Travel changes you. Essentially, anything you do that makes you slightly uncomfortable changes you. Admittedly, not everywhere you travel to will be life-changing. I found my change in Peru and it was the place that ignited my passion for travel.
Through an immersion into Peru’s culture, an open mind and so much more, I experienced a personal transformation through travel.
Let’s talk about Peru
I always talk about Peru with such fond memories. It was the place where I fell in love with travel. Peru represented experiencing cultures, a new language, spreading love, being my authentic self, finding common grounds and appreciating differences. It gave me the total travel experience.
Did you know? Peru got 700,000 Africans in the slave trade. They are now called Afro-Peruvians.
Valuing experiences over things through cultural immersion
An undiluted cultural experience is one of the most transformative things ever. After you get past the initial culture shock, if any, everything else feels like pure magic. You start to appreciate the world and it’s differences even more and you come to value experiences, people and culture over material possessions.
Peru gave me an unreal cultural experience. An exposure to the people, the language, and the food and the food (yes, I said it twice). It was great to see just how different, yet similar it was to my home country, Nigeria.
Peru: Try Inca Kola, Ceviche, Cuy (Guinea pig), Arroz Con Leche. When you eat, make sure you compliment the food by saying, “Que Rico” meaning “It is delicious”
Learning and relearning from stereotypes
It’s amazing to discover the stereotypes people have of the people that look like you. Some are outright terrible, some manageable but whatever the case, it will change you. The humbling feeling of being unknown and largely misunderstood. “Oh, you don’t know Nigeria? It’s the largest country in Africa” “Oh we actually live in bricks and mortars as opposed to huts”. These were some of the questions I was asked in Peru. It is an opportunity to teach someone something new and learn something in return but it makes you realize just how big the world is and the fact that not everyone is aware of where you come from. If anything, this will teach you humility.
On the flip side, this is your one true chance to see things for yourself by having a first-hand experience in the country. Before I went to Peru, all I had heard about the place was “Peruvian Hair”. While Peruanas have such great hair, there was so much more about the country that I discovered.
Peru: Some of the locals in Peru had never heard of a country called Nigeria before. They knew Africa though but classified it as a country.
Respecting cultures and being your authentic self
As you travel, it’s easier to be yourself because you are aware that you are away from familiar customs and eyes filled with expectations about how to lead your life. That mini skirt that’s largely a taboo in your country isn’t even a thing where you’re going. It is what it is. A skirt. That freedom and relearning is empowering. And if you’re lucky, you will take it back home with you. Now, you might go home and still not wear a mini skirt because you have to respect the customs of your country but the freedom will breathe life into other aspects of your life and you will begin to live more freely, more happily and more whole.
At the same time, you have to respect the traditions and customs of the country you are heading to. It’s their country after all and if you chose to visit, you should be more than willing to be respectful to their opinions and way of life.
Peru: In Peru, you shouldn’t call someone over to you with a first finger curled upward. Although this gesture can be used to get someone to come closer to you in America, in Peru it is considered an insult.
Finding the common ground
No matter where your adventure leads you, you can be sure that you will find something largely similar to your home country. Of course, this can be because you are seeing things through your own eyes that have been shaped by your experiences but again, this can be because, well, there really is a similarity. If you don’t find anything though, you will surely find that everywhere you go, the common goal is to be happy. How we all choose to pursue it is all that is different.
Peru: Finding the common ground between my country Nigeria and Peru was not too difficult. The people are one of the happiest on earth even though their economy is not in the best shape.
Peru: My heart’s lighthouse
Peru is my heart’s lighthouse. I think for everyone, there is that one place that holds a special place in your memory and Peru is it for me. Thanks to Peru, I embrace travel and I am able to ditch my comfort zone and be more accepting of other cultures, of myself and of the world. If it doesn’t challenge you, it wouldn’t change you.
So that is my personal transformation through travel. Now it’s your turn. Has travel changed anything about you? Let me know in the comments.
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Until next time,