Change Your View, Change Your Perspective


By Steve Piacente


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Life coach and author Steve Piacente talks about how travel can change your perspective. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, PodBean, or SoundCloud.


Traveling by city bus one day in a town with a gleaming, blue bay that seemed as big as the sky above it, I asked the driver if motorists could use cash to pay the bridge toll. “Don’t know,” he said. “I never cross. I stay on my side of the bay.”

I thought it odd, since he said he’d lived in the area for decades. What was he missing, I wondered, by sticking to his side of the bay?

Next day when I crossed, I found out. The list of treasures was long, but that’s a side note. What matters is that moving beyond the familiar changes our perspective. Indeed, everything looks different from the other side of the bay, or the state, or the country. International travel adds exponentially to the equation.

Living in your comfort zone may feel safe and cozy, but it checks growth, and probably opportunity. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said it best – “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

It was with that in mind that I, pre-COVID, traveled for three weeks through Israel – from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, from Masada and the Dead Sea to the Hula Valley, with many stops along the way – and took lots more shots. Because you never know. Following Gretzky’s advice could be thrilling. Or affirming. Or life-changing. Even if you have to pay cash to cross a bridge or two.

As a life coach, one of my favorite questions is, How else can you look at that? One way is to get on a plane and get off in a place you’ve never seen. The idea of investing in experiences instead of things is actually as old as bone ice skates, invented by the ancient Finns to zip around the ice and get a new look at their chilly world.

Over the years, many sage voices have weighed in, like:

  • Pico Iyer: “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves.”
  • Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness …”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Sometimes it’s easy to get trapped by our routines, and hard to figure a way out. Even meditation may fall short. Sometimes you just need to get away.

In Israel, I lost myself in so many idyllic scenes – a bare-chested trumpeter in Haifa, eyes closed, drowning out everything with his playing but the music in his head; the long, candlelit beard of a religious leader holding services in Jerusalem; the buoyant but stinging salt of the incredibly warm Dead Sea. Whatever was waiting back home would have to wait a little longer.

Still not convinced? Once COVID recedes, you might be put off by cost, time, and potential hassle. But the good outweighs the bad. Here are six reasons to pack a bag and hit the road:

  • Attention to detail that has survived the centuries in Jerusalem.
    Attention to detail that has survived the centuries in Jerusalem.

1 — It’s true: your field of vision broadens away from home. Immerse yourself in a new culture, talk to strangers and get off the Internet for a payday full of personal insights. This, many say, is also the difference between being a traveler and a tourist.

2 — You could very well be in a rut and don’t know it. Travel shakes things up. It forces you to toss out your schedule, try new things, and be more spontaneous.

3 — You’ll come home feeling more confident and creative. We know this anecdotally and intuitively. But there’s also science to back it up. More here from The Atlantic.

4 — There are lots of pre-journey benefits. Planning (without over-planning), sounding out friends who have already been where you’re headed, and setting goals are all rewarding activities, and will give you a psychic boost.

5 — Spending time away helps get you back in touch with your core values. While it’s arguable that the answers to all questions lie within, getting “without” — sampling new sights, sounds, for instance — will help reinforce what matters most in your life.

6 — As you gather new experiences, you’ll also build a stash of memories that gleam long after the shine wears off anything you can buy. As author Paulo Coelho advised, “Collect moments, not things.”

When you return, all will not be perfect. The challenges you left may still remain. But you’ll look at them differently, and you’ll have more insight and energy to turn hurdles into highways. Why make travel part of your journey? Because it’s fun navigating the road less traveled, and because things always look different from the other side of the bay.

Steve Piacente is the owner of Next Phase Life Coaching in Rockville, MD, and the author of Your New Fighting Stance: Good Enough Isn’t, and You Know It.” Steve is also Director of Training at The Communication Center in Washington, D.C.



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About the Author:

Steve Piacente is the owner of Next Phase Life Coaching in Rockville, MD, and the author of “Your New Fighting Stance: Good Enough Isn’t, and You Know It.”

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