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Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool

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man sitting on a mountain while traveling
With the explosion of websites, podcasts, and conferences teaching you how to improve your life (this one being no exception), it’s clear many of us want to become a better version of ourselves. We all want to be the person we imagine we could be if given just the right circumstances.

We want to learn more languages.

We want to be less awkward in social situations.

We want to eat better.

We want to read more.

We want to work out more.

We want to travel more.

We want to be more active.

We want to be more independent.

The list goes on and on!!

So often we go through life without really thinking about where we are heading. One day turns into the next and all those things we desire to do and become seem to pile up while we look for the perfect day to start.

Over the last year, I’ve had my ups and downs and have been working hard to make changes to my life. It takes a lot of work to change. Even one or two changes to change your life requires concentrated effort and persistence. But to make a hundred changes? That is biting off more than you can chew. No one has the mental energy or time to do that.

That’s why most new year’s resolutions fail. We create a long list of things to accomplish in the new year but, in the end, most of us give up, overwhelmed by all we want to do.

So when people tell me all the ways they want to improve their lives, my advice to them is to travel for one simple reason:

Travel solves a plethora of self-improvement goals in one fell swoop.

Picture this: You’ve booked a flight to Kiev. You don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. And, to top it off, you’re going alone. You land in Kiev. Now, you have to navigate signs in a different language, ask people who probably don’t speak your language well for directions (maybe pantomime and point at maps indicating where you want to go), get to your hostel, make friends in the dorm (no one wants to be alone), and get around and sightsee the city during your stay.

By the time you leave, you’ve learned how to communicate even when you don’t speak the language, figured out how to navigate an unknown place, learned to turn strangers into friends, learned how to be independent, and solved a slew of problems that came up as you made your way around a foreign country.

During one trip, you got better at communication, problem solving, languages, social situations, and improved your confidence in your ability to do new things and handle unexpected situations.

Why? Because you had to. You had no other choice.

And you didn’t even know you were doing it.

People always ask me about the moment I realized I “changed.” While there are moments in your life that ripple through the years, for me, there was no single instance that I can point to that turned me from a shy introvert who never traveled to someone able to plop down in any city, find my way, and turn strangers into friends. It was a process that happened slowly over time.

Before I set out on my first trip around the world, I had never really lived outside my state, hadn’t traveled much, had a small group of friends, and had only been in one relationship.

I was a nerdy introvert. While the old parts of me are still there (I’ll still gravitate towards my friends at a party rather than talk to someone I don’t know), it’s become a lot easier for me to talk to new people when there’s no one familiar around. While I still run through all the “what ifs” when I get on a plane to a new destination, when I land I hit the ground running (and wonder why I was ever worried in the first place).

Traveling forced me out of my routine. It helped me become independent, take more risks, be ok with change, get better with people, learn more, and be more versatile.

Travel is not some panacea. The baggage you have comes with you on the road. There is no place far enough away to escape your problems. But what travel does is give you the space to be someone else and improve your life. It allows you to say “What would the new me do?” and then do it – without worrying that someone you know might notice. It puts you into situations that force you to better yourself. It won’t instantly solve your problems — only you can do that — but at least, on the road, you have a clean slate to try.

As the new year approaches and you create your list of resolutions, cross them all off, and just write one down: to travel alone more.

It is the ultimate way to become a better, more confident you.

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Destinations

The Best Tourist Destinations…Period

Checkout our favorite tourist destinations in the entire world that are worth standing in lines all day for.

 

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The world is full of extraordinary tourist destinations but which ones are truly worth the hassle? Some tourist attractions are incredibly busy so what makes them worth the trouble? Sometimes you experience something so amazing that it is worth whatever you had to go through to enjoy it. These top tourist attractions are so special they are worth long lines, expensive fees and headaches. Checkout our favorite tourist destinations in the entire world that are worth standing in lines all day for.

 

Great Wall of China

The sheer size of the wall can’t be experienced through photographs; you must see it in person. Spanning over 13,000 miles, this man-made structure is such a memorable experience. When you see the wall in person you are taken back and in total awe. It’s an inspiring piece of architecture with interesting twists and turns and uneven steps. The wall was built to keep out ravaging hordes of Mongols but now boasts over 10 million visitors yearly. Tourist are everywhere, the lines are long but it’s all worth it. You won’t be disappointed with this destination and you may return one day.

 

Petra

The ancient city of Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and truly a special place. The city dates back to 312 B.C. and is preserved immaculately. Take a donkey ride around the ancient city to see more than you could on two feet. The vibrant colors of the surrounding rocks and the incredible details of the 2,000+-year-old city are remarkable.

 

Blue Lagoon

The Icelandic hot spring has long been a popular tourist destination, but is it worth all the hassles involved? This magical geothermic pool has healing powers because of its high levels of sulfur and silica. Long lines and high entrance fees scare some tourists off but this place is worth the hassle. The one of a kind spa features the incredible milky blue waters and is known to cure people of multiple ailments.

 

Niagara Falls

One of the busiest tourist attractions in America, Niagara Falls is worth your trouble. The majesty of these falls is best-viewed from the Canadian side, where lines are shorter and the vibe is less touristy. Take the Maid of the Mist boat tour for the best views and most memorable experience.

 

Machu Picchu

The ancient Incan citadel high in the Andes Mountains is a pain in the butt to get to but worth all the trouble once you reach it.   Incredible views mixed with some very cool relics, Machu Picchu is a special place that should be experienced.

 

Acropolis

The Acropolis is crazy during the peak summer months but even then it’s well worth any trouble. The views alone from its perch above Athens make this attraction so cool. The massive size of the Acropolis and the stunning remains make it a must visit.

 

Banff National Park

This wonderful example of nature at its most wild is a must see even if it’s near the top of the world. Take in Canada’s oldest National Park and see what the great white North is all about. See glaciers, intricate cave systems and some awesome wildlife.

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Destinations

Incredible Vacation Ideas

We compiled the best travel experiences you could ever imagine, so take one of these adventures. Let’s cross some things off our bucket list with these incredible vacation ideas.

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Summer vacation is almost here and you are probably mulling over your trip options. Are you tired of the normal vacation destinations and want something more out of your holiday? If so, you are in luck. We compiled the best travel experiences you could ever imagine, so take one of these adventures. Let’s cross some things off our bucket list with these incredible vacation ideas.

 

Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica

Who didn’t want an awesome tree house when they were younger? I know I did. Now you can stay in one in this incredibly unique hotel experience in Costa Rica. This seven-room eco resort has high-end style accommodations mixed with rustic jungle designs. Stay in the trees with your new neighbors, a group of howler monkeys and banana trees. This super remote destination is only a 40-minute drive from tourist hub La Fortuna. You won’t find A/C or TVs in your rooms; instead expect bird feeders filled with fruit to entice the humming birds and monkeys to come to your porch.

 

 

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Bahamas

Take a yoga adventure at the world renowned Sivananda Yoga Ashram. Don’t expect a high-end resort with yoga mixed in; instead expect yoga on all menus with resort life sprinkled in. Serious yogis only should attend this resort. Take advantage of some of the world’s best yogis and enjoy two two-hour classes each day. Each guest also gets two vegetarian meals a day after their class.

 

Witch’s Rock Surf camp, Costa Rica

Maybe surfing is more your cup of tea, so check out Costa Rica’s premier surf camp. Witch’s Rock Surf Camp sits on the pristine Tamarindo Beach and is the world’s surfing Mecca. The 18-room resort is more of a camp than hotel, with a bare bones approach to resort life. Guests will enjoy basic rooms with no frills but the best surfing the planet has to offer. You don’t come here to stay in a 5-star hotel; you come to learn to surf in the best waves around.

 

Elephant Safari & Lodge, Bali

Hang with some elephants at this 25-room safari park. This is a one-of-a-kind resort where the elephants are just as much of a guest as you are. This animal refuge has over 30 Sumatran elephants, a botanical garden and beautiful Balinese-style rooms. Each room has it’s own elephant pick up platform so your elephant chauffeur can take you around without you ever touching the ground. Yes, I said elephant chauffeur, need I say more?

 

Hidden Beach Resort, Riviera Maya (Nude Hotel)

Take a vacation from your clothes at this all-nude resort in Mexico. Obviously this is an adult only resort, can you imagine children running around with all the trouser snakes swinging to and fro. Warning most guests are over 50, which is odd but hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

 

Okavango Delta Camp, Botswana

Forget your normal resort, and come for the once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Okavango Delta Camp in Botswana. This safari lodge is an all-inclusive resort that will blow you away. Game drives, bush walks and river cruises are all included in the price and are so amazing you won’t want to leave. Located on an island in the Okavango Delta, guests can get close and personal with lions, hippos and giraffes. No hunting is allowed on this animal refuge so you won’t have to worry about being roasted on social media for pictures of you with bug game. This is truly a unique vacation experience.

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Travel

Best Apps for Learning a New Language

Check out these incredible applications that can help you master a language or at least learn enough to enjoy a vacation in a foreign land.

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Traveling to foreign countries used to be daunting because of the language barriers but not anymore. We used to have to take classes and read textbooks to learn a new language, but boy have times changed. Now with new technology, you can learn a language in no time, all on your smartphone.

Check out these incredible applications that can help you master a language or at least learn enough to enjoy a vacation in a foreign land.

 

Rosetta Stone

The industry leader in language technology, Rosetta Stone has cornered the market for over a decade. They debuted with CD-rom technology but have evolved to a fully functional app that is easy to use and simple to master.   They use technology to immerse you in the language instead of the old way of memorizing terminology and translations.  

Now you can learn 24 languages all on your smartphone with ease. They even included a recording feature that allows you to see if you are saying thing s properly by running it through a proprietary TruAccent technology.

 

Babbel

An old steadfast option is Babbel, which has been around for years. They offer short 15 minute sessions that help you master the language before you know it.   They offer speech recognition and is designed for people who come from different mother tongues. This makes it universally accepted all over the world.

 

Mondly

Mondly has perfected the immersion technique that was first popularized by Rosetta Stone. The app replicates conversational scenarios that would happen in the real world so you can prepare for a trip like no other application on the market. With 33 languages included and fun games and visual tools, this is one of the most popular language apps out there.

 

Duolingo

Free should be the optimum word associated with Duolingo. The free app has plenty to offer including fun games that make learning easier than most. Check this app out solely for the price; oh did I mention it’s FREE!

 

Pimsleur Unlimited

The Pimsleur method is nothing new; it’s most likely the style you were taught in school. It’s been around for over 50 years and Simon & Schuster have published this version. For a nominal price you can learn the same way your Spanish teacher taught you.

Lesson plans for everyday usage so the knowledge stays fresh. Broken down into simple 30-minute lesson plans, this application really makes it easy. Included are flash cards, matching games and fun role-playing conversation tools that make learning an experience like going to a class form the comfort of your smart phone.

 

 

HiNative

This app works on a shared economy backbone where users from around the globe help each other learn each other’s language. This tool connects people from different countries and allows you to connect on many levels. This app helps you pronounce things the way locals do so you fit in easier and can hold conversations better since you aren’t learning from a book.

 

Stop language barriers form holding you back from incredible vacations and adventures. The world is your oyster, so get out there and find some pearls.

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