Gaining Clarity and Peace From Travel
By Kirsty Perring, founder of Traversing Africa
Travel is messy. It messes with your emotions. It messes with your opinions and preconceived ideas. Hell it even messes with your body clock. But as undeniably messy as it is, it is also the greatest teacher. It teaches life lessons you could never learn in a classroom, online or even in a self-help book. It pushes your tolerance levels to the max. Travel doesn’t just change you, it transforms you into who you are.
I started travelling from a young age with my family. It wasn’t until much later in life that I began to appreciate how blessed I am to get to travel and started realising to what extent travel has been responsible for moulding me into the person I am. Backpacking through Europe as a teenager laid the foundation for knowing when to trust my gut and how to be self-reliant. It also helped me decide on my career path in travel and tourism.
One evening on my first fam trip to Bali we dined on the beach. It was so romantic, toes dipped in the ocean, full moon, not a breath of wind. I have never been lonelier in my life. My takeaway was that travel is not about the destination so much as it is about the people. The people you travel with, the people you meet, and the relationships you form. We also travelled to Lombok and visited a local village, not used to westerners. You wouldn’t have known there was a language barrier. The children were so intrigued by us and just wanted to touch my blond hair. Their laughter was infectious and I didn’t want to leave. It was then that I discovered that the best way to bring a destination to life is through its people. It’s these authentic interactions that make for life-changing experiences. Feeling connected is what inspires us to make positive changes. I am connected to children wherever I go and am often found on the floor, interacting with them at eye level. My husband worries I will return with an extra family member whenever I set off. In Vietnam I almost did. I also come back with a smattering of bumps and bruises. Because, for some reason I feel most comfortable getting outside my comfort zone when I travel. Most recently I did some rock-climbing in Oman. It was tough and scary but absolutely exhilarating.
My confidence has soared because of travelling. Every trip results in a new-found appreciation for life and I come back richer. I now aspire to travel with purpose. A purpose to reduce my carbon footprint. A purpose to get more out of doing less. A purpose to have a deeper connection with nature and wildlife. A purpose to support local economies. Travel has given me the power to change how I think and how I interact with others and the environment. Everyone gains something different through travel. This has been my transformational journey so far and I can’t wait for what’s next.