What I realized in the last few months: Going away for some time – however short or long it might be – holds the potential for a diverse set of lifechanging experiences.
Looking at a “usual” (defined as usual by our current western society) holiday, it’s generally seen as a few days or weeks away from the routine of everyday life and chores, maybe even seeing some other country or at least different landscapes. Pretty, but mostly pretty ordinary after a few days. Not really having much impact on your life’s path…
Even looking closely on trips that involved going to museums, looking at all those old or not so old buildings, reading up on the history of the place, I can’t honestly say that any of it really stuck, or changed the way I look on my life any differently. After doing that for a while, every city, every region somehow looks the same. There is always a spot offering a wonderful view, some building with a lot of historical facts that you read or listen to, just like a school lecture. And just like a school lecture, it goes in one ear, and out the other.
Only on my last trip a few weeks ago, I fully grasped the notion of this, and why – for some time now – I had gradually changed the way I approach visiting new places. Focusing on getting to know a place through getting to know the people and trying to really understand their culture, history and language. By doing so, I didn’t just learn about other people and other ways of doing things, it also offered a clearer picture of myself and how I do things and see the world. Things I never questioned and that seemed as if “that’s the way it is for everyone”, I can now see in a new light. This allows me the deliberate choice of either changing my way of looking at something or keeping my viewpoint, but being aware that others might see it differently.
This is why for me, going somewhere different every now and again holds an amazingly precious gift that I wouldn’t want to live without.