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Is travel the ultimate teacher?

How many of us move through life accepting the path that is given to us rather than aligning what is important to us with our daily actions?

It is when our values align with our actions that we are most satisfied and feel that we are on our true path. As part of our business, we work alongside workplaces to deliver education to employees. One of the most rewarding parts from this is witnessing people have that light bulb moment and understand what they value and where they want to devote their attention and effort. The alignment is important in keeping us committed to a path. The more important it is to us and aligned with our values, the more likely it will receive focus from us when other distractions come our way.

In a recent article, I introduced the concept of the explorer spirit that lies within all of us. For some, it is top of mind. For others, it can be pushed back below the surface due to other conflicting priorities or circumstances in our lives. It is important for us to continually awaken the explorer spirit to get the most out of life and achieve the greatest personal growth.

A recent European holiday, which included time in Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Switzerland, provided me with a refreshed perspective and appreciation for the opportunities I have been given in both my personal and professional life. Each of these have shaped my expectations and guided my beliefs and values.

There is an excitement that goes with exploring new countries or places, as it is uncharted territory. Embracing the new experiences in terms of landscape, people, languages and currency has the potential to transform us. As we uncover new things, it supports, modifies or changes existing values, beliefs and expectations. It can change our goals and dreams and what we hold as important.

In many respects, we are a function of what we know and have experienced. This leaves a large gap of the unknown that we have not experienced either directly or indirectly through others.

What my recent trip has made me think about is how lucky I have been in the many opportunities I have had to travel overseas. I decided to do the test of how many countries I have visited over the last 30 years. Over this time, I have had the privilege of working and living overseas for four years and have travelled for work extensively. Out of the 195 countries in the world, I could only get up to 20 countries visited for both personal and work purposes.

I appreciate that it is not just about the number of countries visited but also the time and experiences during visits that hold significance in shaping values. However, as a simplistic representation of just how much we have not experienced, I still have 175 countries to explore and learn from… what an exciting opportunity this represents!

In each of these countries, I have had some very unique experiences and met some amazing people. What it made me think of was that even though I have had some great experiences, what other experiences are there out there in those that I have not visited to date.

Achieving great financial wellness comes from awakening our explorer spirit and from understanding our personal “why” and what is important. The key to this is understanding that what is important to us changes regularly and is a function of our experiences and beliefs at a point in time. Therefore, I encourage you to seek out new experiences in new places.

Through our work with teams within workplaces around the various elements of financial wellness, the greatest reward comes from helping individuals reignite their explorer spirit and truly understand what they value.

I encourage you too to take the test of how many countries you have been to and see how you score.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain