5 Ways Traveling Opens Your Mind and Boosts Creativity

New and challenging experiences in constantly changing environments fire neural pathways in ways they never can at home. Yes…travel can literally transform your brain.

It is often said that traveling offers innumerable benefits that go above and beyond the blatantly obvious. Busting out of tedious routines is ridiculously invigorating for the soul, we know. Yet the benefits of travel can run deeper still.  Some families relocate to other countries with big cities that provide home comforts, such as China, where some of the best international schools in Shanghai, like WISS, provide their children (and themselves) a greater world-perspective.

When you’re forced out of your comfort zone and are distanced from mundane, time-consuming daily tasks, you finally have the chance to learn something new and grow as a result – this is by far the most incredible benefit that travel can gift you.

Travel can truly open your mind in ways you’d never imagine. Can it also boost your creativity?

You bet!

Here’s how:

1.   Travel jump-starts your brain

Ever feel you’re living on autopilot, going about your commute, your work, gym sessions, and even your weekend social catch-ups without a second thought? Yes, us too. Monotonous routines cause unstimulated brains to fog up and switch to power-save mode. After all: if we do the same thing day in and day out, where’s the stimulus for growth?

Well, that’s the first thing travel does: it boosts your ‘operating system’ back into overdrive by challenging you from the moment you leave your house. It fires up your brain’s cylinders and jolts you wide awake.

When you travel abroad, the lack of familiarity keeps your brain constantly on its toes because you cannot sleepwalk through a foreign country the way you may back home. This hyper-alert state of being is that revered ‘invigorating high’ that travelers attest to.

This is what helps awaken your creativity.

2.   The challenges of travel help you practice out-of-the-box thinking

From interacting with strangers whose languages you don’t speak to figuring out a weird metro system and even deciphering packaged food at supermarkets: travel has a way of turning the simplest of daily tasks into the most incredible problem-solving exercise.

This cognitive flexibility is the main prerequisite of creativity.

Not only can solving travel conundrums be insanely fun and exciting (compared to the drop-dead-boring stuff we do at home), but given every country is unique, it also means you must get creative at solving an array of different challenges. No matter how much you travel, there’s always a problem to solve that you’ve never encountered before! And when you’re creative in one aspect of your life, you can be assured your ‘creativity closet’ will get a thorough spring-clean.

3.   Travel introduces you to new perspectives, and this can BLOW.YOUR.MIND

Discovering and experiencing new cultures is perhaps the single most priceless benefit of travel. The exposure to new perspectives won’t just open your mind… it’ll blow it out of the water.

Whether or not we like (and recognize) it, most of us exist in echo-chambers. We surround ourselves with people who live like us, think like us, and also have similar aspirations as us. This can eventually make us a wee bit stale and close-minded, even though we won’t register just how homogenous our comfort bubble has become. This is totally normal, of course, and the primary reason the bubble is so comforting.

Yet, there’s no denying that to grow and open our minds, we need input from every angle and every point of view. Even if we don’t adopt it or agree: just knowing alternatives exist can do wonders for our creative thinking power.

4.   Travel engages your creative side (even if you don’t think you have one!)

Whether it’s writing, painting, or photography: travel has a way of enticing even the most non-creative explorer to search for ways to express all they experience creatively.

The longer you travel and the farther from home you roam, the greater the urge to decompress. This is what famed Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta meant when he said that ‘travel leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller’.

Tapping into our creativity is crucial to make sense of all that we see, hear, and smell as we travel. In reality, many travel books, social media pages, and websites are self-serving. Initially, the traveler simply created them because they needed to express themselves.

5.   Travel can be life-changing

The benefits of immersive travel can be lifelong or, at the very least, long-lasting. After all you’ve learned, soaked in, and soaked up, you can return home with a fresh perspective on your life, your surroundings, and even your life-choices.

It’s important to ride the travel-wave and put all those fresh creative juices to good use before the humdrum of a new (yet old) routine has the chance to turn your inner-flame down a notch or two (yet again). Interestingly enough: do you know what some of the world’s top designers and innovators do if they’re ever stuck in a creative rut? They travel, of course!

Once you discover how travel can open your mind and boost creativity, there’ll be no stopping you. With your newly ignited creative mind, you’ll achieve outstanding progress in both your personal and professional life – this is what makes study and work abroad programs so highly coveted.