Traveling abroad is a wonderful way to break out of established patterns and comfort zones, become exposed to new cultures, and press the spiritual reset button. I have always been interested in doing more international travel, but because of financial and time constraints, the extent of my visits to other countries has been confined to Mexico and parts of Europe. I don’t feel challenged culturally when I visit Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Sacramento, Columbus or Chicago, because the primary language is still English, and American customs are relatively consistent around the country. When I return home from any of these places, I don’t feel a shift in my perspective like I did when I visited Europe.
I will be traveling to Europe, Australia and Indonesia within the next two months and am exhilarated and somewhat terrified. What will I encounter in these places? What kinds of people will I meet? What will I learn about myself? Even the process of gathering information on my upcoming trips to Hungary, Sydney, and Bali is causing my life’s perspective to shift. I have mostly been focusing on the trip to Hungary since it is scheduled a month before the other two locations, and have been making a concerted effort to learn the Hungarian language before I arrive there. In my efforts to learn Hungarian, I have experienced a shift in my cerebral cortex which not only helps me with the language, but to also think like a Hungarian, at least to a certain extent. When I practice the speaking drills, I imagine being in the middle of Budapest, having to ask for directions, struggling with a very difficult language to make my thoughts understood.
In addition to the language barrier, I have no idea how to navigate through Budapest and imagine that I will need to learn the public transportation system or take a taxi to certain areas, while backpacking and walking through other areas. This will be an adventure unlike any other I have experienced. Things I am incredibly reliant on like clean food sources and a gym will be somewhat hit or miss when I am out there. I know I will feel a bit like I got drop kicked into a very unfamiliar territory, and I know I will be well outside my comfort zone during the trip.
Some of the greatest breakthroughs have come from challenging existing patterns. Perhaps I will have an epiphany while in a foreign land, trying to find my way and struggling with a language which I am rather unfamiliar with. I am certainly up for the challenge and the adventure. It has been far too long since i have thrown myself out into the big wide world, at risk of stumbling over every little thing. It certainly doesn’t help that my brain is more like a stone than a sponge when it comes to learning languages now. However, I have made a concerted effort to learn Hungarian. At least I can say things like “szeretnék valamit enni” (I would like something to eat) while in Hungary and hopefully understand the response I will get to that statement.
I am excited for the adventures ahead and fully expect them to influence how I view the life I have built for myself. It’s always good to shake things up a bit!