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When people picture life-changing trips they often think of extended adventures to faraway places — a summer spent backpacking around Europe, a work assignment abroad, an Eat, Pray, Love trip of personal discovery and healing .

The idea that travel can be transformative is certainly right. Studies have linked time abroad to entrepreneurship, and experts insist that periods in other cultures can make you a more flexible, empathetic and self-aware person. Traveling not only helps you get to know the world, it also helps you get to know yourself.

But as self-recommended as adventures to distant shores might be, the truth is that they are also often completely impossible in real life. Maybe you can’t leave your business, you’re stuck with school holiday schedules, or your budget just doesn’t stretch that far. Or maybe you just can’t face the chaos and cancellations at the airport this summer.

Does that mean you are doomed to miss out on all the transformative effects of travel if you opt for a shorter stint somewhere nearby or familiar? Not according to travel writer Pico Iyer. In a recent TED Ideas blog post he argues that any journey — no matter how short or how close — can be life-changing as long as you use it as a launching pad for reflection and learning.

“It’s only when you get home that you can really begin to understand a journey and implement the changes it may have set in motion inside you,” he insists. The trick to doing that effectively is to ask yourself these three questions.

1. What excited me the most during my trip?

1. What moved me most over the course of my trip?

“For me, it’s almost always the differences in other cultures that ultimately affect the interior the most,” says Iyer. Maybe for you it’s marveling at a scene of natural beauty. Maybe it’s a conversation with a stranger. Maybe it’s a historical site that made you think about the past.

There is no right answer here — the excellence of the beer at that small brewery you visited is as valid as the deep ideas about the nature of democracy in the Parthenon — the key is to take inventory of what you induced during your period. This may interest you : ‘Chloe’ Review: Strong Psychological Drama Stands Out at 2022 TV Grifter Show. a journey

2. What surprised me the most on my trip?

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2. What surprised me most on my trip?

Surprise is often the gateway to learning. It is a sign that something is outside of our expectations of how the world should work. See the article : 60 Best Movies of the Past (June 2022). Maybe you need to update your beliefs in some way then. What inspired the feeling on your latest trip?

3. How could my journey lead me to think or live my life a little differently?

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3. How might my trip move me to think or live my life a little differently?

Now that you have the raw data of your first two answers in hand, it’s time to move on to this all-important final question: “How will we live differently in light of what we’ve seen?” In response to this question Iyer tells a very less-than-relevant story about how a visit to Antarctica made him rethink how his globetrotting was affecting the environment, but your answer doesn’t have to involve towering glaciers and global crisis. This may interest you : Why you might see more travel fees this summer.

Meeting parents who all emphasize different aspects of childcare (and who hardly think about the issues that keep me up at night) made me realize that much of what I worrying about him as a mother is ultimately that important. There are a million and one ways to be a successful parent, so I should relax more and enjoy the ride. Being a witness to places with extreme poverty has been a healthy memory or a privilege for me and a boost to more gratitude. And some trips gave me design ideas for how to decorate my house or cooking inspiration for delicious meals.

These are just my examples. Your takeaways will be just as quirky and personal. The key, according to Iyer, is that you intentionally take something concrete away from your travels, no matter how modest.

“Promise yourself 20 minutes every day to make sure the journey doesn’t get lost,” she says. “How could you behave differently now? Ask yourself how your life is rich in ways you hadn’t imagined before [and] ask yourself how it is poor.”

So consider your homework after whatever trip you take this summer.

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