When 16 bloggers were chosen to swap lives, blogs and cultures for the Big Blog Exchange 2013, a lot of them came home with more than just photos and memories.
Travel gives people the chance to experience a world different from their own, and in that, a way of thinking and a way of living that they hadn’t considered before. The Big Blog Exchange 2013’s 16 winners reveal how travel can help to shape your mindset.
Become more open minded
“An open mind doesn’t mean you throw away your beliefs and principles,” says Audur Osp, Iceland’s BBE 2013 winner, “It just means that you are willing to try to understand the place you are about to visit without being affected by your predefined views of it.” We agree – sometimes you need to leave your feelings and opinions behind in order to truly appreciate a place and get the most out of the experience. Meeting and talking to the locals is usually the best way to find out about what a country is really like.
Andy Andersen, who swapped the USA for Spain in the exchange, says, “As travellers, we are extremely fortunate to get to experience the world first-hand. We get to see incredible things, meet incredible people, and get to personally experience both the good and the bad that the world has to offer.” Be careful and always take necessary precautions before travelling, but don’t forgo visiting a place based on assumptions. Which brings us to the next point:
Let go of prejudice
Ali Karp, Israel’s BBE winner, discovered: “I feel that when we travel we are much more tolerant and accepting with regards to that which goes on around us.” Stepping out of your comfort zone forces you to see things in a different way. It’s easy enough to form an opinion while sitting at home watching the TV – but what about when you’re in a different place, face-to-face with what you supposedly don’t believe in. Travel is a big educator and can really help you to become more accepting of things and therefore let go of prejudice.
Natália Martins Becattini Pereira, from Brazil, said: “Every culture is different and kind of exotic for those who watch it from the comfort of their homes. It is only when you take a plane and travel to a distant place, talk to people, eat their food and learn about their history that you can completely grasp that culture. That is why travel is lethal to prejudice and it is the best form of education I have experienced in my life so far.”
Awaken your wanderlust
Once you take that first step, whether you’re 18 or 58, travel will imprint itself on your mind. Remembering what the world looked like from a different side of the ocean will undoubtedly prove to be a big pull in getting you out there again. Go back to your job and do the daily routine, but don’t forget to spread your wings every now and then – we don’t all have to be full-time backpackers to see the world.
Liesbet Maroye, who got to tick South Africa off her bucket list in the exchange, said: “I like to come home but after a while I feel the need to start exploring again. It calls from deep within me, that Wanderlust, this urge that knows no boundaries. A powerful desire to explore our beautiful planet even further, from vast landscapes and oceans to the close connection between people. That moment when strangers become friends and you realise that leaving home is actually coming home, home to our amazing planet.”
Experience real freedom
“One of my favourite feelings is arriving in a country with nothing but my backpack and no fixed plans other than a thirst for adventure. It’s freedom for me,” says Sophie Roberts, our winner from the UK.
Daily life can be stifling sometimes – whether you embark on a two-week trip or a trek around the world, stepping onto unfamiliar soil is a balm for the restless soul. There’s no better feeling than the feel of the aeroplane pulling off the runway, the sight of the sun rising on the other side of the world, following a trail through a forest and not knowing where you’ll end up, or dozing on a beach and not caring what time it is.
Do you want to be one of 16 bloggers chosen to swap lives and blogs and experience discovering a brand new culture? Then sign up to the Big Blog Exchange – every blogger’s in with a chance!