How Travel Changes Us: Lessons on Gratitude
There's something about travel that brings out the best in people. That’s our favorite thing about it!
It opens our eyes to new cultures and ways of life, and allows us to meet new and interesting people from all over the world.
It teaches us about ourselves, and helps us find out what we’re really capable of!
Maybe it's because we're all thrust into new and unfamiliar surroundings, or maybe it's because we’re forced to rely on the kindness of strangers we meet on the journey.
As we learn more about ourselves, we can develop a much stronger appreciation for the person we are and the person we will become. As our sense of self grows and our perspectives on our own lives evolve, we can find so much to be grateful for.
The lessons on gratitude that await us on our travels are impactful to every part of our lives!
What Does Gratitude Mean to Travelers?
Gratitude is more than just saying, “thank you!” It’s a deep-rooted sense of appreciation for something or someone, and it’s an amazing feeling.
While we are on the road and away from home, we find new ways to be thankful for the little things in life. Even the comforts of home that we normally take for granted become subjects of our gratitude journey.
As we explore and experience the ways people live around the world, a hot shower, a comfortable bed, and a fresh home-cooked meal all become a little more meaningful when we realize just how lucky we are to enjoy them. But it’s not just the material things that we learn to appreciate.
The more we travel and the longer we are gone, the more appreciative we become of the loved ones in our lives. We realize that as much as we were looking forward to going on our trip, we are looking forward to sharing our travel stories with those we love almost as much!
This lesson on gratitude extends to people who we meet on our trips, too!
Meeting new people on our travels shows us that kindness and goodness exists in the world, even within strangers. Before we know it, some of those “strangers” turn into lifelong friends that we can’t imagine life without!
On our journeys, we also find new gratitude for the natural beauty of our world. The glittering waves of the ocean, the proud forested mountaintops, and the animals coexisting in their natural habitats are sights we don’t get to see every day.
Nature has the ability to inspire a deep sense of gratitude in us. When we take the time to observe its beauty, its complexity becomes clear to us.
We can appreciate the intricate details of the plants and animals that surround us, marveling at the way they have adapted and co-existed in harmony.
From the songs of the birds to the swaying of the trees, nature can fill us with awe and wonder and remind us of the incredible power of the natural world.
Even stepping outdoors into the fresh air can bring us a sense of peace, which can help us to be more present and to recognize the importance of living in harmony with nature.
Why Are Lessons on Gratitude Important?
It turns out that having gratitude is a major component to a happy and fulfilling life.
Try taking a few moments each morning and night to reflect on your own gratitude journey. You will be amazed by how much happier you will begin to feel day-to-day!
By feeling and expressing gratitude towards our friends and loved ones, we can cultivate deeper and more meaningful relationships, which makes us even happier.
It also helps us to feel more optimistic about our lives. When we can recognize how much we have to be thankful for, the future feels a bit brighter and our problems seem smaller.
And as we grow more confident in building a great future, our self-esteem blooms, too! Studies have shown that gratitude has long-term positive effects on our self-esteem and overall well-being.
Aside from the emotional benefits, it’s also healthy for our bodies to be grateful. Another set of research has concluded that there is a positive correlation between showing gratitude and living a healthy, active life.
Can Everyone Be Grateful?
The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has found that while everyone can feel gratitude, there may be a trait that determines how strongly the emotion affects us!
A combination of genetic, emotional, and cultural factors determine how strong our “trait gratitude” is. While scientists have not yet determined if one can strengthen this trait, we have a strong feeling that we can train ourselves to be grateful by embarking on our own gratitude journeys.
Then, take a moment to think about all the amazing people, experiences, and places that make up your daily life. Try keeping a daily gratitude journal to keep track of all of your blessings. There is a lesson on gratitude no matter where you look! :)