Travelling for some time in far away cultures can occasionally be a bit overwhelming and emotionally confusing, with us sometimes forgetting the advantages of travelling as a way to put everything into perspective, see our time on the road more clearly and the impact of the experiences we’ve been having in our own personal growth. Here we give some ideas for self-assessing your journey as a traveler and lifelong learner.
Cambodia is filled with places for contemplation and reflection, what a great time to stop for a while and think about our journey.
Journaling and having a travel diary can be a fertile and creative way to be more conscious of what’s happening in our days on the road. Find a calm place or use one long bus ride to take a while to think and reply to the following questions.
What were the three most interesting observations you had today and yesterday? (a good exercise that can be done every day of your trip, including things you saw, experiences you felt, conversations you had, etc)
Can you think of five things you learned in the country you are currently traveling? What and how can you apply in your life from its culture and way to see the world?
List ten differences of how this society works comparing to your hometown. E.g. family ties, relationships, growing up, aging and death, work, how people communicate, freedom of choice, personal independence, work-life balance, differences between classes, friendships, what makes people laugh, dreams and aspirations, fears and anxieties, notions of what is happiness, what people give more value in life, etc. (and don’t be afraid to ask local people about these topics to learn more about how they think and experience life!)
What do you identify yourself with in this culture and in its way of living? And what are the things you don’t relate at all?
What was more unexpected and surprised you more in this trip? What were the experiences that struck you most or stood out in your overall journey?
What was more intense for you personally? What moments were more challenging or shocking? And what moments were more beautiful and cathartic?
Which changes are you seeing in the country/culture you are traveling in? To which places does it want to go? And what are the obstacles holding it back? What about you, how do you relate these changes to your own personal journey?
After meeting some locals which ideas or things in their life would you like to experiment yourself and maybe try to integrate in your life?
What were the moments you felt more uncomfortable or pissed off? And more comfortable and joyful? What does that says about who you are?
What is the impact of your trip so far in your own self, your life, identity, etc? How did you grow and in what ways travelling is making you develop?
Freedom man, that’s what traveling has the power to give you.
And, regardless of what’s happening in your journey, never dismiss gratitude. We all know that from time to time arises from our travels a bit of tension, negative feelings due to tiredness or cultural barriers, a disquiet born out of the conflict with a different way of doing things that is not our own. Even in simple and innocuous situations as a delay in transportation or a street seller trying to overcharge us. In those moments take a step back, breath in and give a moment to reflect on what you are doing. It’s a privilege only available to a tiny minority, being able to stop working or studying, putting your life into a halt and go wander to other parts of our world, seeing and experiencing new things, enriching our lives with the pleasure of the unknown. How lucky are we for what we are doing? How many moments of serendipity or absolute and unexpected beauty did we already had during our journeys? Don’t commit the luxury to forget those people staying back home trapped in the office or those in a less developed country, such as Cambodia, and the harshness of their everyday lives. Your life is awesome when you can travel, don’t forget to be grateful about it 🙂