Where in the world would you like to travel? Traveling internationally can inspire you with awe. Exploring different cultures around the world and meeting the people who live there can give you fresh perspectives that spark wonder in your soul. Saint Augustine pointed out: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” This summer and beyond, I hope you’ll try venturing out to another country in search of wonder there.
You immerse yourself in a new way of life when you visit another nation. As you encounter different ways of living, what you learn can broaden your perspective and challenge your assumptions. You may find yourself in awe of the beauty and complexity of the culture you're experiencing, gain a new appreciation for the diversity of human experience, and understand the world and its history more deeply. International travel also gives you valuable opportunities to meet people from all over the world and learn from their stories. By talking with locals from a different country, you can gain a greater appreciation for the diversity that exists in the world and become more open-minded and empathetic as a result. Traveling internationally can also be a source of personal growth and transformation. When you travel to a new place, you're forced to step outside of your comfort zone and face new challenges. This can be an opportunity to develop new skills, build resilience, and gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. In Wake Up to Wonder, I explain research that shows how travel can help you learn in ways that lead you to feel awe.
On a recent vacation, my family and I discovered wonder from three nations during one experience. We ate dinner at a Spanish restaurant in Germany with a waiter from Pakistan. As we ate a diverse variety of tapas, we learned more about Spain from its food. We also savored the beauty of Dresden, Germany as we looked out at a beautiful city square from our outside table on the cobblestones and watched German people walk by. Through conversations with our waiter, we learned more about Pakistan and its people. World cultures seemed to collide when we noticed a type of berry in the meal that we’d never seen before. When we asked our waiter about it, he said he didn’t know what it was, but since we were eating in Germany, we could just call it a “German berry”. Then we all laughed at the fun of making new discoveries, even if we couldn’t identify some of them.
Of course, international travel isn’t always fun. It can sometimes be stressful. Language barriers, cultural differences, and unfamiliar environments can prove challenging. However, I’ve learned that by pushing myself out of my comfort zone and overcoming obstacles, I can grow and learn in all sorts of ways – and you can do the same. Stepping out of your comfort zone while immersed in a foreign culture can help you develop confidence, independence, and problem-solving skills. Being in unfamiliar surroundings and navigating new situations can also help you develop resilience and adaptability. Finally, international travel can help you become more globally aware and engaged with worldwide issues. International travel isn’t a luxury, but a valuable investment in your lifelong learning, which is an important part of pursuing wonder.
Traveling internationally can help you discover wonder you can’t experience at home. Learning about world cultures can broaden your perspective, challenge your assumptions, and help you grow as a person. If you have the opportunity to travel internationally, don't hesitate to take it. You may be amazed at the wondrous experiences that await you!