Travel changes people, everyone in different ways since everyone’s trip is different. Some people don’t notice these changes and some people idolize what travel does to them. I pay attention to how I’m changing and try to soak up as much from my experiences as I can.
One of the biggest ways travel has changed me is in my self confidence.
Confidence is an interesting trait. It seems nearly impossible to be confident all the time and most people seem to only be confident in a limited area of experience. The place where they spend the most time in or the place where they feel the strongest in. It can be work if that person feels like they are good at their job or it could be in sports or another kind of hobby. It is a huge part of how we see ourselves, confidence tells a lot about a person.
Self esteem is different, it is less specific. Someone can be confident but have low self esteem. Self esteem is more about how much you like yourself and how much you value yourself. A person can think they are better than other people without having high self esteem, they can be self confident without liking themselves.
These are just my definitions, I don’t expect them to be universally true.
I’m not a totally confident person, because of my life so far I feel very inexperienced in normal areas of life. I tend to shut down in new big groups of people, I feel a great deal of stress meeting new people or even meeting up with people I haven’t seen in a number of days. I never really understood how to be a young person and the times I’ve tried to act like one usually feel like trying to breathe underwater.
Being homeschooled and generally not being in many normal circles of people has left me with a different web of confidence than many other people. One of the simplest examples is drinking, many people feel at home drinking and partying. Its a social bonding activity that is shared by enough people that it is the natural go to for strangers trying to feel more comfortable with each other. Have a few beers and the alcohol mixed with the familiarity of the ritual helps smooth over the awkwardness of meeting new people. Or that is how I imagine it works for other people. It does not work like that for me, I’m not comfortable with the drinking ritual. When it comes to traveling this can be a problem. Many times I haven’t felt able to participate in the most common way people get to know other new people and because of this I have to search out different ways of connecting to people. My confidence areas are defining how I must behave.
Building a fire is one of the situations I feel most confident in. Give me a rainy, windy forest over a room full of chatting people any day. I just feel at ease performing the acts of making a fire. I’ve built hundreds of fires and I know that most of the time I can start a fire. I started a fire in the pitch black, lost, in the rain, while I was hypothermic and it took lass than an hour. Because of experiences like that I feel more comfortable when I’m around a fire.
Traveling has changed my general confidence. I feel comfortable more of the time and the unknown is less scary than it used to be. It is one of the best things about travel. People who have been traveling for several months seem different than people who have been traveling for less than a month. The amount of craziness I have dealt with in my trip has left me with a sense that I can deal with a lot more than I used to think. I lost 75 dollars and three days and it barely mattered to me, in the beginning that would have bothered me for weeks. I arrive in new cities without a twinge of fear now, when I first started traveling every new city was a challenge. I feel as if I’m walking around on a street back home when I’m walking around here, it used to feel like some kind of war zone.
I had a moment the other day when I asked a stranger a question without needing to and without thinking about it beforehand. I can’t remember ever doing that before. I always rehearse conversations in my head, talking to strangers doesn’t feel natural but I asked a stranger a question without any hesitation. I am growing into new areas of experience. I can inhabit more areas of existence now than I have perhaps ever been able to before.
Travel changes people.