You may have a home, a place where your heart is, somewhere where you feel safe and know what to expect.
I’m yet to find that exact place so far but what I have found is that seeing new places and experiencing things outside of your cultural frame of reference is so beneficial.
1) A Break From Routine
“The less routine the more life” ~ Amos Bronson Alcott
Getting up for breakfast, going to work, travelling home and then going to the gym or watching TV (or whatever we may do after work) for most of the week stops us from seeing the full picture of life around us. This narrow focus can lead us to operate fully on autopilot making us miss some of the more beautiful things in life.
I’ve had days where I don’t even remember the journey to work or eating lunch because it was the same as the day before.
Experiencing time in another culture can completely slap routine across the face which can allow us to fully appreciate the new experience.
2) Patience and Communication.
“He that can have patience can have what he will” ~ Benjamin Franklin
If you go to a country where they speak little of your native language or you speak only a little of theirs, you will learn patience to try to get your message across and to be understood. Something we have very little time for at home in our ever so busy lives.
When buying something as simple as a plaster can be tricky you will learn how to get your message across through words or otherwise.
We may even pick up some new words in a foreign language whilst we are away, something that has always stuck with me is “dos cervezas, por favor” (Spanish for, two beers please.)
3) A Break From Chronic Busyness.
“Busyness is not a reason for not getting other things done. It is an excuse for not claiming your true priorities.” ~ Alan Cohen
This links with routine, if we are always having to keep ourselves busy then we cannot have a great awareness of what is going on around us.
Leave the thoughts of what to buy to cook for dinner, what bills need to be paid, the report you have to give to your boss, the car you have to wash, the gutters you have to clean etc.
Forget that whilst away and enjoy having a lot less to think about.
Being able to relax and not have to be concerned with constantly doing something helps us to increase our awareness of what is around us and to remove the blinkers we may put on in our day to day lives at home.
4) Reset and Upgrade Your Cultural Operating System
“I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land” ~ Seneca
Just like a computer running an old version of Windows or MacOS, without upgrades and resetting we start to run slower than we are capable of.
Getting away and being immersed in new cultures and experiences allows us to add to our perception of human culture. Other cultures have so much we can learn from and take on board to help us with our ongoing learning about our world.
What getting out of our normal environment brings us is a chance to relax and to see the world through different eyes. We can adopt a broader focus on things as we are not so bogged down in the details of our daily routine and we can see that despite our differences us human beings are essentially the same.
The After Effects
What many of us find is that upon return to our home after a trip abroad or even to a different part of our country is we may feel more at ease and more relaxed.
I don’t know about you but oftentimes I come back from somewhere and long to be back there, for me this is not necessarily because I miss the place I went to but more because I miss the feeling of being out of my comfort zone and normal environment that the trip away gave me.
Integrating the feelings we have when we are away in to our everyday lives at home isn’t easy but it can help us with all sorts of things if we are able to do it, even for a short time after returning.
What do you find being away gives you?
How do you feel when you return?
Have you experienced any other benefits of being away?