When you wake up staring at an unfamiliar ceiling, with unfamiliar sounds in the background, and no routines to lean on, the day has a lot more question marks, and they demand conscious thinking and decisionmaking.
Most of all, you become more conscious of who you are and how you live, because both are reflected back to you constantly when you’re temporarily unable to be who you’re used to being, and to do what you’re used to doing.
There is much truth in this essay. Traveling on your own to a foreign country is a fantastic way to get to know yourself better than you ever thought was possible. I’ve done it twice: back in 2005 when I moved to Finland for a year as an Erasmus exchange student, and then again in 2011, when I took a 3-week trip across Brazil. These were two of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I believe that the fact that I was on my own was an key part of it all: it forced me to figure things out by myself, be more open and put myself out there in a way that I normally don’t, and it was fantastic.
These experiences can provide clarity and perspective at a time when we need them the most, and that’s something we ought to always keep in mind.