Get Out Of Your Element

May 16, 2022

By Meghan Greenwood

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We become so accustomed to our environment. We move in and out of our own little worlds with a flow that barely captures the attention of distracted outsiders. “She does that” and “he does this”. It just is.

But then you take a trip with someone who has been in your circle for years. It could be a best friend, a family member, a significant other, or even yourself. All of a sudden, new developments and understanding. New stories are unveiled and things you thought you knew may be forever changed.

Why is it that when we are out of our element, we can truly be ourselves?

Traveling forces us to rethink, opens our eyes to new experiences, and can boost creativity.

When we are surrounded by people and places that are not our usual culture, we are more aware of our priorities. What is so important to us typically may seem silly in the new environment. Furthermore, we start to realize that time is fleeting…and perhaps the way we spend it day-to-day should be re-evaluated.

According to National Geographic, we also become more empathetic. We see how other people live and we are exposed to their hardships. We take this all in and perhaps unconsciously, divulge new information about ourselves. If you are traveling with someone, it can often mean shared learning and tighter bonds.

For example, I recently learned a friend of mine has a lot of pent up feelings about her relationship with her parents. I always assumed everything was fine, but away from her hometown, she revealed a few stories that certainly changed my perception.

Traveling also forces better listening. Think about all of the everyday distractions that continuously pull your attention away from the person that may be standing right next to you. Away from a comfortable element, you may find that you’re really hearing each other. And with improved listening comes more consideration and compassion. This is also true if you’re traveling alone – you become more attuned to your own inner thoughts and desires.

And to be clear, traveling doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the country or even the state. A simple journey to the local park for the day can do the trick. Removing yourself from your element can illuminate new ideas and invigorate relationships.


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