What could be better to break out my month-long writing block than a conversation post with the always charming Grace Boyle from Small Hands, Big Ideas? Nothing. Inspired by a previous post on her site, we had another discussion, this time surrounding the benefits of travel. Grace’s input can be seen in green and mine in blue. Join in the conversation by leaving a comment!
When I started to write this post, I wanted to call it “You Have To Be A Great Traveler to Be My Friend.” I’m thinking that might be a little harsh. But I know that I consciously surround myself with flexible people. I use the term ‘Go With The Flow’ for these types of people and Grace has used the term ‘People Who Are Down.’
A quote that summed up my thoughts when I started writing this post is as follows: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain
There are two reasons why traveling molds you into a problem solver. The first reason is because you have to make a plan. You pack your bags, print out your itinerary and ask someone to drop you off at the airport. But you don’t have to travel to make plans, they are made every day. Plans are important; I find myself making plans for my professional success as well as personal. I even have plans for how I am going to eat for the week.
Planning aside – traveling opens you up to new opportunities, puts you out of your comfort zone (imminent problem solving situation) and can be challenging. I think we learn the most when we’re challenged and uncomfortable. [Ben: great point!] Furthermore, traveling can also be rewarding because you do learn to problem solve while also thoroughly enjoying yourself in new environments.
Yes! I love the “ruined” plan. When I travel I try to actually not make plans or have little-to-no expectations – these are my favorite moments of travel. I agree with you Ben, that traveling helps you plan while also knowing when to let go, work with what you’ve got and modify.
One of my close friends from studying abroad was very stubborn and Type A – she loved having everything her way and didn’t like her travel plans to be ruffled. We traveled a good amount throughout Europe together and I saw the progression where she began to loosen up a little.
She had plans, itineraries, printed out hostel information – the works. What do you think happened when we traveled? We missed trains, didn’t make it to exhibits, got caught in the rain, got lost over and over and had plans “ruined.” Although I didn’t look at them as ruined, because something else was gained and we learned to problem solve together. Slowly but surely, she learned to go with the flow just a little bit more (even though we made fun of her intense planning). This was gratifying for her, as well as me, to see the expansion of her experience through traveling.
I had a roommate like that in college, very type A. He practically slept on his books attempting to gain knowledge by osmosis. We definitely made fun of his intense planning, haha. But a little while after living with us, we were able to coax him out of his room to come out with us and blow off a little steam. It was great to see him get out of his shell and enjoy himself.
This previous anecdote isn’t about traveling so much as going with the flow, much like this post. Grace, I think that you make great points about different personality types and how they work together. It seems as though my instincts of the ‘must love travel’ post title being too harsh is correct. I just love the idea of travel and I have never found a better way to solve problems I have been stuck on, hit my reset button or enjoy a new adventure.