Folium: Can Travel Really Change You via HowStuffWorks

Folium: Can Travel Really Change You via HowStuffWorks

Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project


Everyday we are bombarded with stories from friends and family about trips that “changed their lives” but can travel really “change” someone?

LEAF Study Abroad FLCC Header

Shameless plug… Study Abroad with FLCC!

While the stories may be somewhat of an annoyance, there is much evidence that travel can, in fact, change you. Day to day living can feel like a treadmill you can’t get off of, where you repeat the same tasks everyday without fail. You wake up, you go to work or school, you come home, eat, work some more, and then you go to sleep to start all over again. Therefore, when you travel the simple change in schedule can give you the jumpstart needed to change your attitude and mind. Beyond this, getting away from all the things that “define” who you are and all the people who already have a perceived idea of who they think you are, can allow you to find out who you really are and who you want to be away from what has once defined you.

“If you’re turning corners in places far from your home turf in hopes of lucking upon personal transformation, you might actually be on the right track. Travel does, in fact, set a nice stage for personal change, and there are several reasons why…” – HowStuffWorks

There is also scientific evidence that proves travel changes us. In a study that focused on German college students, where one group of students studied abroad and one did not, researchers found that those who studied abroad tested higher in “personality aspects” such as openness to experience, conscientiousness, and agreeableness.

“When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road,” said travel writer William Least Heat-Moon. – HowStuffWorks

Travel Blogs from
Costa Rica 2016 @ FLCC

Travel can also make you appreciate what you have. On most trips, you are limited to what you can fit in a suitcase. The decision of having to choose what is most important to you and then having to live with just that can not only make you prioritize what is really important to you, but make you appreciate what you have. Similarly, when you are away from your family and close friends, you gain a new understanding of how important these people are in your life. Traveling other places, and seeing how people live around the world, can also give you increased appreciation for even the small conveniences in life that are often taken for granted. Returning home from travel with a renewed appreciation for the things in your life can make you over all happier and change the manner in which you approach things.

Traveling and learning new cultures can also teach you new customs and ways of life that you can possibly take back to your own life. Traveling gives you the opportunity to eat new foods, shop for different kinds of clothes, try a different language, and learn a little bit about a new culture. These opportunities give you the chance to return home and change up your daily life by taking what you learned abroad and applying it to everyday life. Cooking a new meal, wearing a new outfit, continuing a language, etc., can add some excitement to a regular, rather mundane schedule and change your outlook and give you a more positive attitude. While everyone is different, anyone willing to travel with an open mind can learn life lessons that, upon their return home can change their attitude, heart, and mind leading to a happier and healthier life.

Morgan Solender
LEAF Contributor