I love to travel light. An aversion to waiting in lines – or even worse – waiting for your luggage to appear on the conveyor belt drives me to travel with just a carry-on. There’s freedom in starting a trip with as little baggage as possible (beyond the fact that now you can shop and have room for your items on the return trip!).
I’ve been fortunate over the past several years to travel for work and for pleasure. Experiencing new foods, cultures, cities, and ways of doing things is particularly appealing to me as a designer. Your creative spark can be re-ignited by a wonderful meal, the overwhelming scale of the Grand Canyon, or just a conversation with someone you just met in the bright light of the Mediterranean sun.
One of the reasons I’ve always loved to travel is that while new experiences are fun and interesting in the moment the legacy of traveling is personal growth. The freedom afforded by anonymity in a new place is incredible. When you travel, you can try new foods, and new ways of doing things, but you can also try on different roles on the stage of the world. Leaving baggage behind leaves room for growth.
In other words, when your identity isn’t an entity (at least not to the people you meet), you can explore the place you’re in, but also explore how you experience that place. This isn’t to say that you aren’t yourself anymore. We all have multiple identities that we juggle every day – we’re a co-worker, a friend, a spouse, and so on. However, like a dedicated actor, we can lose ourselves in the role of everyday life. Stepping out onto the new stage of a city you’ve never been to disrupts that routine. It’s a jolt that helps you see the world and your life in a way you hadn’t seen it before.
When you travel, you enter a world free of expectations. Both your own expectations, and the expectations of others. There’s nothing like arriving in a new city and just walking. Walking without any destination or goal. Walking for no other reason than for the experience itself.
In a world (especially business) that’s obsessed with buzzwords like, “innovative”, I’ve found that travelling is one of the few things that almost always results in personal and professional growth.
Peter is a traveler, architectural designer and photographer based in Annapolis, Maryland. Connect with him here!