In the age we live in today, most people are more materialistic than they may think. We take advantage of the everyday things around us such as our cell phones, our high-speed internet, our “clean” food, our abundant health-care systems, and various other things. These are just some of the things that we use, or have the opportunity to use, on a daily basis and I bet you have never thought about living life without such things.
I know many people including myself who are very materialistic and set in their ways but making a move towards being less materialistic and more selfless can add a plethora of positivity into your life. If you have the opportunity, you are encouraged to travel to less fortunate destinations, so you can experience what life could be like outside of your comfort zone.
Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Traveling to a third world country could be one of the best experiences you could take advantage of. One of the best ways to invoke self-development is to break out of your comfort zone, and what better way to do it then to be in a completely different area of the world.
We walk around with our high-tech gadgets and our expensive clothes while someone in another country is struggling to eat on a daily basis. By being able to surround yourself with this type of environment, you really start to understand what actually matters in this world.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but people that do A LOT of traveling tend to be some of the most humble and down to earth individuals you will come across. I believe this is due to the amount of cultural differences they have been exposed too.
It took me one trip to China to make my materialistic mentality disappear. When you are surrounded by others who enjoy life without all the amenities you are used to having at home, you begin to notice how many things in your daily life are really unnecessary. You will meet someone that is simply happy to be living another day, and you will realize how unnecessary you sound when you get upset if you can’t find a Wi-Fi signal to connect too.
The key to this subject is not just being selfless when you travel, but to bring those traits back home and apply them to your daily lives. Turn your phone off for an hour and spend time with your family, go outside to enjoy the sun for fifteen minutes, exercise, or simply start that new hobby you’ve been putting off.
When you really think about it, we spend an insane amount of time on our phones or connected to another device. Personally, I could easily spend 3+ hours on my phone every day if I wanted too. That 3 hours a day equates to 12 hours a week where I could be doing anything else to benefit, not only myself, but those around me.
When you travel to a third world country, if you even have phone service, it will be spotty at best and you will have no choice but to interact with the environment around you. You’d be amazed at what, or who, we take for granted on a daily basis. Traveling is a very good way to bring those things to your attention and it will give you the opportunity to change if you so please.
Before traveling, I was entrenched in having the latest technology, expensive clothes, and the newest shoes. After doing a little bit of traveling throughout Asia, I came home a changed person. None of those things mattered to me anymore. The things that mattered most were the people around me and my goal of becoming the best version of myself.
Without travel I do not think I would have come to that realization, at least not so abruptly. Even though I wasn’t aware that selflessness could be a result of travel, that has quickly become one of the top reasons why I continue to take trips to foreign countries.
I understand most people cannot book a trip to a small city in China and live there for two weeks, but you can still achieve the same results by simply changing the environment around you. If you can’t leave your city, maybe try and volunteer at a local shelter. If you can’t leave the country, maybe travel to a nearby rural town. If you cannot travel at all, just turn your phone off for an hour a day…I promise you’ll survive.
By continuously breaking yourself out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in environments that are new and unknown you really start to learn what life is all about and that most things we use in our daily routines are not really necessary at all. Selflessness can invoke a certain kind of happiness that cannot be purchased from a department store, it must be from experience.
A by-product of selflessness, I’ve found, has also been increased self-development. By removing a lot of the “noise” from my life I was able to really hammer down on goals that I was truly passionate about. Many people work for money, but if you are passionate about what you do the money will come.
Sometimes We Need to Reset
I know this post may come off as saying to disregard many things we are fortunate to have, but that is not what I mean in the slightest. This post is meant to demonstrate that travel can act as a sort-of reset button on your mentality and how it can bring you back down to a humble state of mind.
Once you realize what’s important, by all means utilize all the technology and gadgets you can, but I think you’ll find that you will begin to use them in different ways than you previously were.
Traveling will take you out of your comfort zone, which will cause you to expand your horizons. After this you will realize what you truly can or cannot live without, thus helping you eliminate a lot of the clutter out of your life. Once this is done you will be able to focus on important goals that may benefit more people than just yourself. So, I advise you to give traveling a try and I hope some selflessness can be gained from your experiences as well.