Spark Personal Growth with Travel

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Get To Know The People More Than The Places

Samantha Brown has been around the block more than a time or two. She’s an Emmy Award-winning world travel host featured in more than 400 episodes of TV shows on the Travel Channel and PBS. She has visited more than 250 cities, 60 countries and spent more than 26,000 hours traveling.

Early in her career, Brown learned that the key to a full, enriching travel experience goes beyond the “bucket list” sites to visit.

“I would spend my days shooting in all the must-sees, the castles, the cathedrals, the monuments, the museums. And I was so lonely I didn’t want my job anymore. Then I just really zoned in on people. People changed who I was and I just wanted to know more about them. Traveling is about enjoying people’s everyday lives in another part of the world, which is extraordinary,” Brown told Growing Bolder. “That’s such a big theme of ours: how do we learn from other people? Then through that, we learn about ourselves.”

While acknowledging that new surroundings and language barriers can be a challenge, Brown recommends the best way to broaden our horizons and meet new people is by doing the opposite of what most travel tips will advise.

“Everyone in travel tells you that you’ve got to do 10 different things a day and never go down the same road twice. And I think if that becomes your approach to travel, you become really bullied by time,” Brown explained.

“I create a ritual. So wherever I traveled to, I do one thing, the same thing, at the same time every single day. For me, it’s a coffee shop that I’m going to begin my day at. Creating a ritual really slows down time. It makes it your own. It helps you be a part of a more local scene. You get to feel the ebb and flow of a neighborhood better than if you were staying in your hotel or if you were in different cafes every single day,” Brown continued.

“Once you get really comfortable in this space, I feel like that’s when you feel relaxed enough to turn to someone next to you and talk. It gives you that moment to open up to others and learn maybe where you should go to lunch or what you should do next, or just have a pleasant conversation.”

Brown hopes that the pandemic has shown others an appreciation in how travel gives us the opportunity to grow spiritually and culturally.

“Now we realize if we don’t travel, we don’t connect with our loved ones. We don’t meet new people. We don’t stretch outside our own comfort zone. Travel marks a fresh start. It’s something new. It’s something to look forward to, even before we go.

“It’s a fresh start whether we go an hour from our home for a weekend trip or go 10,000 miles away for two weeks. As human beings, we are all on this spiritual journey to understand more about ourselves, who we are as people. That means that we’re a better person for ourselves, for our family, for our community. And nothing gives us that opportunity like travel.”

This article is featured in the September 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.

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