Appreciate your life more.
Seeing the world will most likely make you realize how lucky you are. The harsh truth is that most of the planet lives below what “first worlders” would consider comfortable conditions. Expatriate living will expose you to the beauty of our planet, but also the trial and tribulations of others, making you appreciate and give thanks for what you have. In the digital age, things seem to change from one day to the other. The 20th century seems more distant and alien every day, yet in terms of time, we were just there. As we travel the world, become expatriates or international students, the differences are astronomical.
However, even more fantastic than our differences from one country to the other, is that which stays the same. Whether you stroll through the gardens of Versailles or find yourself walking by a poor village in Malaysia, a couple of things are universal. Appreciate what connects us and be thankful for what makes you different.
Elevate your resilience and lower stress.
Being anywhere where excitement and intimidation are combined can help fortify your mind. Being in an unknown environment where you must think on your feet while maintaining a positive attitude allows you to make neural connections to solve problems and find your place in a new environment.
There is no better way to break your daily routine, and day to day despair, than to pack your bags and break out. All humans have wanderlust. Exploring the world will help you stay in the moment and give your mind a break from the never-ending work that is surviving, and instead teaches you to be alive!
Open your eyes and mind.
Traveling is education. When you step out of your city or country, you step out of your box. Experiencing the planet gives you a sense of perspective that most people don’t. Knowledge is power. In 1990, a group of students could be easily seen standing in awe in front of a Spanish cathedral in Spain. In 2017, the exact same thing can be witnessed without fail! Why? Because the search for knowledge and experience is a human trait. It persists. There is no greater investment than a good education. Sure, the way you solve an equation might change as calculus or algebra becomes more streamlined, but the solution for X will not. And in the year 2025, the history book will say the same thing about George Washington crossing the Delaware as it did in 1992. Education and human rights tend to follow a similar, hand in hand, path. Where you find universal education, there tends to be a higher standard of human rights. For centuries, cultures that oppressed women did so by making educating young girls against the law. In the united states itself, minorities who had a more difficult time finding funds to educate their people, also voted less, thereby suppressing their voice.
Grow your network.
Not only do you meet people throughout your travel, you create stories. Growing your network in another country may not be directly beneficial to you but having stories about your travels will make conversations easier and more interesting at home. Being more interesting is simply conducive to having more people interested in you, personally or professionally. Additionally, every country does things differently and the best ideas come from employees who have experience in entirely different environments. The future of our society is based on facets of globalization. As the world shrinks with technology, our career’s protocols and procedures are more expansive and come with more choices than ever.
Rejuvenate your mind.
Your inner child is released once more when you travel. When we are born, every experience is new, and our brain grows and makes connections as it discovers the unknown. Traveling throws you in the deep end of the undiscovered. Every experience in a new place is a new one, and your mind will find itself making connections and elevating itself much like when you were a child.
No one must give their life to charity or donate their paychecks to the poor. But simply by being aware, things can change. As we look to the future and highlight the changes, let’s remember that which stays the same. For those of us who can give, or spread the news, more power to us. The lucky few who use phrases such as “first world problems” need to elevate ourselves and consider wide world problems. We have the power, we have the time. Now we just need to take that first step, that first flight, or that first ship to the infinite possibilities of expat life.