, we’ll eat our hats.

On an adventure with The Travel Yogi you’ll always have a local guide that speaks English, so you don’t have to sweat it out with a phrasebook if you don’t want to. But if you want to take a shot at “hello” in Spanish or French or, Dzongkha say, the opportunity to practice will be with you every day. Regardless of your destination, learning a few phrases and greetings usually brings smiles from the locals, and sometimes some good-natured giggles.  People the world over appreciate any effort foreigners make to relate. Which brings us to the next point…

Exposure Equals Empathy

Anyone who thinks there’s a hard and fast definition of “normal” hasn’t traveled much. When you travel you’re exposed to value and belief systems that are very different. There’s no better (or more fun) way to challenge your old views and build empathy than through direct exposure. Depending on where you go, this could take very different forms.

Seeing how a collectivist culture works can show you the flip side of a North American’s individualist viewpoint. Architectural differences based on climate might give you a fresh respect for human ingenuity. Maybe it’s the similarities that’ll stick with you — seeing a forest of trees that looks similar to home might nudge you to think about ecology. Or it might be something as simple as sharing a love of The Simpson’s, Downton Abbey or Sailor Moon with someone on the other side of the world that creates a connection, a laugh and an understanding. Point is, it’s easier to think globally (or even cosmically) the more you get around.

Bhutan Travels