9 Powerful Ways Travel and Intercultural Experience Has Changed My Life

When I left my comfort zone in 2013 and moved to Spain, without a single comfort by my side, my world was shaken in an instant. Living in the USA, I had all the comforts of the world by my side: a well paid job as a nurse, family, friends, more than enough materialistic possessions, a beautiful car, home, gym and my favorite body pump class only 5 minutes from my home.

Life was comfortable. I had no complaints…..except for the fact that my heart craved adventure.

Looking back at the close minded small town girl I was in 2013, to where I am now, it is a night and day contrast. My experience living abroad, combined with my experience traveling across the world, has not only changed me as a person, but has changed the lens through which I see the world in 9 big ways:

 

1. Gratitude and Appreciation for the Small Things

It is easy to take our life for granted when we are used to the same daily routine day in and day out. Breaking out of my normal pattern and stepping out into the unknown has allowed me to really appreciate the things that I no longer have within reach, like a hug from my family when I need it the most, or the beautiful Arkansas countryside that I used to see each day as I drove home.

It has also helped me for the first time to really appreciate and be thankful for my country and small town that I grew up in, because until moving abroad I never did.

 

2.  A New Lens Through Which I See People and the World

I used to be a pretty close minded and racist person before being exposed to the world. Living and being completely immersed in a whole new culture, with people that have a whole different way of doing things, has helped me to expand my way of thinking and learn that there is not just one right way of doing things.

Traveling and having stayed with more than 100+ people on Couchsurfing has also given me intercultural experiences that I would of never had with any other experience while traveling. These interactions have helped me to see the beauty and value in people and to realize that, while there are true dangers in the world, there are more people out there that are willing to help you than hurt you.

 

 

3. Reconnection with my Life Purpose and Direction

Moving or traveling to a foreign country truly makes you connect with yourself in a unique way. This connection can help you to tap into your purpose and direction here on Earth, in order to help you live a more fulfilling life.

My plan from day one of moving abroad, to now, is completely different. Everyday that I live abroad and travel, I learn a little bit more about myself and what my heart really desires.

 

4. A New Love with Life, Its Beauty and Adventures

This exciting adventure that I have been on has helped me to fall in love with all that life has to offer. Life is full of so many beautiful people, places and experiences waiting to be had, but we will never have the chance to experience these adventures if we are not willing to step a bit outside of our comfort zone and take a risk.

Through this wild journey, I have many highs and lows. However, I have learned to find beauty, not just in the highs, but also in the lowest and loneliest moments.

 

 

 5. An Adjustment in Focus and Perspective

Although I have always liked to think that I am a generous person, my life has always been more or less focused on myself, or my family/friends. After traveling abroad, I saw for the first time a glimpse of how big the world really is.

Everyday that I travel and see new things, my focus in life shifts more away from myself and more on the big picture. Travel has helped me to see that in life there are way bigger issues to deal with, rather than the little ones that I used to focus all of my time and energy on.

 

6. Improved Ability to Connect, Communicate and Relate to Others

I had not the slightest idea of how to communicate across cultures before moving abroad. I moved to Spain with a very little idea of the world and the norms that many different cultures have. In addition, I didn’t know a single word of Spanish, which was a constant struggle for me in the beginning. I not only struggled with the language, but I struggled with the ability to connect and really relate to others due to my limited and judgmental mindset.

The more time I spend abroad and travel, the more I learn how to properly communicate and relate to different types of people. I have had the opportunity to travel and connect with thousands of people and one of the biggest lessons I have learned is:

While words are a powerful tool in our communication, over 90% of our communication really does come from our nonverbal behavior.

 

Bali, Indonesia

 

7. A Better Ability to Balance Your Life

Traveling for the sake of traveling and seeing new places is one thing, but trying to travel, study full time and work online is another. I started my travels in the beginning because I wanted to see and experience new places, but I eventually discovered that traveling for my own pleasure and fun was not so fulfilling after more than a year of nonstop travel.

I put my heart and soul to it, started the Nomadic Dreamer website and started learning how to make my hobby into my profession. I traveled in 2016 to over 20 countries (total count of 40+), while working as a motivational speaker, studying full time in the university in a distance learning program, preparing a TEDx talk for the largest conference in Spain and full time blogging.

This experience has truly helped me to better balance my time and energy in order to do all that I want to do. It has always taught me that it IS possible to travel the world, work and study, but you can’t do it until you first have a clear idea in your mind of what it is that you want to do.

 

8. A New Sense of Confidence

Every single experience that I have had since 2013 where I put faith and action together, I have become more empowered and have gained a new sense of confidence in myself and my ability.

It’s one thing to step out and face your fears when you have the comfort of someone by your side, but doing it completely alone requires you to dig deep within to find a strength you never knew you had.

 

 

9. Ability to be Present

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

Travel and living abroad has inspired me to never settle for a life of mediocrity and to always dream big. It has helped me to really be present and enjoy every experience to the fullest, because we are not promised tomorrow.

 

Don’t forget to also check out: 

7 FEARS TO CONFRONT AS A SOLO FEMALE TRAVELER

ICELANDIC WATERFALLS

PHILIPPINES: CREATE YOUR LOVE STORY

 

 

 

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.com9 Powerful Ways Travel and Intercultural Experience Has Changed My Life