Recently, I traveled to see my brother in Colorado, his wife is abroad traveling with a friend and his response to that was "I am so happy she's traveling, it teaches you about yourself. It shows you the kind of music you want to listen to, the types of foods you want to make, the way you want to keep your house."
I can't help but be inspired by his thoughts. In my experience when I step out of my comfortable world into someone else's world, my eyes are open to new possibilities. You know when people talk about those dot paintings that you can't understand when you are standing close to them? To take in the whole picture you have to step back, that is my life. Getting too into routine, too comfortable with the way my home, body, life, heart, mind, relationship, or spirit feel, puts me too close. I can't see the details, the shapes, the big picture. I stop making changes, stop learning and stop growing.
On this trip I was living in my brothers world. This isn't something I've even done outside of the one month of our relationship where we enjoyed Game-Cube together. I did farm work at the mercy of his instruction. I helped organize and decorate his space which is a much warmer and more eclectic than mine. I cooked food the way he cooks food and listened to the music he listens to. I literally wore my sister-in-laws shoes and walked many more than just a mile in them. I stepped outside of my reality into his and here's what I learned:
I actually want more texture and color in my home. I miss listening to music from all over the World. I value hard manual labor and the reward at the end of it. I love being resourceful. I want to own a goat. I need the company of nature. I love cashew cheese.
In the past I would have been resistant to stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing things that weren't apart of my normal world. I would have begged him to not paint his living room yellow and to please stop playing weird music. I wouldn't have gathered eggs or hiked up a mountain (That's actually true. I've been left at the trail head before because my boots were too heavy and I was complaining. That's so embarrassing.) I would have left for the trip the way I was and come home the exact same.
I didn't though. The lasting side-effect of travel is growth. I am able to study myself, shift what I think I know about who that is, and open myself up to different. I really feel that by being willing to shift, to try new ways of living, I am able to continually become more of who I want to be, myself.