In our last blog, Traveling to Inspire Creativity we talked about how the wonders of traveling long-term, specifically spending more time in and embracing the new cultures around you, can change the way your brain makes connections.
These new connections help you boost your sense of creativity and get you out of that frustrating creative block by helping you think and see things in new ways. We also mentioned how the length of time you stay in one place plays a vital role in your creative rediscovery as it helps to ensure that you are fully focused on and able to adjust to the new country and culture you are now living in or visiting.
Fully involving yourself in a new culture helps you to majorly step out of your comfort zone, which leads to a more creative you! It can be hard to take new risks, especially if it means stepping into the shoes of people who live entirely differently from you.
However, the more you do this, the more you will see similarities and differences in how people do things, and can help you open up to these new ways of thinking that you never thought were possible before.
We’re all human, after all!
This is why we cannot recommend enough that you go abroad long-term and experience these new cultures for yourself. It doesn’t just boost your creativity like crazy.
It also increases your self-confidence and self-esteem!
How it Boosts Your Self Confidence
The more you open yourself up to new things and take that leap of faith outside of your comfort zone, the more confident you will be in yourself and in your decisions. In addition to that boost in your self-confidence, it also makes you a more tolerant and empathetic person when it comes to other people's ideals and their ways of life no matter what path of life they come from.
This increased sense of self improves our sense of connection with the world, our generalized trust in humanity, and our overall trust in ourselves.
Traveling and seeing new cultures helps make you more open to things that other people might consider "weird" or "different" and you might bring things that are “weird” or “different” to that culture as well. You learn from each other and create more empathy for one another.
Charlie Houpert, the author of the book Charisma on Command, has championed that increasing your self-confidence, your self-efficacy, and your self-esteem all lead to a more happy and more rewarding life.
Self-esteem itself is labeled as the very important last step in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs that we need in order to reach self-actualization, the highest level in the hierarchy of needs. Which is a very scientific way of saying that in order to be the best version of yourself and actually succeed in doing so, you need to fully respect yourself, love yourself, and be confident in yourself.
The act of putting yourself in situations where you're living abroad in a country where you don't know the language or understand their way of living can seem daunting. But pushing yourself to accept the challenge to be a risk taker and going outside of your comfort zone will make you feel like you can do anything!
“Confidence is ultimately about being comfortable in a wide variety of situations that would make most people feel uncomfortable,” Houpert says, “So if you stretch your comfort zone every day, very quickly you’ll have a large comfort zone and be able to feel more comfortable even when outside of it.”
By extending your comfort zone, you increase your trust in yourself to make the right decisions, gather your own opinions, and know that you can create what you want with confidence.
When you can see how far you can go and all of the challenges that you overcome, from meeting new people, eating new foods, and experiencing a culture that's extremely different than your own, it becomes a no-brainer that you can take any challenge head-on and fight that fear of thinking you can't do it.
Because, of course you can do it!
You just lived and traveled in another country like a local! That’s something that most people will never do in their entire lifetime, and if you can do that, you can solve any problem that heads your way.
You don't need to immediately take the leap and travel abroad for a year right this second. I mean, if you can, please go for it!
But let's be realistic here. Few people can get up and leave, even if they plan it years in advance. You might have kids, pets, friends, and family that impact your life, and you probably don't have a year's worth of sick days saved up from your job. Plus if you're anything like us, you'll quickly realize that nothing ever goes to plan.
But that's what makes it so special.
So find and do what works for you!
How to Creative Travel
As a teacher, take advantage of those sacred summer break months and plan a trip. You can even take a sabbatical for one year and study abroad. Go for a month. Go for the entire summer.
As long as you take the time to truly experience the culture you're traveling in, you're all set! You'll return with a head full of ideas and a heart full of love for travel.
When you feel like you can't finish that next lesson plan, can’t paint, can't write, or can't simply finish your work, start looking for your next getaway trip. So many people travel every year and come back with the most wondrous stories and experiences that will stay with them forever.
By fighting that fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone, you are opening yourself up to (literally) an entirely new world filled with new and exciting places and people who will be more than welcome to you. If you are welcoming of them too, of course.
Don't let yourself get stuck in another creative rut; instead, book that plane ticket and know that what you're about to do will forever change how you think and feel about others, yourself, and even your creativity for the better. You need this more than you think.
Your creativity, mental health, and the world will thank you. And trust me, once you start, you won't want to stop.
Final Thoughts & Our Own Experiences
When we started traveling with the idea of writing the best travel blog the world has ever seen, I was terrified. I had only been to a few states, and the craziest place I'd ever been was on a cruise ship.
But then, I was convinced to start simple and go on a road trip to the smokey mountains with my significant other. That turned into a camping road trip to four national parks within ten days, and now, we're spending entire months in other countries and absolutely loving it.
I never felt more energized and creative than I did when we returned from our first overseas trip. This type of travel has changed the way we think, not just about ourselves and who we are, but also how we think about everything!
We've experienced other cultures firsthand. We've learned about people, their cultures, and their history that was never taught to us in school. We've learned from meeting other people worldwide that there isn't one "right way" to do something. There is a wide variety of creative techniques. You just can't be afraid to try them. And once you have, it will change your world and creativity forever.
So trust me when I, the little suburban kid who rarely traveled outside of their own town, say that taking the risk to travel abroad will absolutely give you that creative boost you've been waiting for.
Next week for our last guest blog, we will take you through some of our most used tips on how you can make your creative travel goals a reality without breaking the bank!
If you are already feeling that itch to travel now, here is one of our travel guides on the best places to visit in Italy. Italy was one of our first trips overseas together, and we cannot recommend it enough. It's hard not to be inspired by the beauty that is Italy. From the culture, the food, and the sites, you'll be coming back wanting to constantly live la dolce vita, the sweet life.
We are Alpacka My Bags, and our goal is to help encourage you to go and explore the world that's around us. Whether that's through food, culture, history, art, or even adventures in nature, we want to encourage you to be the best version of yourself while becoming a worldly explorer.