Do you usually link travelling to a time for a getaway and a time to unwind? Probably even a time to enjoy the cool weather especially if you’re from a tropical country like me? However, for me, travelling is much more than that. I’ve gained so much personal growth and maturity through travelling. It equipped me with multiple perspectives of the world and taught me much more than what I can learn in classrooms.
I hope that by sharing my perspective, it’ll help you take on travelling from another point of view. May you also embark on your next trip with a whole new mindset!
Because of travelling, I learn to:
1. Be more appreciative of what I have.
Not Taking Safety for Granted
Every country is different and has their own character. The thing about my country, Singapore, that I appreciate the most is the feeling of being safe. I feel safe wherever I go, and at anytime even if I was alone in the wee hours of the night. My country had done an amazing job on keeping the country secure.
However, through travelling, I see how safety, and especially feeling safe as a female is something that should not be taken for granted. It is saddening to know how people constantly fear for their safety in certain countries. They are always on their toes when they’re out, and fearful at what might come at them the next instant. It made me aware that that peace of mind I’m enjoying every day of my life in Singapore may be luxurious in the eyes of another.
With that, I learn to appreciate what we have in Singapore even more than before and I’m thankful for being able to grow up in such a beautiful and safe city.
Appreciating the wide variety of food options
There is a large variety of food choices in Singapore because we’re such an international hub. Japanese, Korean, European, Chinese, American, you name it and you’ll get it! I’m always spoilt for choices here and it’s probably one of the reasons why I always look forward to my return to Singapore after a trip. This is the same even in supermarkets or wet markets. The variety of groceries and fruits we have in the supermarket is uncountable! You can get groceries from countries all around the world just from this little red dot here. Though we do rely heavily on imports for our daily food sources, but that gives us the luxury of having everything available. Hence, it’s no surprise you can find all sorts of food here no matter the seasons.
When I started travelling overseas, I started to see how I actually took all these daily little things for granted! Food prices actually surged two-fold on bad days when I stayed in New Zealand for my working holiday. I realised later that that was because of the low supply from the constant bad weather. Otherwise, you typically do not even see them in the supermarkets. It hit me hard mentally then because it only surfaced to me how protected I was back in Singapore. Such personal growth and revelations through travelling really taught me to be appreciative of the food choices I had back in my country.
Convenient and affordable transportation
The transportation system in Singapore is really convenient and affordable. We have an extensive network of trains and buses, and even affordable private car hires that makes travelling around really simple! It costs at most S$2.50 on a one-way trip on public transport. To add on, it is also easy to navigate around even for a first-timer in Singapore.
Comparing this to other countries, such as the costly Shinkansen in Japan or the less extensive transport systems in the less developed countries such as Vietnam or Indonesia, I feel really privileged to be able to enjoy such facilities daily. It easily becomes something we take for granted if we don’t ever pause to think about the efforts the country has put in for this.
2. Care more for the environment
I like to explore the world and admire its beauty at its rawest state when I travel. With that, I meant exploring places that has the least human intervention. Over my decades here on Earth, I can already feel the impact our human race has had on the environment. Lush vegetation is gradually replaced with concrete over time. Climate issues have been an exponentially severe issue especially over the span of the past ten years. Although many are already taking action to raise the awareness of such issues, more can definitely be done.
As I see more of the world through travelling, it only hit me harder to know that these beautiful sceneries may vanish decades from now. It saddens me to think that countries like Venice are going to be under water completely within the next century because of global warming. The Amazon forest is losing wildlife because of mass deforestation. Air quality of countries like India is constantly affected by pollution. Water quality is also affected because of incidents such as the Mauritius oil spill. The list is never ending and I could go on.
Do my part in environmental conservation
Hence, through travelling, I became more aware of such environmental issues. My thoughts grew and matured to learn about ways I could deal with these issues to the best of my capabilities. Although we may not feel its direct impact on our daily life, we should practise a conscious effort to reduce our impact on the environment. Here’s how I usually do my part in conserving the environment in my daily life, through the 3Rs:
- Reducing – Turn off the running tap when you’re brushing your teeth, showering or washing the dishes
- Reusing – Replace one-time use plastic bags and food containers with reusable cotton bags and plastic/ glass containers instead.
- Recycle – Recycle the water used to wash groceries to water your plants or wash the floor, Use both sides of a paper before throwing it
It’s as simple as that and every effort do go a long way. Everyone can do their little part every day of their lives to make this a collective effort in conserving our only Earth.
3. Manage my personal finances
Through travelling, I also experienced growth in terms of learning how to manage my personal finances. It may sound abstract since travelling may give you the impression that it only means spending a lot of money. How exactly does it teach you to manage your finances?
As it is not cheap to sustain a travelling lifestyle, I learnt how to save and apportion my money. This is so that I can go on as many trips as possible without burning a hole in my pocket. In addition, I make it a point to save for rainy days first before planning for my next trip.
Maximise every dollar while travelling
As I also like to maximise every dollar, it urges me on to find creative experiences for my trips. That’s one of the reasons for me being a major supporter of Airbnb. It is the perfect combination of an affordable accommodation with a local touch. I’ve always loved experiences that brought me close to the local way of living, such as my Homestay in a Japanese Temple.
I also learn to live and spend on a limited budget through travelling. This was especially when I was on my New Zealand Working Holiday. Every dollar could only be earned the week before. I also did not have the stability of a job due to their weather-dependent nature. Hence, being constantly aware of my finances was vital for survival then!
I hope this article is helpful in giving you a different perspective of travelling. Such personal growth through travelling is invaluable in my opinion. I would not exchange these experiences I’ve gained through travelling for anything else and I hope you’ll also find that passion for travelling just like I did!