“5 things travel taught me about myself” is a new series on The Yogi Wanderer featuring travelers from around the world sharing their personal insights and self-discovery lessons from a life of wandering and/or living abroad. Today Justine Mfulama, from the site Travelbff, shares a bit of her story with us.
Hi, I’m Justine, co-founder and travel blogger at Travelbff, a community for women who love to travel. My passion for travel was born after spending one year living in the US, back in 2009, and consequently moving to different countries for work. The aim of #travelbff is to bring together women from all over the world, to share travel tips, safety advice, and connect.
Every time I book a flight I light up. The excitement of a new city, undiscovered streets and delicious food keeps me up every night googling best sights, attractions and restaurants. There’s nothing I’m surer of than that I love to travel. However, the real beauty of traveling doesn’t lie in all the things you get to see and experience, but in the deep knowledge you get about yourself. These are the 5 things travel taught me about myself:
#1 I’m a real German
Before I started traveling I always thought that I’m German with a laid-back twist. Meaning, I would not feel like I’m super punctual, over-organized or a creature of habit. Turns out that I am, because when I go to a country where time seems to stand still, bus stops don’t have time schedules and flexibility becomes your most important skill, I get slightly irritated and need a day or two to adapt. So I’ve learned that as I plan my trips I need to do thorough research and appreciate the fact that I get to be a visitor to a different culture and embrace the journey.
#2 I’m so much braver than I thought
Back home I’m in the comfortable place of rarely getting into situations that challenge me, because I have a daily routine and most days just work out. That slightly changes when I’m abroad, and suddenly nothing is the same anymore. Funny enough, when I’m traveling I don’t mind and situations that I would avoid back home become normal and I manage them easily. I don’t even feel overwhelmed or nervous and it even boosts my confidence for when I’m back.
#3 I started appreciating my life more
Let’s face it, just the fact that I am able to write about the experiences that I’ve made on my many travels abroad shows us that I’m fortunate enough to afford oversea trips. However, not everyone in the world is, and that is something you will realize while traveling. Seeing the circumstances that people in less rich parts of the world live in makes you appreciate the means and opportunities you’ve been blessed with back home, and puts life into perspective.
#3 I learnt to let go
Like most people, I think I know what I’m doing and most of the times I do it very well, right? Well, when you are visiting a new country, where culture injects certain biases, standards or restrictions, you might not be able or even allowed to do things the way you are used to do them. So I had to learn the hard way that sometimes I will have to let go and put other people in charge in order to get the desired outcome. And you know what, I actually like it and enjoy letting go of control and allowing other people to handle all the planning, guiding and negotiating from time to time.
#5 I connected to the real me
Hands down, for me the most beautiful thing about traveling is that I get to connect to the people and the culture around me, but also my inner self. Whenever I’m away I make it a point, to go for long walks without a destination in mind. And on these walks I always empty my mind from all the clutter and just live in the moment. I soak in the noise of the street, the lovely giggles of the children playing and the peaceful sounds of nature. I connect to the real me and unlock all the beauty inside that I tend to forget about when I’m home.
Traveling allows you to play a child that is curious, adventurous and full of joy all over again. So make sure to put in the time and open your heart for the new and unknown.
Image credits: Justine Mfulama
What’s the best self-discovery lesson traveling has taught you? Share in the comments section below.
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