In his most famous work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, the American scholar Joseph Campbell argued that myths around the world often shared an underlying structure, which later came to be called the hero’s journey. Campbell’s theory was that famous mythological tales, such as those of Hercules, King Arthur or Beowulf, were primarily about how their titular protagonists went on a journey of self-discovery, eventually becoming the larger-than-life figures we know them as. The great thing about Campbell’s insights is that they can help us make sense of our own lives, specifically how our growth is tied to our travels.
People wander the globe for all sorts of reasons, but what they all share in common is that they are venturing into the unknown. And to overcome the challenges which are bound to arise while visiting unfamiliar lands, travelers are driven to change themselves and grow. The prize for triumphing over obstacles that the world throws your way is a greater sense of confidence in your abilities and skills, one which is difficult to acquire in any other way. In practical terms, acquiring self-confidence through travel can take many forms. We have chosen to highlight some of the most common ones to give you an idea where to start your own journey.
Develops Financial Savviness
Traveling around always costs money. Even if you are a full-on survival specialists, there are still services and equipment you will have no other choice but to buy. And unless you are working while traveling, chances are you will have a finite supply of money to get through the trip. This means you will have to carefully manage your expenditures to be able to acquire everything you need, as well as to save up something for special occasions. Knowing how to handle money while traveling is an ability that translates really well into daily life once your journey is over. Meeting your financial obligations is never quite easy, but learning how to do it on the road is sure to make you feel confident about doing it back home as well.
Learning a Foreign Language
The first thing we notice when traveling abroad is that people speak languages different than our own. Language is a tool through which people make sense of the world, but there are many ways to express this underlying reality. Learning a new language is a kin to looking at the world with a different pair of eyes. It is a skill which is often taught in formal context, but there are other ways to do it as well. For example, taking lively general English courses while visiting an English-speaking country can be useful, but talking to people on the streets is indispensable for figuring out how a language works. In any case, learning a new language enables you to interact with your surroundings in a variety of new ways. Your capacity for action is increased, and with it your confidence in being able to tackle new challenges, as you come across them.
There is a big difference between traveling as part of a group, and doing it alone. If you are a lone wanderer, you have no choice but to rely on your own abilities to tackle whatever fate throws your way. Therefore, the situation demands that you become something of a jack-of-all-trades. With a myriad of skill at your disposal, you can be confident that you have the right tools to solve problems as you come across them. Knowing how to sew, cook, fix a bike, camp or drive will help you survive and thrive in all kinds of places, boosting your self-confidence as a result.
Getting To Know Different People
Unless you are going camping in the woods, traveling implies meeting other people. The variety of way in which humans interact with each other across the globe is truly amazing. However, it can sometimes look like a tangled mess as well, especially if you don’t know the local language. Reaching some measure of understanding with another person can take a lot of effort, but the benefits of doing so worth pursuing. Getting to know other ways of life and means of interacting is a prerequisite for cultivating your own persona, making you more sensitive for to the needs and desires of other people. And this will make you feel better, as well as giving you the confidence that you can change someone’s life for the better.
The prospect of traveling can sometimes seem daunting, especially for shy individuals who have trouble leaving their comfort zone. While it might be scary at first, traveling will inevitably help you grow into a more confident person.
Leila Dorari is an entrepreneur and freelance writer from Sydney. She is passionate about exploring different places across the globe and believes that first you need to get lost before you can get found. In her free time you can usually find her hiking with her furry four-legged friend.