Photo taken by the author along the Ghost River, AB
“Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength.”
– Now, Discover Your Strengths
Travel is also a discovery into who you are and who you’re not. Through all the facets of travelling, you learn valuable insights about what you’re good at and what you’re not. In the before, during, and after stages of a travelling adventure, and everything in between, you come face-to-face with what your strengths are and those areas you may prefer not to do. It can be an interesting awakening into learning more about how you are wired and what parts of the travelling project experience you enjoy more than others. Maybe it’s the research process and you love finding out everything about a certain place you’ll be visiting, or it’s developing a plan for what to do and where to go, or telling all your friends (and strangers too) about your exciting upcoming trip. Or perhaps it’s taking as many pictures as you can on your trip in trying to capture as many of the amazing memories in digital form to take back home with you, or it could be you’re the spontaneous type and prefer to just “show up” and see what happens. Whatever your bent is, the fact remains that you learn the facts about those parts of you that come most naturally to you.
Becoming aware of those traits or skills that you aren’t good at gives further insight into who you are and can be quite helpful for future endeavours, travelling or not. These are life skills and awarenesses you learn about yourself and you take them with you wherever you go and in whatever you are doing. In effect, they become transferrable, as you can lean on them and learn by them in which ever environment you find yourself. The idea of learning what you’re not good at is to be able to focus more deliberately on those areas you are great at, while not getting bogged down in the few area’s that don’t come quite as naturally.
Let me explain with an example. When I was preparing for my trip to Europe a few summer’s back, I had no idea about where I would go or what route to take. Thinking about the order of the countries I wanted to see, along with all the other necessary travel arrangements (such as accommodations, travelling, food, etc), was exciting for me but also kind of stressful, as I’ve never been there before. All I knew was I wanted to see as much of Europe as I could in as short a period of time. So, I went to a travel agency and decided to go with a tour group where all the details would already be figured out. Once I chose the tour group, with the advice of my travel agent, I could then focus my attention on choosing what trip and the length of trip to go on. All this information was in the company’s tour magazine and pretty soon I selected the trip I would go on: a 5-week trip to nineteen European countries. Knowing that the travel details were in place was a great assurance to me, and once I had that settled, I could use the rest of my time to excitedly prepare for this trip of a lifetime.