I’ve been getting asked a lot lately (on my Instagram) about how to increase confidence. And I have a few things I do but travel is probably the most effective and most fun way I’ve been doing it for years.
You may already know my story but in short, a few years ago I was suffering from depression.
I was living a life I didn’t really recognise and felt like I was living it for others. I had no courage to step up. I had no energy, no drive and certainly no confidence in myself to do anything. I felt so stuck and couldn’t take a step forward.
Honestly looking back on it now at how I would cry so helplessly from the fear that I would fail myself and be humiliated by it, I cringe.
I’m so happy nobody can watch my memories! (Have you seen that Black Mirror episode? That’s the stuff of nightmares!) I’m kidding though, you should be proud to look back and see the progression you make.
But in my transformation from the person I was then to now (a much longer story), travel became one of the biggest components that changed my life and that was because it changed me.
Low confidence and self-esteem is a whole world in itself as there are so many reasons you might feel this way. Understanding the root of your low self-esteem is crucial to how you overcome it. I talk more about this in this post – 5 Ways to Raise your Self-Esteem.
But here I want to focus on the reasons travel is going to increase your confidence and therefore why every one of us needs to intentionally travel for it.
1 : It opens your mind
As soon as you step out of your environment, you are removing yourself from all that you know, your usual routine, the same faces you see, the same noises you hear, the foods you eat.
You go to a new place, perhaps surrounded by very different people, cultures and languages. It forces your mind to be open up.
Your mind automatically becomes more receptive to new ideas and perspectives.
When you allow your mind to be stretched beyond what you usually see and feed it back home, you feel like you have more in you.
2 : You’re challenged
Whether travel is a new thing for you or you’re a frequent jet-setter, almost every experience throws a challenge at you.
Your taxi is stuck in the busy streets of Jakarta and you might miss your flight.
You can’t speak the language and your hand gestures just aren’t getting through to the Egyptian street vendors.
Perhaps you’ve even been followed by some creep in Venice (this one’s personal, don’t tell my mama) but whatever the challenge is, you’re put in a situation that you have to figure out.
Your brain goes into solution mode and you get yourself through it.
Although not the most pleasant at the time, sometimes it’s exactly these situations that make the best travel stories and when you see for yourself how well you have dealt with it, your confidence takes flight.
3 : You notice your weaknesses
Travel also helps you to see the things that you don’t deal with so well.
Travelling with others, waking up early, managing everyone’s expectations, planning and organisation.
There are so many things that could go wrong, or become difficult, or are time-sensitive and stressful. Whether it’s in the planning stages of travel, to the flight or road trip itself and your time at your destination, they will all require different skills that you don’t normally use at home in your comfort.
These are areas which will highlight your weaknesses and I know that might sound counter-productive in a post talking about confidence but travel forces you to face them.
I remember travelling with a friend who had to check her bags and their contents every half hour to check everything was still in there.
She had a specific anxiety about losing her things. She never identified this issue prior to her travel but only recognised it was a problem when nobody else felt the need to do this.
She trained herself to become less worrisome and have more trust in herself with her belongings. She turned this weakness around and it translated into her every-day life at home too.
4 : It makes you assertive
One of the biggest reasons we travel in the first place is to have fun! But it also costs a bit of money and so we all want to make the most of our experience.
This tends to make us more assertive and say what we want and don’t want out of our travels. My favourite is always claiming the window seat on the flight (and I always get it).
But we have to make quick calls and decisions, sometimes when we’re not so prepared either and this helps us to think about and deal with difficult situations when we’re back home in our day to day grind.
5 : You improve your mood
Just the excitement alone for your upcoming trip is enough to fuel your good mood.
But travel in its entirety brings a sense of thrill, adventure and curiosity that we inherently crave. We miss out on this in our every-day life when we are too busy working, studying, staying on top of all our responsibilities. We feel young and free and this lifts us.
When our emotions are high, our thoughts are also high and we are more likely to be positive and have a more confident outlook of ourselves and our life.
6 : You understand yourself
Through all the above points, you begin to learn who you are, what your values are, what you prioritise in your life and in your experiences. You’ve improved your emotional well-being by being positive, open and having enjoyed your time away.
And in the same way that you organised, planned and paved your travel path, you use those same thoughts, feelings and actions to create your path in your life. You’re able to identify more clearly what you want, and now you have more zest and confidence for it.
You grab the opportunities that you have and you create a better sense of self that feels worthy of a better life.
7 : You see your position with Allah (SWT)
The most important of all is learning your standpoint with Allah swt.
When you travel and see the world and His beautiful creation in nature and in people, you realise how incredible it is that Allah made you one of His creations.
That you are worthy of the life He’s given you.
What an incredible notion it is that the Most Beautiful, Most Magnificent decided your life is worth having.
This alone trumps any other reason I could ever come up with. Take that confidence that Allah swt has in you and work on building it and using it to serve Him.
Do you have any other ways travel can increase your confidence? Or maybe a story you have of how it worked for you?
I would love to hear from you. Share your comments below and please share this blog post with anyone you know who needs a little confidence-boost.
Reflect, know yourself and create the best version of you and the life that you want.