Five Ways Traveling Has Changed Me

My favorite thing about traveling is how much it challenges me to grow as a person. It’s nearly impossible for me to leave a place and not be changed by it in some way – a characteristic, which convinces me that, in order to fully discover myself, I need to continue to travel and see the world. There are several ways that I’ve already seen my outlook on the world change from traveling! Here are my top 5!

 1.     THE FOOD I EAT

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One of the first things people discover about me is that I have a dictionary/list of allergies. Most of them have to do with food, so growing up I never experimented with different kinds of food (in case I accidently killed myself). It was such a huge surprise to me when I traveled to India and found out I can eat 98% of the food there! Before then, I figured if it wasn’t “All American” AKA steak and potatoes, I probably couldn’t eat it.  Now Indian food is my absolute favorite, and I’m so much more open to trying new types of food (Haggis, anyone!?), no matter how weird they sound!

2.     HOW I DRESS 

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When I bought my first tartan skirt in Scotland, it was a proud moment in my life. I love traditional anything, and being of Scottish decent, I love connecting with my roots. A little Tartan power isn’t something I usually rock, but now that I’ve worn it, I love it so much.

In India I also picked up another FAVORITE trend: henna. I’d seen it before, being from the hippie town of Seattle, but there was something so much more appealing about getting henna done in the country where it was born. Henna is one of my favorite adornments and something I “put on” every chance I get.

3.     HOW I VIEW HOLIDAYS

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When I was traveling through the UK, Veterans Day occurred. As an American, there are certain rituals I’m used to in recognition of the holiday, but being in the UK really made, what is a mediocre holiday here, into something so much more impactful for me.

4.     HOW I VIEW MYSELF AS AN ARTIST 

 November 11th 2013 (Journaling on a train from Glasgow to London)

 “Today I saw 3 Van Gogh paintings, which was absolutely breathtaking. How can paint and canvas cause you to feel so many emotions and experience so many stories? I guess it’s true that a picture is, “worth a thousand words.” I think yesterday was the first time I ever felt like, seeing something done, my heart said, “ That’s what I want to do!” I want people to experience the narrative of their own lives through the paintings I create. I want to write a story about social justice, war and conflict without ever having to type a word…. Photography is great, but there’s something uniquely beautiful about paint and canvas speaking of the greater issues of our world.”

5.     HOW I INTERACT WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

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There’s something eye opening, heart breaking and completely revitalizing about being in a place where you can’t understand a word anyone is saying. It’s confusing and frustrating and you have to realize, perhaps for the first time, that you (AMERICA) are not the center of the universe.

Being vulnerable and uncomfortable is so incredibly humbling, and so entirely necessary to gaining compassion for those around you in your every day life.

Before I left for India I felt like God really kept pushing the verse 2 Samuel 6:22. In it, David, being ridiculed for obediently praising God, says, “Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes!”

Be a little uncomfortable. It’s amazing how empowering the experience will make you, and those you encounter in similar situations, from there out.

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