Every year millions of people pack their bags and head towards wherever the sun is shining – Swedish people are among the most devoted sun worshipers of all.
Many people travel abroad for 4 simple reasons; To swim in warm water, relax, party and then arrive back home with a great tan.
But often people reach a point where the purpose for traveling changes – often that happens when we finally open our eyes and really see the country we are visiting.
We’re introduced to new fascinating cultures, traditions, new food and smells around us, and once we’ve had a taste of this kind of travel, chasing the sun & partying becomes far less important.
For one of my closest friends Sanna, the spark for travel and getting to know other cultures came when she decided to travel to Africa and volunteer for a year.
It’s a pretty big step for someone who has never really traveled before, but volunteering in Africa changed her life.
She was away for a year in Rwanda, experiencing some crazy culture clashes and situations.
When I met her again after she had returned, something in her had changed. She had a different understanding of people and valued different things.
It was a very obvious change for everyone around her. Some things which used to take up a lot of time, like shopping, wasn’t something she valued at all anymore.
When she had lived with people who were amazed that she had her very own refrigerator in the kitchen, she found a whole new perspective on material things, and how little of it you actually need.
By leaving the certainty of home, volunteering abroad and travel to a country to embrace everything with open arms, she found her purpose.
She wanted to help people in some way, make their future brighter, and help them grow.
Today, a year later, she’s studying to become a teacher.
Some of us don’t find our purpose the first time we travel, but I believe that by traveling and being open to learn from these new cultures, you’re one step closer.
Some people say that you can never return from traveling as the same person you were before you left.
I say it depends on how you travel, and what you learn on the way. Some people never change, they also never learn.
There is a big difference between travel and travel …
Have you changed your purpose of traveling? How do you think travel changes people?
(photo credit: 1)