Monday 29 July 2019

Five ways travelling has improved my confidence, self-esteem and social skills

Kirsty shares five pieces of advice on how travelling can enrich confidence, self-esteem and social skills. 
- Kirsty Fitzpatrick

People always say that you should ‘travel yourself interesting’. However, after a few years of independent travel, I have found that the most rewarding aspect of travel is not that it satisfied my need to appear interesting, but that it boosted my confidence, improved my self-esteem and forced me to interact in larger social settings than before. Although it may seem daunting to push yourself out of your comfort zone, travel has by far been the best way to see improvements within myself, in an enjoyable way too! Here are five things I have learnt from my travelling experiences.

1. Pick the second option
This is something I learnt in drama studies; when an idea comes into your mind, discard it and opt for the second idea because often it could be miles better. I apply the same logic to travelling, I think of a destination and think, maybe later – right now I want to go somewhere else. Although everyone does need a relaxing and easy holiday from time to time, whilst you are young and full of energy, I recommend choosing a destination that you can’t even picture. This will ensure an element of surprise when you travel and will teach you to adapt to new surroundings. Being confident in an unknown environment will make your holiday a worthwhile learning experience. That being said, it is crucial to check whether said destination is safe and the best way to do this is through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice pages!

2. Opt for socialisation
When travelling it is easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and not willing to talk to strangers. However, to prevent alienating myself when abroad, I make sure I have booked a really good hostel that offers social events for its guests. From yoga in the morning, to shared meals, and pub crawls, I have made great friends whilst on holiday. I have also received some of the best travel advice be it for the area I am travelling in, or just for travelling generally. To meet like-minded people abroad who will undoubtedly help you to develop your social skills and confidence when talking to strangers, I highly recommend hostels as the way forward.

3. Plan a challenge on foreign soil
Whilst your confidence to face challenges may wax and wane at home, when on holiday there is really nothing to lose and you can feel more energised by being somewhere new and exciting. That’s why I always set myself a challenge when I go abroad, maybe I really want to try a new food that I wouldn’t eat at home or go for a 5 mile run amidst stunning scenery. Whatever the challenge is, it is great to channel that new found confidence you have when you are on holiday and what’s more, you will have such fond memories of completing your challenge on holiday that you will be more likely to push yourself at home to replicate that feeling

If your challenge is super adventurous be sure to check out the appropriate cautionary steps you may have to take in order to be as safe as possible! This may include getting a special level of travel insurance to cover yourself when away. The ABTA website and the FCO’s Travel Aware site are great for this!

4. Share your adventures
In order to truly reap the rewards from your holiday and learning experience, it’s great to share your lessons learnt with loved ones as talking to someone else can help you to evaluate what went well and what lessons you will take with you. Even if you just want to share some photos of you achieving your holiday goals, let other people share your successes and you never know, you may even inspire them to take a step out of their comfort zone too! Take a look at the Travel Aware Instagram for some ideas and inspiration.

5. Don’t stop 
Whilst you can only travel within your own means, I find having travel plans or even just ideas, keeps me going through the ups and downs of everyday life. It is important not to stop or give up, even if you had a bad experience, because every holiday destination is so different to the next. Talk to friends and family, and share travel stories and advice. 

You can find advice around looking after your wellbeing on a year studying abroad here

Hi, I’m Kirsty. I am a student at Lancaster University studying English Literature. I have a keen interest in writing as well as cycling and running. This year I have been writing as a student ambassador for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, offering advice on travelling safely abroad.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, agree completely. Travel is a great way to improve self esteem.