Traveling doesn't change you.
In fact, it's not traveling that changes you.
Travel returns you to your most original, purest state.
Travel brings the human soul closer to its universal, collective origin.
When we do not travel, when we stay, we are covered in layers of other people's lives, stories, personalities, and the expectations, traditions, and routines of our stationary communities.There is clear value is this familiarity, in being static, in becoming part of a community, but that action erodes our individual identity as it was imprinted upon our newborn hearts.
As we grow older, we appear to become more like "ourselves," to grow into our personalities, to "find ourselves," but really, we are simply cloaking ourselves in a societal identity.
There is a reason why so many people claim to find themselves while traveling, or attempt to find themselves through a journey.
Travel puts us out of context.
By pulling us away from our societies, our cloaks of expectations and patterned behavior are pulled off. We are able to freshly see the essential core around which our societal identity has been built. That essentiality is not simply a base that we use to center and ground us as we develop (though it can serve that function as well), but is a pure soul, a true identity.
Travel allows us not to find ourselves, but to uncover ourselves. We better understand who we are when we see how we react to challenging or unexpected situations when no one from "real life" is watching. No one is holding us to the standard of how we usually act, and surrounded by strangers, who can hold us accountable for our actions? We are forced to let go of our routines, to listen to our instincts.
Travelers are often expected or forced to represent not only themselves, but their entire nation. We cannot always answer confidently when asked "What are American men like?" or "How do Russians view Americans?" but we are at the very least made to think about ourselves and the cultures that raised us in a more objective way. Over-simplified questions often lead to deep and complex thoughts. We are able to see ourselves through fresh outside eyes, unencumbered by our time-built interpretations. Once we leave the forest, we are able to see more than just the trees- of both our nations and ourselves.
Travel: Smarter, Better, Further.
~Love at First Layover~