How Travel Can Change Your Life

Written By: Jellis Vaes

It’s easy to get caught up and fall into a bubble, one which we can’t seem to get out of.

A bubble that unconsciously creates restrictions within us and limits our beliefs, darkening paths that should be and once were visible.

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How Travel Changed This Man’s Life

Travel Can Change Your Life

For 6 years I lived inside a bubble, and most of that time was spent within the four walls of my room.

Not interested in life. Not interested in the world. My teenage years were lonely years and I remember very little about them.

It’s only through the stacks of pages filled with the sad stories that I wrote that I can retrace glimpses of the lonely, sad and narrow minded boy I was back then. I feel for myself each time I read one of those stories.

But the truth of the matter is, I am also glad that I spent 6 years between those four walls.

how travel can change your life

Because the day I turned 18, I was impelled by such an intense voice from deep inside me to break away from everything.

That summer, I came down from my room, walked downstairs and told my mom, “Mom, I am going to South Africa.” I explained to her that I had found this building project where volunteers can go and help build something vital for the local town. In this case it was a school.

She looked at me with wide eyes, not sure how to respond at first, but then she nodded, and said “I’ll pay for you to go.”

I thanked my mom gratefully for that, because she knew just as much as I did, that something had to change.

But I thank myself just as much, because it was my action that ultimately set me free.

How Travel Changed My Life

travel can change your life | sunset inspiration

I had chosen the most far flung country I could imagine.

I can honestly say that it wasn’t because I was particularly interested in seeing what South Africa had to offer, but merely because I wanted to get as far away as possible from my room and from the life that was making me miserable.

Or rather, to get away from the person who I had become.

Little did I know that the day I waved goodbye to my mom, step-father and sister, I also waved goodbye to the narrow minded boy who didn’t like life.

how travel changed my life

Late that night I landed in Cape Town – all alone. But that changed immediately. I was picked up by a friendly African and some of the other volunteers.

Everyone welcomed me with big smiles, handshakes and even a few kisses. I was taken to my host family where I was welcomed with open arms and the next months where filled with beautiful nights with laughter, crackling fires and smiling people all around me.

Jaw dropping landscapes which I couldn’t believe could be real. Lions, Elephants, Buffalos, Rhinos… all there right in front of me not just grainy images on the TV. A whole world came alive that I did not even know existed.

And slowly but steadily something happened inside me. I felt excitement coursing through my veins, a feeling I had not felt for a long long time.

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Taking that step, as hard as it was, healed parts within me that I thought where not fixable. I came back after 2 months as a different person and everyone I knew told me “You’ve changed.” And I had.

I felt a certain energy running through me, I felt alive. That sensation was awakened by the world and that awakening had brought curiosity into my life again.

Before I knew it, I was on a plane again, this time leaving on a 3 year journey around the world. A journey of self-healing and discovery.

While seeing for myself just what a magnificent world we live in, I was also being educated by that world and the people I met along the journey. Every day, the bubble I had been trapped inside of for 6 years grew weaker and weaker until one day it finally popped.

Feeling inspired? How Travel Helped Us Live a Full Life

travel is life changing

Traveling healed me by simply reopening my view upon the world and myself. It allowed me to take in new ways of living and new ways of being.

No longer did I hate the person who I was, because through my journeys I had to learn to cope and take care of myself, and through those experiences I learned to understand the deeper roots within me.

No longer did I hate the world. I saw the world for what it was, a magnificent, stunning, beautiful, awe- inspiring place.

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I was stuck for 6 years inside a belief that was created by the place that I lived in: my room.

And what my room had taught me throughout those yeas was this: all there is in life is this tiny room.

This is exactly what many of us experience in our lives, it is just that my bedroom is substituted for another space, another bubble, another trap, another prison. It may come in the form of a job, a relationship, the town or city you live in, the friends you have.

The restrictions you and your life create, dictate and define the way you behave and ultimately the person you become.

how travel changed a life | author bio

Removing yourself from the familiar and opting for the unfamiliar opens up the unknown. And within the unknown there are questions we have never asked ourselves; experiences we have never imagined; lessons we have never had a chance to learn.

What we ultimately need when we are stuck within a bubble, is change. Another perspective of seeing and knowing what is possible.

Traveling will open that up for you. The world will play its role; all you need to do, is pack your bags and allow it to happen.

In Summary: How Travel Can Change Your Life

For 6 years I lived locked away from the world in my room. Trapped within the beliefs of what my room taught me: that all there was in life was this tiny empty space.

The day I turned 18, I took a huge risk. I left everything behind and went traveling.

What started as a 2 month journey to South Africa ended in a 3 year journey around the world.

A journey of self-healing and discovery. While seeing for myself just what a magnificent world we live in, I was also educated by that world and the people I met along the journey.

The main lesson/take away is that the surroundings we live in defines our view of the world.

They bring us down, imprisoning us within a bubble where we forget what more there is to see in life, and in the world outside that bubble.

By traveling, by going into the unknown, we are faced with new perspectives, new challenges and are forced to ask new questions, which ultimately can free us and create a new reality.

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About Jellis Vaes

Jellis Vaes is a world traveler, a photographer, writer and the founder of Inner Picture Stories, a blog that recombines two of life’s gateways: travel and wisdom. Follow Jellis at: InnerPictureStories / YouTube

Leave a Comment

33 thoughts on “How Travel Can Change Your Life”

  1. There is no greater feeling than having your bags packed and knowing you’re ready to go on your next adventure. There are few things in life that will impact you as much as traveling will. Something happens to us when we board a plane in one country and land in another—it’s almost as if our eyes open again for the first time.
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  2. When he said the moment he waved goodbye to his family he was leaving behind his old life, I could totally relate to that. I remember my late teen years living in a bubble, miserable with my life and decided to make a change. Moving half way across the country was the best thing I could have done for myself. I have traveled around the country a bit and am thankful for the perspective and peace it has given me.

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  3. Beautifully written and couldn’t agree more with you. For many people it’s just taking that first step out of their comfort zone that is the hardest — push yourself to try something new and go somewhere you’ve never been before and you’ll be amazed by what you’ve been missing in your life.

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  4. I think travel is great and everyone should have travelled at least once to a destination that is different from the usual habitat he/she lives in. I have always travelled a lot but for the first time now for a long period. Since August last year I have been travelling around the world and have mainly learnt three things:

    1) Our planet is indeed incredibly beautiful
    2) But the grass is not always greener on the other side
    3) ‘The only Zen you find on a mountain is the one you have brought with you’ meaning though travelling may give you a new perspective on things, in the end it comes down to your own inner peace regardless of where in the world you are or what you are doing.

    Nadine

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    • Congratulations on your world travels Nadine. You are so right, travel opens one’s eyes. I love the three things that you have learned. Especially the last. Too many people think travel will magically mend them, but you have to bring your own inner peace with you. I think travel can be the catalyst for sure and it does help you to change your life, but you do have to be ready for that change.

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  5. What a great story!

    I can relate to this a lot. Many people look at travelling as a way of escaping the ‘real world’, yet they never consider how it can ‘CHANGE’ your real world. Very inspiring read 🙂

    James

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  6. Couldn’t agree more! After my parent’s divorced, and I broke up with my partner, going to New Zealand on my own at 18 was the best thing I could have done! And travel stays with you; I’m jetting off to Iceland tomorrow!

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    • Have a great time in Iceland and I am so glad that New Zealand helped changed your life. What an amazing time you must have had traveling that country at 18!

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  7. Hey Gauri. You are welcome. It does me good to read this. If you need any help please feel free to contact me. Have a nice day! 😉

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  8. Of course. But that is life. However, there is good in bad moments too. It just takes a different set of eyes to see that.

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  9. Hey there PONDICHERRY TOURISM. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed. There are more ways then travel to change from negative to positive though. However traveling can greatly help with it as it compels you easier within the state of awareness of yourself and the world around you. Everything is new, everything is fresh. This will automatically make you more aware.

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  10. Hello Kim. Thank you! 🙂 I think as a parent this must be quite hard, to see your son suffer inside. Not being able to take that kind of pain directly away. This must require a lot of strength from you. At the moment I am thinking back about my own mom and the pain it must have caused within her. Keep guiding your son and observe his behavior. Try to lead him to a path of possibilities. If you need any help feel free to contact me. I wish your son the best of luck in collage and both of you the best of luck in life.

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  11. I thought, i lost myself in this life ups and downs. But after reading this blog , I found you gave me really beautiful way to heal myself. Thank you Jellis !, the way you define your travel. I’m feeling motivated …thank you so much for such a lovely blog

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  12. Really nice story. I admit it. Because some times alone in the nature is better solution for every wound. The travel is getting out you from the sorrow and its tell you something different to your heart about the world. I love too travel when i was sad, bor. Travel is only the thing to change our mind from negative to positive mode, but some people realize and some don’t.

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  13. Your story is a moving one Jellis. One which even has more meaning for me, as I have an 18 year old son who’s also been stuck in his room. He’s leaving for college soon, and I hope wonderful and meaningful adventures like your’s. And a fulfilling life of possibilities.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story, Jellis! We think that changes, both good and bad, can often shake up people and open up new perspectives. Travel definitely offers the unexpected, the new, the challenges and it never ceases to amaze us how it changes people through these experiences… people like us. 🙂

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  15. I can relate to your story so very much. Travel has completely changed my life and my outlook on everything. I am thankful everyday that I discovered it.

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  16. Hi
    this is great how travel can change your life through adventure and thrill. its relax the person who is getting bor with their life.

    thanks for the information how we change our life.

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  17. Really awesome pics! Travelling can really change our life. Its beneficial in our life. We find new purpose, come to know about culture, people and many things. Just want to say that at the we realize that life is a wonderful gift of God. Thanks Jellis, for sharing such a nice information.

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