I feel so honored to have my dear friend, Dr. Kate Cummins, Neuro-Psychologist and fellow wanderluster, share her thoughts on the importance of travel for the brain and for the soul. You’ve heard adventure can be dangerous, try routine! Enjoy Kate’s article below. – Collette
Pick a place and go. For the more you travel, the more you’ll know.
Establishing rules and regulations for life is something that is second nature to humans. We are creatures that are programed to routine. We thrive on structure. Most of us have very normative schedules that look a little bit like this: wake up, get moving, get to work, make progress, go home, get things done around the house, eat, fall asleep. Then find time to work out, nourish relationships, and breathe somewhere in between.
Vacationing takes us away from this type of regiment. It gives us the opportunity to kick our feet up, relax, and detach from commitment and responsibility. It takes us away from routine. For most people, this feels like truly living and not just doing or existing through life when exploring new places.
Traveling awakens pieces of our existence that lay dormant when routine is keeping us confined. Routine can deaden our souls. We are creatures who are meant to create, to explore, to break free, to make new experiences, and to connect.
So how do we do this in foreign lands and unrecognizable languages? Traveling gives you the opportunity to vacillate on a place of routine and chaos. You structure travel to be able to see as much as possible in a new place, but you also get lost. Things happen during travel that are not in control. You take the train in the wrong direction, you don’t speak the language, you get caught in the rain without an umbrella, you miss your flight.
You stress, you change, you move, and you grow. You learn how you overcome obstacles with the people you are traveling with. You find safety within yourself. And you find places of you that make you so proud when you overcome a challenge.
Traveling gives you a place to become. You can go to another country, give them a fake name, dance the night away, hang out with strangers, get completely lost in a version of yourself that is not even who you really are. But the experiences become a part of you. Or, you can go to a new place, become the cultural other, learn, process, take in, and change.
And then you can come home to your routine and become again. You become all of the things that you saw. You become all of the people that touched you. You have the memories that you and only you created. The memories and the moments that changed you and who you become.
So go. Pick a place and go. For the more you travel, the more you’ll know.
Dr. Kate Cummins
For more wisdom from Dr. Kate Cummins, visit her website here.