We all learn when we travel, but what do you learn about yourself when you travel. A lot! There is a saying, that if you want to test if someone is your best friend or just an acquaintance, go on a trip with them. Because traveling is the best way to check out person’s qualities. But what this saying neglects to stress is that it’s actually a good way to test yourself as well. I found a couple of things one can learn about him- or herself while traveling.
1) SIR SCHEDULED OR MR. FLEXIBLE?
Even if you don’t write down all your plans, you still make them. And that’s great – generally it is better to know where to start from. The problem might come up, when you plan every single activity to the minute. To the second. And if then you do everything in your power to prevent from altering those plans. What some people tend to forget is that not everything can be planned, especially during traveling. That is why it is of key importance to be at least a little flexible – otherwise, you might get frustrated and that is NOT what going on a journey is all about. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, be spontaneous. While on the trip, you have a chance to observe if you’re Mr. Flexible or rather Sir Scheduled.
2) YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
But can you handle pressure? Traveling is often considered one of the most stressful situations a person can find themselves in. So it’s a great opportunity to control how well you function under pressure. I myself learned that I become more focused. Unfortunately, when I am focusing really hard on something, my face looks like I’m angry. So everyone around me is under the impression that I am pissed off at something. I am not, you guys – I’m just thinking very hard to find a solution…
3) YOU JUMP, I JUMP
I don’t mean how quickly you fall in love (although this can also be checked on the trip easily, especially in the summer). A travel is an excellent situation to prove to yourself that you are adventurous. There’s usually plenty of occasions to do something a little bit crazy. Being courageous has a lot to do with being spontaneous, but even if you’re not, you still can try doing some of the things locals do, that may seem impossible to you. You might need a while to think about it and decide, but you can choose to be brave enough to… I don’t know… walk across hot coals barefoot, or jump into your metaphorical dancing shoes and trying to learn how to dance a national dance (did you read Martta’s post on traveling and dancing? It’s great!) even (especially!) if you don’t know how to dance. If you’re not afraid to look ridiculous for 8 minutes, it probably means you’re pretty adventurous.
4) EYES WIDE SHUT?
Traveling exposes your openness to things that are different. You are in contact with lifestyles, habits and traditions that are different from what you got used to in your home town. You can tell a lot about a person based on how he or she reacts to those cultures. Should he or she be making snappish comments (even under his or hers breath) and making fun of the day-to-day life of the locals – you know what that means. On the other side, there is a person, who does not judge. One, who appreciates and approves of diversity and is trying to understand this behaviour that is so unlike everything else than he or she has seen until now. It generally is better to be open, so if you’re not – it might be good for you to try and sink in the new and unknown… Ok, maybe not sink, but at least go ankle deep
5) KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON TRAVELING
Finally, traveling is probably one of the most efficient ways of testing your patience. Especially if you’re on a trip with someone else. It is generally a good idea to take a trip with someone – it’s safer and can be a lot of fun! (I’m not saying traveling alone is boring! I’m far from it and if you don’t believe me, you can check what I think about solo traveling in one of my previous texts.) But if the trip is long you end up spending together a lot of time: on the plane / train / bus / car, and then some more while exploring the new place. You will probably share the hotel or hostel room (tent?) too, right? Spending together that much time might get to you. People have their habits and specific behaviour, that in overdose can become unbearable. It’s often a matter of time before one of you snap – this is how patience gets tested. The important thing though is to not forget that fights are almost inevitable and they should not affect your relations.
Traveling is a perfect way of getting feedback about your own personality. You find yourself in situations you’ve never been before and the way you react might give you a lot to think about… But under one condition: that you truly want to learn something from your behaviour and the ways you react. So forget about those silly psychological tests in magazines. If you really wish to test yourself – pack up your things and go on a trip.