Nick Kershaw is the Founder & CEO of Impact Marathon Series. For 18 months he has lived nomadically having sold all but what he can fit in his 2 bags. He gives us some insight into how this constant life on the road has expanded his mindset.
1. It gives your cultural identity a shock
The phenomenon of ‘Culture Shock’ describes the challenge you feel mentally when everything feels different and everyone around you makes you feel like an outsider. Symptons include turning inwards, locking yourself away and crying, quite a lot of crying. In this time of fear, comes growth. Each time you land somewhere new, feel nervous and grow to feel comfortable you become a more rounded, more patient and a cooler person to be around. ‘Culture Shock’ may sound scary but it is some of the most powerful personal development you will ever come across. To know, to understand, to feel another way of seeing the world is an immensely beautiful experience - and will change you in ways you cannot imagine today.
At a time when the world is faced with a refugee crisis not seen in a generation; it is powerful to understand, in your own small way, the fear that comes with such a change.
2. You meet fascinating people along the way
It is rarely the sights and sounds that make a place special. The world is full of breathtaking sunsets and gorgeous vistas. These are the easiest ways to experience travel, but truthfully a sunset does not define a country, that job is entirely down to the people that call it 'home'. A place only comes to life when you begin to meet people; discover the spots that lie outside the ‘Tourist Gaze’. It is rare to find you cannot use some manner of communication to make someone laugh, and to laugh yourself. If only 7% of communication is verbal then imagine the fun you can have exploring the other 93% not because you want to...but because you have to.
You will find each country has the same mix of love, fear, excitement, crazy as your own country. You'll find the people who are just like 'I'm the British 'him' and he is the Indonesian 'me'!'. You may even find that someone who changes your life forever.
The memories that come from the way an old man helps you out catching the right train, or the glint in the eye of a kid trying to beat you at football are the priceless ways that travel opens you. Break free from the hotel, hostel or Lonely Planet recommendations. Throw yourself into having to trust strangers...you'll be blown away.
One of our favourite blogs is by the wonderful Heather Geluk - Check it out!
"Strangers are just friends waiting to happen..."
3. Lessons from the past to guide your future
Travel offers a rare insight into the history of countries not taught in your History class at school. Recent trips to Mexico and Guatemala have opened our eyes to the rise and fall of the Mayan culture. Some time in Greece will help put meat on the bones of your mythological understanding.
If you grew up in Europe – how much do you know about the Conquistadors? If you grew up in South America – do you realise just how the European Union has managed to bring a continent brutally divided by two devastating wars to a peaceful co-engaged life? In Nepal, you learn how the Ghurka soliders became known as the finest found anywhere in the world. I learnt the otehr day that Colombians think there are 6 Continents and Brits think there are 7...some countries even learn there are 4!! A very small but hugely impactful difference in how we view the world.
But more than the small stories are the incredible history we can uncover - what is the impact of the Guatemalan civial war today? How were borders constructed across Africa, what impact does that have?
History leaves an impact, you are right now leaving an impact - directly and indirectly without even realising it. Your only choice is, what will your impact be? Will it be positive or negative?
All our perspectives are forged in local schools, with local mindsets. Travelling to hear the stories, the lessons other countries have learnt, can help you to spot patters in your own life.
4. Food, glorious food
The great uniting power of humanity. Sitting down, with new people and breaking bread together is the simplest means of sharing cultures, traditions. It’s fair to say some of the tribal foods shared in East Africa have preceded some anguished days – but with time, memories to laugh at!
Cooking changes so much even within in a country but the ingredients are all very similar. What is particularly fascinating is that it’s not what we use, it’s how we use them.
Flour, rice, potatoes, meat, vegetables! When was the last time you had something truly new to eat? Probably a long time ago. But the last time you had a new flavor or style of food? That was probably pretty recent.
You don’t have to like everything you eat…but it’s fun to find out completely new ways of seeing the same ingredients you have used all your life. It's another of the small, every day ways that travelling helps us grow and expand our own mindset. It changes what becomes possible in your own kitchen but, perhaps more powerfully, it changes your mind to see everyday things in entirely new ways.
WOW! This week, we are offering one lucky reader a trip to the Nepal Impact Marathon in November. We have even thrown in a flight as well...so you simply have no excuse not to try and win...