Planning matters

Sunrise Over Cairo

It’s 4:00 am when my flight home leaves Egypt and the sun slowly rises over Cairo. Seeing the sun rise at 30,000 feet left me with a reminder that altering my view can shift my perspective. I love living in the Pacific Northwest but having the privilege of experiencing domestic and international travel the last 30 years reminds me of the benefits I’ve found: 

Travel Sharpens the Mind

Although every day is different, there is still a routine to daily living. When traveling, I’m dropped into a new environment which engages a dormant part of my mind and gets those synapses firing again. Being in an unfamiliar place, hearing foreign languages, trying or eating new things, and different sights and smells require mental processing. I find I return home with new ideas and a refreshed view of everyday life.

A Shift in Perspective 

“Nobody comes back from a journey the way they started it.” — Unknown

Being exposed to new cultures and people contributes to my shift in paradigm. Yes, seeing different social classes creates compassion and reminds me of how fortunate I am, but it can also shift how I approach something. I remember the first time I saw eggs out at a market. What do you mean they don’t need to be refrigerated?

A Chance to Try New Things 

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I branch out at home by trying new restaurants or enjoy various entertainment, traveling kicks me out of my comfort zone and forces me—for better or worse—to try new things. Even if you don’t enjoy your first attempt at something, at least you’ll be able to relate in a new way the next time you see it in a movie or hear someone talking about it.

Meet New People 

“A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles.” — Tim Cahill

Travel provides an opportunity to meet new people and often I find other travelers are looking to share experiences, give tips on places to go, and meet people from all over. Striking up a conversation with other travelers is extraordinarily easy. A polite “so where are you from?” breaks the ice quite easily and may lead to lasting friendships with people from all over the world.

Come Home Renewed 

After stepping away for a while, I return with renewed energy, a new set of mental filters, and ready to take on the next big project or challenge. Getting away for some time—even though it requires effort—can greatly enhance your attitude and productivity.

I appreciate that not everyone is interested or able to travel, but if you’re interested, I encourage you to go. Try. Experience.