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Why travel is a catalyst to self-discovery

Few instances in life become the game-changes, the perspective-shifters, the experiences that signal the birth of a new you. In my everyday encounters with people from varied backgrounds and nationalities, one thing that has always been a beacon for self-discovery for most, is the opportunity to travel. For some, it’s the crossroads that come with having gone through some hard times. Yet for others, it’s that occasion to pack a bag and take in a whole new scenery, from the table you sit at for dinner, to the pillow you lay your head on when the day is over, and into the next day when you get to explore a village, town, city or landscape far removed from your everyday reality – that are all the things you need to get you on your path to self-discovery.

If you’ve been in some kind of rut for a while, especially given the unexpected turn that the beginning of this decade has brought with it, and you need help figuring out what your next is, perhaps now is as good a time as any to consider taking a trip to help you regroup. Why? Because travel…

  1. Is an opportunity to plan your life with limited distraction. I remember one trip I took to my home country of Zimbabwe, except much of my time there was actually spent in the great outdoors of safari turf. I took this trip at the peak of a crazy season at work, an event I was hosting that required me to travel 8 hours to get to, the submission of my dissertation and of course, spending some time with family – all in a matter of a few days. This time was less relaxing as I would have wanted it to be, but definitely went a long well in showing me that I was more than capable of juggling multiple projects while having limited internet access – and still disconnecting intentionally when I needed to. I got by without the connectivity I was used to and appreciated just how simple yet liberating my life was in that week of travel. At 10pm the generators would go off at the remote lodge we were staying at, leaving the sounds of the night to serenade us to sleep. Days were made up of quiet interactions with the lodge guests, horseback safaris, canoeing down the small river by the lodge and drives out into the bush for some air. Let’s just say there were plenty of opportunities to put my mind at ease and map out the rest of my goals for that year for when I got back to reality!

  2. Presents prospects of new possibilities with a change in scenery. Sometimes you just need a new routine, or a break in the everyday sequencing of events to get you inspired for your next pursuits. Ask a writer and they can tell you how much inspiration they get from taking in a new environment ahead of writing. Perhaps that’s why staycations have become so popular! New surroundings always have a way of inspiring you to dream bigger and want for more!

  3. You can conquer your fears by venturing into the unknown. There was this one trip I took to Italy for work. Our destination wasn’t glamourous Milan or historic Rome but rather, industrial Maranello, where we were going to tour the Ferrari Factory! Incredibly exciting, but let me just say, the getting there was everything but what we imagined. From connecting flights to catching trains and buses, driving through the countryside and trying to communicate with people that had never seen a brown girl ever in life – this trip was an adventure. It reminded me of my younger self, and how road trips to Panama City from Atlanta in my college years helped me conquer my fears of driving outside a huge metropolitan city fresh out of getting my driver’s license in the parking lot of a strip mall! This trip reminded me of the thrill of getting your boarding pass as you brace for a trip alone to a place you’ve never been. And as always, there’s much to be said about traveling and making it back home without any major glitches but loads of stories to tell!

  4. Creates moments alone which allow for introspection. I started my career in destination marketing in the little resort town of Victoria Falls, 8 months after returning from an 8-year stint in Atlanta, Georgia. This experience of trading the big city in America to the savannah of Zimbabwe transformed my life in more ways than you can imagine, from packing all my treasured belongings as I left my parents’ home to arriving and settling in to this remote town wherein I was clearly a misfit at the onset! I enjoyed many sunsets alone, with nothing but the African sun glaring at me. I walked home alone on many occasions after a long shift at work, hoping that I wouldn’t meet baboons on the way, which had a knack for attacking female residents of the little town. In these moments that became the year I lived in Victoria Falls, I dreamed about what I wanted my future to look like and said many a prayer. I wasn’t traveling then but I lived in a town that welcomed guests from all over the world. It was those interactions with people from everywhere that showed me the power of humanity, and the similarities we all share in our desire to be, do and experience better. Moments alone allowed me to process the things I was learning in that season, and the backdrop was a beautiful destination whose claim to fame was one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World – the Majestic Victoria Falls.

  5. Travel lets you dream, and dreams do come true. I mean who doesn’t want to live the dream right? When we travel, we get to meet new people, experience new cultures, try out new cuisines, take in new sights and sounds that inspire us to pursue the greatness within, learn history and so much more. But the bigger excitement lies in the being able to mentally visualize and physically experience the things that speak to our souls. So, whether the dream is living a life of adventure, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds, taking in scenic landscapes or finding inspiration through learning, travel is that one thing that pulls all these elements together to yield transformation in you!

Now then, could it be time to discover more about yourself? Scheduling in your next trip could be your next best step to doing just that!

Passionate about travelling, writing about and experiencing leisure and lifestyle brands, Yvonne C Mtengwa is a Communications strategist, Founder and Editor of Travel Essence Magazine, and owner of Dubai-based Narratives PR (, a boutique communications agency specializing in entrepreneurial design, book publishing and shaping the narrative of African-owned lifestyle and social development brands through content writing.

She is an Amazon Best-selling Author and visionary for the Reinvented Today brand, a movement that seeks to inspire women to live a life of everyday reinvention through curated events and the Reinvented Series of books.

Connect with Yvonne on IG on @quintessentially_yvonne or visit and subscribe to her website on

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