As a disclaimer, I don’t believe in souls — but you get what I mean.
Every time I travel, especially when I go to a place for the first time, I am reminded of how beautiful the world is. Not because of the objective beauty of the places I visit, but purely because they are so different to what I am used to.
This contrast encourages a keener sense of observation. And I’ve repeated ad-nauseam in my essays that attention is all we have. The quality of our attention dictates the quality of our lives.
And, it is easier to pay more attention when you’re somewhere new, so it is an incredible hack.
One (somewhat) disagreement that I have with the Stoic view of the world is that you cannot travel to escape yourself. While I agree — I’ve been incredibly anxious on some of the best beaches in the world — you also change as you travel.
So while you cannot escape from yourself, you can arrive at a place where you are no longer the person you used to be. This personal journey, this transformation, does not require physical travel, but is often aided by it. It is easier to change yourself when you change your surroundings, purely because you do not have all the typical triggers for your habits.
This is even more true when you travel by yourself and you go to places where you don’t know anyone. You’ll find that you have a lot more time to think, and spending time alone thinking is always an excellent investment.
This is where it is quiet enough to understand the long-term implications of your decisions. This is when you can reflect on your choices and learn from them. There is no learning without reflection. We cannot just fumble through life and get experience — that is useless. We need to pause and reflect, the same way that a muscle needs a break from lifting heavy weights to grow stronger.