Travel has long been praised for its ability to broaden our perspectives, expose us to new cultures and settings, as well as refresh our minds from the typical day-to-day routine. But according to a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, travel can permanently impact our brains and personalities in a variety of ways.
The paper organizes peoples’ personality dimensions into five categories called “The Big Five” — Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness. Together, these five factors round out the human personality, and over time, can be shifted with the influence of travel, particularly traveling abroad.
Let’s take a look at how travel can influence each of the five factors below:
Also referred to as emotional instability, neuroticism details a person’s ability to cope with life changes, whether subtle or dramatic, on a regular basis. People who travel more frequently find themselves in unfamiliar situations and dilemmas that make their own problems seem like nothing.
Normally comparing yourself to others is a sure-fire strategy for disaster, but in the case of traveling, the more you’ve experienced outside the scope of what you’re used to, the less jarring your own life changes will seem by comparison.
Openness to Experience
It’s hard to avoid meeting new people when you’re traveling. The more new people you interact with and culture you get immersed in, the more your personality develops an openness trait. Our comfort zones can really restrict much of the joy life has to offer.
When you pack up and leave what you’re used to, it’s inevitable that you’ll feel unsure, nervous, maybe even scared of the new surroundings you’ve put yourself in, but you’ll also find out a lot about yourself in the process.
It may not be much of a surprise that people choosing to travel more often score higher in the extraversion category, however even the less social tend to be brought out of their shell when traveling. Interacting with people from different backgrounds, with different beliefs and ideas challenge what we believe and know.
Engaging with people, especially ones we end up liking, give us a new, optimistic lens to see our fellow humankind through. When we engage with people and become stimulated in conversation, meeting new people the next time we’re in a social situation doesn’t seem as scary.
Conscientiousness people prefer to follow rules, complete tasks and generally stay as cautious as possible. This is a wild card factor, in that people traveling often can go either way in the conscientiousness department depending on how they spend their trip.
Certain people set out on a trip with a loose plan at best, and drive themselves crazy with downtime or lack of direction. Others load up the to-do queue and exhaust themselves bouncing around the area checking out every major and minor landmark or attraction it has to offer. But if you’re already on one side of the extreme, it may be good being pulled back toward the middle.
Traveling gives everyone a fresher perspective. Seeing new landscapes, observing people of a different culture and associating their views with their roots broadens horizons and sheds some light into why people are so different from one another. If there’s one single thing on this list that can impact the world greatly, it’s the agreeableness factor. Not to say we all need to organically hold the same views, but we should at a minimum, have the compassion to understand another’s.
Aside from the above personality tweaks travel can impose on a person, there are also plenty of other factors to be aware of. Traveling usually provides powerful rushes of adrenaline, whether it’s the lead-up to boarding the plane, first setting foot in that new place, or living like a local. The last thing is the overall heightening of your senses. When you’re in a new, unfamiliar place, you can’t help but be drawn by everything. Your mind moves fast and you process stuff even faster, which leads to a boost in stimulation, and also creativity.
Make traveling to your next destination a little bit easier by booking a hotel day stay with HotelsByDay today!
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