Based in Houston, Texas, GEV is a blog by The GreenEyed Venuist. Her posts explore travel and photography through her green eyes.

Travel is Transformative (Part 1)

When you travel, you learn things about other places and people...but mostly you learn things about yourself.

Traveling is important to character development, that is an undeniable fact. When you have the ability to experience different cultures, customs and take in God's wonderful creation in different parts of the world, you get the chance to really learn.  It's those experiences that will become part of your reality and shape your viewpoint. Instead of bringing home souvenirs, you come back a more enlightened version of yourself, and you just can't put a price on that.

I never got the chance to study abroad when I was in college or grad school but I really wish I had. Back then, I didn't really understand the importance of an experience like that. If I could, I would go back in time and tell my 20 year old self to put down the red solo cup and apply for that semester in Europe.

However, I've been fortunate enough to go many places in my lifetime. Hopefully, I'll go to many more. But, over the course of my varied travels, I've learned al ot and I'd like to share just a few things (I'll share these in a series of posts, hence the part 1 in the title):

  1. You can do just about anything. Have you ever gotten off a plane in a foreign country with no idea how to speak the language...but you need to figure out how to get to your hotel? The easiest way would be to hop in the back of a taxi and point to a location on a map, right? What if you went to the nearest bus stop or train station and tried to navigate the path yourself? Sure, you may get lost and it may be a bit scary...but who cares? You'll learn the city, stumble across a park or a restaurant that you may not have otherwise seen, interact with the locals, etc. Plus, the sense of satisfaction and pride you'll feel when you make it to your final destination will be overwhelming. Then you will have learned, you can do it and you will do it can do it all.
  2. People are not as bad as you think they are. Don't be afraid to ask someone for directions or just strike up a friendly conversation. You never know what kind of fun and adventure that may lead to. Honestly, despite what you've heard, people will be nice to you when you are nice to them. That's just a fundamental truth. I need to heed my own advice on this one. I'm reluctant to talk to strangers but when I do, I always end up being glad I did.
  3. What doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. While we were in Costa Rica, I woke up one morning to my best friend saying, "Today we're ziplining!" At the time I was thinking, "Why did I let her talk me into this??" As we climbed higher and higher in the trolley, I heard the guide say with this huge smile on his face...."There's only one way down" and he pointed to the first zipline in the series. Millions of thoughts were going through my head, including....let me write my family a note so they'll know what happened to me if I happen to be the one to fall off this ridiculously long death trap perched high above the Costa Rican forest. When it was my turn...I was trembling with fear....but I let go and I did it. And as I flew through the air, I was so enchanted by the experience that I had no problem finishing the course. I tell you this story to emphasize the point that....I literally could have died. But I didn't....and what's more, I enjoyed it and I'd do it again! It also made me realize that you have to take risks sometimes. Not that I'll go jump out of a plane any time soon but you can't be afraid to try new thing. You will live to tell the tale! You may inspire someone else in the process and you know'll ultimately be a stronger, better person for it.

This video is of my BFF and I ziplining! It's not the best video get the idea.

Those are just 3 gems of knowledge. Stay tuned for part 2.

Happy Friday!

Open Letter to Travel