Updated: Jan 14
So what is it about a new environment that helps us to create change?
To explore this we need to go back a few million years and look at how we evolved to change. In basic terms we adapted to new surroundings and as the planet changed so did all the species within it, including us. Giraffes grew taller necks, birds grew different shaped beaks and we learnt to stand on two feet.
So what happens when you don't move?
It’s quite simple really - you don’t change.
Now, if your happy with the way everything is, that's completely fine and hats off to you. But unfortunately, there are a lot of people that aren’t and do want change in certain aspects of their lives, be it their jobs, their lifestyle, their diet, their health, their relationships, their thoughts or their behaviours. Now I can’t help you grow taller necks or change the shape of your beak but I can help you stand on your own two feet ;)
We’ve all been there at some point:
Procrastinate on big (or small) decisions
Don’t know where to start
Don't know what we want
Don’t know how to get there
But, we want something to change.
Now doing that in the same environment, as we’ve already learnt is going to be extremely difficult. We adapt to our surroundings so if there is no change in these environmental factors it’s going to be very difficult to instigate change.
A change in your environment usually means a change in schedule and a change in schedule means a change in lifestyle, which results in all other kinds of change: food, sleep, language, experiences, people and relationships (including platonic). This has a tremendous ripple effect on our behaviours and habits.
The problem is, if we’re not prepared to change or embrace change it can cause even more stress as ‘the only constant in life is change’ (Heraclitus) so we sure as hell better be ready for it.
This is where new experiences, new challenges and new environments can you give you the skills and tools that you need to be ready for any unexpected changes. Like I mentioned previously, going outside of our comfort zone pushes boundaries and whilst it may be scary its growth and we need to learn to ‘become comfortable with being uncomfortable’.
So why do I think travel helps create change:
A different schedule: this encourages all kinds of different behaviours and daily patterns.
New perspectives: we often see things that we’re not usually exposed to and this can help us appreciate what we do have or take note of what we don’t.
Nature connection: we generally spend more time in nature, which as I discussed previously, has all kinds of benefits to our health and wellbeing. This might be the environment that we need to give us the space and time to think or just play.
Relationships: we meet new like-minded people with shared values. And, who knows what can come from these incredible, often deeper, connections.
Time: we quite often have more time to think and plan.
Attributes: if we try new things and push boundaries we’ll develop vital skills that will help when change does come around, even if we don’t instigate it.
Habits: due to new triggers (stimuli) we develop new behaviours and that results in different rewards. This is the start of forming new habits.
Space: having the physical space as well as mental space gives us a chance to think differently.
Adventure: we were born explorers and for many of us we need to fulfil this need. Maybe just a short term change is all you need.
Play: we forget how important this is and don’t do it enough. Travel can give us the permission to play (again) in new and wonderful places.
Ultimately we can all create change but it’s having the courage and willpower to make it happen. We get comfortable in our usual environments and going outside of these comfort zones is scary. However, fear is an important part of that change as we’re going into the unknown but developing important skills and growing as a result of it.
The other issue with creating change is that we tend to be very goal-focused as opposed to journey focused. This means we constantly think about the big picture without breaking it down into smaller steps. This can become overwhelming and as a result, we fall back into those usual behaviours of making excuses, building barriers, procrastinating and feeling stuck.
Travel can help us create change as we begin to see things differently. We appreciate the smaller things, the simple things and this can help us break down those stages into much more manageable, bitesize chunks.
It takes a lot of willpower, determination, failure, tenacity and courage to create change but remember, it’s a personal journey and the challenges and obstacles are different for each and everyone one of us.
This is why Project Change was created, to help people transition through this change. The idea was to help people discover what it was they wanted to change (as quite often people aren’t sure of the root cause of the issue). The second phase is to help them realise and appreciate the skills and attributes that they have and most importantly enjoy. And, finally, empower them with the tools and resources to transition:
Discover: we want to find out why people are there and what they want to change
Develop: work on the skills and attributes to help drive this change
Change: empower people with the confidence and strategies in place for change to occur.
As well as it being a psychological journey, we believe that the physical journey is just as important. Therefore by creating the right environmental conditions we can ensure that travel can be a huge facilitator to create change, whilst exploring new places with incredible people. Not to mention travelling sustainably with purpose and impact.
If you’re interested in travel and change, come and join us for our first event on Wednesday 29th January at Essex House, 29-31 Essex Road, Angel, London, N1 2SA. The guys at Essex House have also kindly offered us a beer and pizza at just £10 - worth coming just for that :)