How Traveling for Self-Improvement Could Actually Work

We’ve all been there, in that moment when we hit a wall and can’t figure out what lies behind it. And each of us deals with that instance of our lives differently. But, what I’ve learned works for me is traveling. Although I haven’t traveled much and gone too far, most of the people I’ve met on my trips had one thing in common – they believed their journeys made them better and improved. And indeed, after every trip I took I felt better, invigorated, like every experience was an upgrade of me as a person.  

So, if you’ve had some emotional turbulence or are just not feeling good about yourself, here are some ideas about what could help you self-improve while traveling.

Meeting new people will build up your confidence.

The great thing about traveling is that you get to meet people, and especially if you travel abroad you get to know travelers from all around the world. Don’t be shy or withdrawn, but start a conversation and exchange experience with them.

You are now outside your comfort zone and up for an adventure, so be adventurous. They could give you some hints about the place you’re going to, or be companions when sightseeing, as well as support that will empower your self-esteem.

Unfamiliar is good and welcoming.

The best way to fully immerse yourself in the destination you’re visiting is to choose a culture and country you know only the basics about. This means that you don’t know the language or the city, so you have to be resourceful and open-minded. Most of the time you will probably use a kind of pantomime to communicate with the locals, but after a while, you’ll notice that you’re starting to understand them better and will feel more accomplished and proud of yourself.

Choose a comfortable place to sleep.

This may seem contrary to the previous advice, but where you sleep and how you sleep is important no matter where you are. There’s lots of accommodation you can choose from when you arrive at your destination, but if you are already overwhelmed by the fact you are going to an unknown country, like Thailand for example, you might want to book ahead. My experience with Thailand hotel deals online was great and it made me feel more ready to jump into the culture I knew nothing about. The safety I felt at night empowered me for new adventures during the day.

Go to an adventure.

Constricted by my hometown and familiar faces, I was so obsessed with what others might say and what they thought of me. When I lost the job I loved several months ago, I felt like a failure and this obsession only weighed on me more. To compensate, I decided to try something uncharacteristic for me during every trip I went on. And every time the adrenalin and exhilaration hit, I noticed I cared less and less what others thought until I wasn’t bothered by other people’s opinions of me anymore.

The truth is, the only important opinion about you is your own. And it got better after every journey I had.

You control your travel and you alone.

Consider your travel to be a sort of a world inside the world, or more poetically a bubble within a bubble. However you choose to travel, with everything planned to a T or just with a backpack on your back and to jump into the unknown, the point is to always control what you do and what you would or wouldn’t like to experience.

This may seem hard to those of us who are too nice to say when something is not up to their standards or expectations, but there’s no more ideal place to start standing up for yourself than on your travels. And soon enough, it will become natural to you and you’ll be doing it all the time whenever the need calls for it.

In the end

Self-improvement is not something that gets invented or found while traveling, but rather something that awakens and is ready to be shaped. All those upgrades you want to have are already inside you, locked with fear and inhibition. So, you won’t become someone else, you will actually truly be the person you were intended to be all along. So close your eyes and place your finger on the map – the country you blindly chose is your next destination. Bon voyage!  


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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