Why Travel Is The Perfect Opportunity For Reinvention

Why Travel Is The Perfect Opportunity For Reinvention
Travelling gives you the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself as you go. Whilst we all experience changes throughout our lives, nothing alters you more than travel.

Why Travel Is The Perfect Opportunity For Reinvention

Several weeks ago, a friend got in touch with me out of the blue. I met Tilly when I was visiting Darwin in Australia and we bonded over a glass several glasses of wine. Like me, Tilly was on the verge of leaving Australia after two years and was brimming with emotion over this prospective change.

I read her message and the content floored me.

With her permission, I’m sharing what Tilly wrote (so beautifully, I may add) that had me reaching for my laptop to write this post:

Travel opportunity for reinvention

Sparks were firing in my brain as I digested her words.

I have felt the desire to fit in and be accepted as many versions of my previous self: on the first day of school, at work, upon visiting a new country.

Each time we present ourselves to a new audience, aren’t we all left wondering what impression we make and how we will be received?

Opportunity For Reinvention

We all change a lot during our lifetimes; from personality to our physical forms (I’m looking at you, metabolism). The most drastic of these changes happen in our childhood and teenage years when we physically grow, dye our hair, pierce various parts of our bodies and revamp our wardrobes to express the adult we are becoming.

Not a lot of people focus on the changes we undergo as adults.

I feel like I reinvented myself significantly in my twenties: from a timid girl studying literature at university to a somewhat more confident solo female traveller. Now I am in my thirties I know that I am going to feel different at 39 than I do at 31. Factors such as relationships, health, money and career continue to shape who we currently are and who we will become.

What a refreshing concept it is to think about how you can undergo multiple reinventions of self. It’s as if someone is giving you permission to hit the reset switch if you don’t like the current version of yourself, right?

Wrong.

I don’t think the opportunity for reinvention is quite so black and white as that. These adult changes are so finely nuanced that I don’t believe they are evident overnight.

How do you notice yourself changing? I believe they are a result of the challenges, opportunities and experiences presented to us over the course of our daily lives. Each time something pops up in front of us, decisions must be made to manoeuvre around the obstacle.

Sometimes these decisions yield instant results, such as: choosing to take five shots of vodka at the bar will swiftly result in drunkenness, vomiting and an inevitable hangover the next morning. Other decisions are more complex, and gradually result in an outcome, such as: choosing to eat copious amounts of junk food every day for the rest of your life and shunning all physical exercise will result in substantial weight gain and diabetes further along the track.

Travel opportunity for reinvention solo female

Why Travel Is The Perfect Opportunity For Reinvention

If you’re still with me at this point, please give yourself a high-five.

My point about reinvention of self during adulthood couldn’t be given more opportunity to thrive than in a travel environment.

From the outset of travel, you have purposefully made a decision to suspend your current life – whether just for a two week holiday or something more long-term – and embark on a journey that takes you away from the familiar routines, faces and places of your daily existence.

Say you book at trip to New Zealand after staring at one too many beautiful photos on Instagram. It’s a stunning country that inspires all kinds of outdoor activities from hiking, kayaking to camping and mountain biking.

In eager anticipation of your trip you find yourself browsing outdoor gear: walking boots, rain jacket, water bottle. All the get-up you will need to embrace your future outdoorsy lifestyle in a country where it all looks so lush, green and enticing.

Upon landing in New Zealand, secretly hoping you’ll not need to wear your brand new rain jacket, you’re suddenly hit with the niggles. Is this new front you are presenting really you? Will people accept you as an avid hiker when you’re little more than an armchair enthusiast? Will this alternative reality suit you or will you stick out as a fraud amongst the khaki clad trampers (New Zealand speak for hiker) that you meet along the track?

Solo female travel opportunity for reinvention

Presenting Your (New) Self

The decisions you made before you booked your flight are now catching up with you. Here you are, fizzing with the prospects travel can place at your feet. Suddenly you can’t help but wonder whether these changes are really you.

Is the allure of being able to present yourself again and again in each new place you pitch up driving you to make these changes? Why do you feel like the armchair enthusiast with a penchant for tea and a good book won’t be accepted in New Zealand? (I have it on good authority that they have armchairs in New Zealand, so you should be just fine).

“Hello, my name isโ€ฆ” are words you will utter each time you reach a new destination. In fact, if you wanted to be really out-there, you could create an alternative ‘you’ each time you start over.

I have to say, creating a completely fabricated backstory each time would get exhausting pretty quickly. To a lesser extent, and more realistically, what travel enables you to do is present versions of yourself to each new person in your life.

Are there things in your past you don’t feel comfortable sharing with strangers? Don’t mention them.

Are there flaws or foibles in your personality that you’re working through and see the chance to make a few changes? Choose a different set of words or actions and judge how they are received.

Want to practice your foreign language skills? Want to eat only local foods and listen to music produced locally? Go for it!

Travel is the perfect opportunity for reinvention, after all.

But, there is something crucial to remember here. Each time you present yourself to a stranger, appreciate that they are doing exactly the same as you in those moments: presenting a self to you, keeping some things hidden and revealing others.

Over time these relationships may deepen and you will begin to understand each other on a more intimate level.

For the time being this person in front of you is just a rad Argentinian who enjoys rock climbing and sci-fi fiction.

Solo female travel opportunity for reinvention

Transformed Through Travel

However, I’m not just talking about the first impressions you make when travel. As Tilly and I delved a little deeper in a series of messages, she explained to me how she felt worlds away from the person who began travelling a few years ago.

This got an emphatic head nod from me, girl.

Back to my point about gradual changes that happen to us all during the course of adulthood. Aspects of our daily life will of course bring about change, but the opportunity to be confronted by a whole slew of potentially challenging(ly awesome) transport scenarios, people, culture, climates (to name a few) greatly increases as we travel.

It’s little wonder that we may step foot back in our homeland feeling metaphorically miles away from where we started. Or, in some cases, we never make it home at all because we’ve forged a new existence for ourselves somewhere else in the world.

Travel will add layers to your personality and gift you bucket loads of life experience. It will enrich you and broaden your tastes and knowledge.

Finally, if you’re not feeling your current self in its current location, you have the choice to move on to begin all over again.

What’s stopping you?

Over to you! Do you view yourself differently when you travel? Do think travel is the perfect opportunity for reinvention or do you feel the same as you ever did before?

Ever get that fizzy feeling when going somewhere new and rush out to buy a whole new wardrobe? What did you buy?

Share this with someone you think is undergoing their own transformation through travel.

Love it? Pin it!ย (Note: Image below is half sized. For a full sized image, click the Pin It button on my floating social media share menu.)

Travelling gives you the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself as you go. Whilst we all experience changes throughout our lives, nothing alters you more than travel.

 

20 Comments

  1. April 29, 2017 / 7:40 AM

    This post spoke to me! I have been living in Spain for 2 years and I had the opportunity to “reinvent” myself during the first year. I felt like I was creating this new person that I wanted people to associate with me. However part of me kept telling myself; “Are you being honest”. Although what I say when I present myself to new people aren’t lies, It sometimes feels like I am betraying my full and rich identity.

    During my 2nd year, I realized that it’s o.k. to “reinvent” yourself and present how you want others to see you. As a traveler, almost everything is transient (people, friends, locations, etc). That first introduction you give to a person on a trip or whatsoever is a almost like an elevator pitch. How you present yourself would leaving a final impression of you as you might never meet that person again. So why not leave an awesome or excited impression? However the people I continuously hung out with,got to know and had heartfelt conversations with; I opened up to more and tried to show the distinctive layers of who I am and who I was changing to.

    Reinventing yourself when going to a new place, is sometimes necessary for us personally. It might be because we left our old location and the things we didn’t like about it. Going to a new place represents parts of the changes we wish to see in our environment or ourselves.

    • April 29, 2017 / 3:47 PM

      I feel like you’ve definitely touched on the double edged sword here, Kareemah. It can feel like you’re not being entirely true to yourself if you’re presenting a ‘front’ to all the new people you meet in each new location. As long as you keep touching base with how you feel during your travels I feel like it’s a superb opportunity to work on areas of yourself, try out new challenges and approach things with fresh perspectives. I hope you continue to enjoy Spain!

  2. April 29, 2017 / 8:10 AM

    So thought provoking! I agree, travel is a good chance to change bits and perhaps put a bit of a filter on things. I think I definitely do change a little bit when I’m away because I can and because I think it’s just a part of getting to know new people as well. But then there’s a big chunk of me that just thinks that I have the chance to really be who I am and to make the decision to not waste time on people who judge me for being me as I don’t have to stay there with them in my life. I think travel give the freedom to do whatever you fancy and be however you want to be. Sometimes a fresh start is exactly what’s needed!

    • April 29, 2017 / 3:44 PM

      Too true, Laura. People will always judge each other unfortunately, and you could argue that this is even more rampant in the travel community where people are making snap decisions about one another. Thankfully, I haven’t found this to be the case and the majority of people I’ve met have been totally happy to accept me at face value, no matter what ‘face’ I might be presenting!

  3. April 29, 2017 / 8:45 AM

    Interesting and I agree with you. It gives me an idea as well of my feelings from being an expat and away from home that I can reinvent myself but most people where I am now already invented in their minds who you are! Silly and funny at times but sad.

    • April 29, 2017 / 3:36 PM

      It can be hard to shift people’s opinions of you, I suppose. Perhaps it’s time to do something ‘out of character’ to surprise everyone, Vinneve!

  4. April 29, 2017 / 9:17 AM

    Very interesting concept! But when I think about it, I became a whole new person when I loved to Germany and created my own look, a mixture of California sunshine beach babe, with a little bit of country charm from Montana and now combined with a little European flair! #blogpostsaturday

    • April 29, 2017 / 3:34 PM

      That sounds like fabulous flair to me! Travel influences you in so many ways; fashion can perhaps be the most visually fun one to explore!

  5. April 29, 2017 / 9:36 AM

    I love this! I definitely agree that travel is a great way to reinvent yourself. It gives you such an amazing new perspective on the world. Plus, we learn so much about ourselves while traveling! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • April 29, 2017 / 3:33 PM

      Thanks, Rhiannon! I agree that new perspectives are an important part of travel; without them we would never change our view of the world.

  6. April 29, 2017 / 1:16 PM

    I loved reading this! I completely agree. All of the new perspectives that can be obtained through traveling can definitely reshape your personality and interests.

    • April 29, 2017 / 3:30 PM

      Thanks, Nicole, glad you enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve undergone a whole heap of reshaping myself over the years!

  7. April 29, 2017 / 5:13 PM

    This is so spot on. It’s one of the things I love most about solo travel – we have the opportunity not only to get to know ourselves better each time and grow, but we can also change who we want to be entirely! There’s nothing like being completely outside of our comfort zones for finding out more about our true selves I feel.
    Happy discovering and re-inventing! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Ellie

    • May 2, 2017 / 10:39 AM

      Couldn’t have summed it up better myself, Ellie! When you look at it like that, solo travel sounds so appealing that it’s just too enticing not to give it a go.

  8. April 29, 2017 / 5:31 PM

    I could really resonate with this post – I had never thought about the fact that the person you are ‘getting to know’ is also presenting a certain version of themselves. Having said that, I generally feel the ‘best’ version of myself when travelling as I am so relaxed, carefree and open. Maybe this isn’t true of everyone, but I think a lot of people would feel that way too.

    Thanks for your thoughts – a really interesting read ๐Ÿ™‚
    Louise

    • May 2, 2017 / 10:42 AM

      I have to agree with you, Louise! I’d say that most people generally feel more relaxed while travelling and after a while more comfortable with meeting new people all the time. I don’t think it’s necessarily a negative thing if people use a filter to present a version of themselves as over time you’ll soon get to know them far more wholly and understand them. So glad you enjoyed the read!

  9. April 30, 2017 / 11:58 AM

    Travel has definitely changed me over the years. And when I travel, I notice my confidence grows, during the trip and afterwards. It’s actually kind of an addiction – I like feeling confident, so I keep traveling to remind myself I can be that person. Solo travel especially encourages this feeling, and it’s one of the reasons I think everyone should travel solo at least a couple times in their life.

    • May 2, 2017 / 10:46 AM

      Yes! This is the perfect reason to keep travelling and an amazingly motivating feeling to keep you going. There is so much in your comment that inspires me to muse a little more on those topics. Thanks, Ali!

  10. May 6, 2017 / 11:48 AM

    Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I personally wouldn’t use the word “reinvention”, but I do think travelling has an impact on personality and attitudes (and a positive one, as far as I know). It’s a perfect way to learn many new things, about the World, about others, about ourselves. I love adventures. For me, it’s a way to blossom and find inspiration.

    • May 6, 2017 / 8:19 PM

      Thanks for your comment Eloise! I suppose I view travel to be an opportunity for reinvention because I feel like a different person now to the one I was when I first started! Quite a grand concept, I know, but I’ve personally found travel to be quite life changing. I agree with you that travelling gives you an opportunity to learn and find inspiration.

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