“For I assure you, without travel, at least for people from the arts and sciences, one is a miserable creature!…A man of mediocre talents always remains mediocre, may he travel or not–but a man of superior talents, which I cannot deny myself to have without being blasphemous, becomes–bad, if he always stays in the same place.” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
There are forces that work on you when you’re in the middle of travel. Time flexes, and the clock you’re familiar with slips off-kilter. Truthfully, it’s us that slips off-kilter, the clock remains indifferent. Travel forces adaptation and change. Those who stubbornly hold on to their routine aren’t rewarded with the benefit of transformation. Let the world wash over you and the old ways of thinking are swept away. You’re carried to new ideas and lifted to new places.
In one evening of wine-fueled conversation I practiced German with Austrians, French with a well-travelled Frenchman and discussed the origins of Christian names with an Irish woman. Moments like that remain locked in your mind, even as it releases you from your previous way of looking at the world. We can never stay in the same place, we must reach beyond to grow.
We’re all on a path of becoming something more than we might otherwise be. Travel done well is a shock to the system, allowing us to get past ourselves. It can’t help but make us better at our work, for it surely transforms us as people.