For many who have not travelled on a long-term basis, backpacking around the world appears to be one long holiday. Just take a look at a traveller’s Instagram account and you’ll be greeted with idyllic images of sunsets, beaches, palm trees, world wonders, and mandatory ‘look where I am’ selfies. Granted, in many ways, long-term travel is one continuous holiday. However, what’s less clear to see on an Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook feed, is that there are hundreds of valuable skills and personal qualities that can be developed by spending your time visiting countries around the globe.
Just one of the many attractive qualities to be gained from world travel, is confidence. Firstly, confidence in yourself and secondly, confidence in other people; a confidence in humanity. More relevant now than ever, when the mainstream media more often than not report negativity and cause fear of the world around us, being out there experiencing differing cultures, religions and traditions first-hand, is the best confidence lesson a person could ever receive. Ready to be convinced? Here’s some of the ways world travel can boost your confidence…
- Talking to new people
Not everyone who travels is an extrovert. For many, meeting new people is a scary prospect, especially in the home environment, where you’ll no doubt be faced with seeing the same people day in, day out. When travelling though, meeting new people in dorm rooms, hostel common areas, on tours, or even in the street, becomes part of your daily routine. There’s a certain openness to making new friends between the backpacking community, which urges us to want to build relationships with one another, particularly if somebody is travelling alone. Despite the fact we’re from different countries and upbringings, even using different languages, the confidence to speak to one another and those who inhabit the countries we travel, only grows the longer you’re on the road.
- The way you look
I challenge even the most high maintenance of women to travel for months and still perform a daily beauty regime. When you spend your days on early morning buses, trekking for hours, on a beach, or carrying a heavy backpack from hostel to hostel, the need to wear makeup and style your hair quickly goes out the window. The benefit of this is you become much more comfortable with your appearance and confident in the way you look naturally. Prior to travelling you would not have caught me outside of my house without makeup on. Now, while I obviously still have insecurities, I am much more at ease with my natural appearance and it doesn’t affect my confidence levels. I’m not the first female traveller to feel this way, I’m sure!
- Your ability to go at things alone
Whether it’s taking a flight, getting from a bus station to your hostel, or wandering new streets, world travel teaches you that you can achieve previously anxiety-inducing tasks while alone. A lot of the time you find yourself in the situations mentioned because you have two choices, either approach them head-on to get to where you’re going, or give up and go home. Most with wanderlust will opt for the first choice and be overcome with pride and self-confidence when realising that travelling alone, especially as a woman, is not as hard or scary as you first imagined. When you’ve tackled something once, you’ll have the confidence to do it again and again.
- Things you never thought you could do
You do not need to be an adrenaline junkie or off-road adventurer to travel the world, but you’ll be surprised at the limits you will push yourself to while backpacking. Joining forces with other travellers and broadening your horizons almost always sparks a new adventurous confidence in yourself that you didn’t realise was there. Before you no it, travel will have you so confident you’ll be trekking to the summit of volcanoes, reaching mountain peaks, throwing yourself out of a plane, and tasting exotic foods and animals. Scorpion, anyone?
- Confidence in strangers
Finding yourself in a foreign country, knowing little or none of the language, can be daunting whether you’re alone or in the company of other backpackers. After all, you’ve been told story after story about travellers that have been mugged, hijacked, kidnapped, or even killed in popular travel destinations. All these stories can make you wary of strangers, suspicious even. But while you must have your wits about you, experiencing places yourself will actually instill confidence in the fact that the majority of people really want to help you. Over the years I have been on the receiving end of many random acts of kindness from strangers, from the guy on the bus in Argentina who paid my fare and refused to accept my money when I didn’t realise you needed a prepaid card, to the couple that carried their children on their laps for a three-hour bus journey just so I didn’t have to switch to a local bus in the dangerous Guatemala City. One of the best lessons world travel will teach you, is to be confident in other people’s generosity.
- The beauty of the world
There are worrying narratives adopted by many media publishers as of late, that make it seem like the world is being overcome by terrorists, corruption and people with bad intentions. I am not saying that there aren’t terrible events such as these happening all over the world, of course there are plenty and it is truly awful to learn about them, but if there’s one thing world travel will teach you, it’s this; for every bad act or disaster, there’s another good and beautiful one. I can’t express it enough – there is just so much beauty in this world! Roaming from unique country to unique country you will witness natural landscapes that take your breath away. Landscapes that are occupied by welcoming, friendly, humble, honest and good people, and, after seeing them, suddenly you are filled with a calm confidence in our planet and its inhabitants.
Travelling the world has given me confidence in many things, but most of all it has given me confidence in what’s around me; an amazing planet filled with humbling people and places just waiting to be experienced
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