Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
How traveling can fill your creative well and make our world a better place.
Heather Lee Dyer
Travel will change your life. You’ve heard this before. You’ve read stories how other people’s lives were re-shaped and re-born by travel.
But it’s so true for all of us. Travel is one of those timeless experiences that will impact you today and all your tomorrows. Opening your heart and mind to other cultures and new experiences can impact your life forever.
Whether you travel across country or out of the country, being immersed in a new experience will change your life and fill your creative well, a term first introduced to me by the amazing Julia Cameron.
I’ve found that there are four important ways travel can change you:
First — The Most Obvious.
When you travel, you’re getting out of your comfort zone. Traveling around the world, across country, or finding new places in your own community gives your mind creative fuel. As a tourist you experience new architecture, new food, new activities, and unusual sights and colors and sounds. These all help to spark your imagination.
We all need more inspiration and imagination in our lives. Especially as creatives. Whose life wouldn’t be changed by gazing at Big Ben as its 118 decibels vibrates through them? Or touching the hot, sandy corner of a pyramid, or wading into the clear blue water of the Maldives?
Secondly, Getting to Know People Who Live Differently Than You Can Open Up Your Mind.
When you get to know new people, it helps you feel empathy for others. You soon discover people outside your normal circle are both the same and different. We’re all shaped by the communities and environments around us.
As a tourist in a new country, it really would benefit you to get to know the locals. People who live and work in the area you’re visiting. Get off the typical tourist path and really get to know the area. It’s amazing how many gems you’ll find this way.
We’re all driven by human needs, like the five types that we’ve learned from Maslow’s triangle. At the very bottom is physiological needs, which every human battles. These are the needs that are most apparent when you travel and get to know people from other cultures.
You’ll get to see first-hand how they work, raise their families, and how they deal with hardships around them. This not only creates empathy for other cultures, it helps dispel our false consensus effect, where we basically believe (even if only subconsciously) that everyone thinks and lives the same way we do.
As you get to know other people and how they live, you realize there are more dreams and choices in life than you ever thought possible.
I have writer friends in several countries. Some of the countries, like the UK or Australia are very open to creativity and there are many choices for writers, both with their content and marketing. But other countries, such as Japan or the Republic of Georgia stifle their creatives to a certain extent. Censorship of the written word or other creative media is approved of or even driven by their governments.
Thirdly, Traveling Helps You Escape From the Day to Day Doldrums.
We get so caught up in our daily struggles and drama or even our successes, that our creative well shrinks and empties within us. We need to travel and get out of our routines and comfort zones in order to build a healthy creative mindset.
I’m a big fan of daily routines. It helps me stay organized and my goals in sight. It also helps on brain fog days to not forget anything. Like socks.
But leaving that routine every once in a while, helps me slow down, relax, and focus on something new. This helps uplift and improve my mental state.
And Lastly, Leaving Your Daily Routine to Travel Has the Added Benefit of Gratitude.
When you go out and see the world and experience all the ups and downs of Rome, Italy, Hawaii, Africa, or wherever you’ve always dreamed of going, when you come back, that routine or dull life you thought you had will be so much brighter. You’ll become grateful for what you do have and the life you live.
Or you’ll decide to become a nomad and travel the world permanently! Either way, gratitude will grow from your travels.
Sparking your imagination, meeting new people, experiencing something new, and feeling gratitude all come from traveling. We find more creativity when we have a better perspective on our own lives.
Without people that pursue their passionate, purposeful, and creative dreams and ideas, humanity will become overly critical and apathetic. The world needs your creativity and empathy and a renewed mindset full of gratitude.
Originally published at medium.
Heather Lee Dyer
HEATHER LEE DYER was raised in the mountains of Montana on a hippie commune by a single mother who had top-secret clearance on the Apollo 1 program. Addicted to travel, visiting space museums, and all things space. Fangirl of anything YA, Sci-fi/fantasy, romance, and paranormal. Geek girl.