When you set off for a big journey around the world you know you’ll reap the rewards: more confidence, a better ability to deal with things that go wrong, and more fun! But here’s three unexpected benefits I discovered as a result of leaving behind a cluttered life and finding a new one abroad:
Huge Memory Improvement
The first month of my trip was spent in Burma where wifi was rare, and if at all available, almost completely useless due to slow speed and frequent power cuts. For that reason I left my phone off for most of the time and wasn’t able to make notes on it like I would usually. Quite quickly I found that I could recall passwords, facts from conversations, phone numbers and room numbers without having even tried to commit them to memory. They just appeared in my mind when I needed them in quite an extraordinary way. I’m sorry to say that my super human memory has dissipated now that I’m home.
It’s better to enjoy the moment not race to the next
When you have to spend 20 hours on a bus you learn a great amount of patience. You learn you don’t need your brain to be stimulated and occupied at all times. You learn that staring out of a window and watching the world go by is OK. And you discover that no wait is so bad when that bus doesn’t turn up – the conversation with a stranger or the wander around town to pass the time is much more fulfilling than getting straight from A to B. Unfortunately when you return home you quickly get forced back onto the hamster wheel. It’s better to enjoy the moment not race to the next, but it’s hard to put that into practise when you’re back.
Better Concentration and Less Procrastination
Now I can quite easily just get stuff done
Since I returned from my trip I’ve found that I can quite easily just get stuff done. This is a revelation. Perhaps it’s the realisation that there’s more to life than Facebook, or that life is so much calmer when you don’t let things hang over you for days and weeks. Perhaps it was the lack of internet, phone and TV, and the habit of not relying on these things for entertainment keeping me from spending so much time on them now. Maybe it was the meditation I tried in Japan and Thailand that taught me how to focus. I turned to books while I was away, my goal being to read 52 books in a year, and I managed 52 in just 7 months! This was excellent training for keeping my concentration levels up when I needed them to be and it seems to have had a lasting effect.
What unexpected benefits have you found with your travels?