We are all looking for new ways to improve ourselves and we can do this unconsciously. Every time we feel a pang of social or existential anguish, this turns into a signal that notifies our brain that something needs to change. The best of us learn how to reconfigure their circumstances and their way of thinking in the most efficient way possible. While some turn to books and instructions, others simply decide to travel whenever they can. If this sounds ludicrous to you, here are five reasons why travel is important for personal development.


1. It’s a ‘certified’ confidence booster

It is just so incredibly easy to become ‘encased’ in the routine of your daily habits. With your mind wrapped around the minutia of mundane living, you forget what it means to get out of your comfort zone and venture out to see the world. As wallowing in the humdrum of life lowers your guard and your mental fortitude, traveling does the opposite. In fact, a confidence boost is one of the most obvious upsides of traveling and pretty much everyone can get behind that. You may want to begin with a well-trodden destination such as Paris, Barcelona or Amsterdam, but you have to start somewhere. Traveling the world is like an actualization of a hero’s journey. ‘There and back again’, no matter where you’ve been, changes you forever.   

2. History is an amazing teacher

History is all around us. Its monuments, both literal and figurative, are scattered around all corners of the world and they tell us a story of who we are. Learning about the history of civilization is one of the ultimate delights of traveling. Every self-respecting world traveler interested in personal development has to visit Italy – the cradle of Western civilization and culture. Specialist tour operators such as Italy Travel Connection offer holistic traveling experiences of the country that gave birth to the magnificent world of antiquity, larger-than-life rulers and the Big Bang of transcendental inspiration known as the Renaissance.

Of course, visits to renowned landmark historical countries such as Italy should be combined – and contrasted – with journeys to, for example, Polynesian islands where you can learn the other side of history. Latin scholars knew hardly anything about the proud and fierce Maori people, their incredible culture, ocean-bound way of living and incredibly dynamic history. The events that transpired since the dawn of man are an amazing teacher, and rather than being trapped on the parchments of paper, they are written across the face of the Earth.


3. Get lost to find out who you are

When you have traveled beyond the familiar grounds, you have a chance to learn more about yourself than you think. The term ‘get out of your comfort zone’ became so ubiquitous for a good reason – only when you are forced to adapt to a new environment do you get a chance to find out how you truly, instinctively engage with the world, people and what’s your approach to solving problems. This aspect also builds into that ‘hero’s journey’ appeal of traveling, which implies that this is, to an extent, a journey inward. With every unfamiliar step in real life, you are taking a parallel step within, poised to discover hidden talents, skills and even inhibitions that you were not aware of before. This is why everyone should start venturing out of their neighborhood as early as possible.


4. It will challenge your attitude and perspective

You may have a preconceived notion of what Serbia or Georgia or Laos truly look like until you finally step off the tarmac and immerse yourself in the local cultures. Preconceived notions and stereotypes are a natural part of human existence, but traveling challenges your assumed perspectives and teaches you that there is more to everything than meets the eye. Our need to use ‘low-resolution’ approach to understanding the world shatters into pieces as we get a chance to see only a singular foreign culture up close, let alone ten of them. Furthermore, the opinions we hear from other people may not favorably reflect what our own impression can turn out to be. Traveling transforms your attitude for better or worse.

5. It improves intelligence

It has already been mentioned that traveling, since it forces you out of your comfort zone, puts you in situations where your hidden talents have to emerge in order to navigate a foreign environment. Through your travels, you may have to learn several phrases in different languages, become familiar with how certain tools work and learn how to take care of yourself and your health in the most efficient way possible. You will also have to expand your understanding of how people work, not to mention the minutia of documentation and paperwork. In other words, traveling will undoubtedly improve your intelligence.

Traveling may be the fastest and the most organic way to improve your skills and develop new talents. While a lot of what you acquire ad hoc may be circumstantial, it pays off in the long run as your experiences compile and turn you into a person that can find a way out of every situation. While travels can force you to reach deep into your pocket, the impact that they have on your personal development is priceless.


  • Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.