Solving problems by traveling

Dear Diary,

running away from problems is not a solution. Or maybe it is? What do you think?

I think running away forever and ignoring your problems and leaving them behind is not the answer. At some point, you just have to deal with your problems. Whether you want to or not. But what can actually help: Gaining some distance - some detachment - from your problems. For me, my stay abroad in England was exactly that distance.

Shortly before my Erasmus year, some things happened in my life that I had to come to terms with. It's a very personal, drastic issue that also affects other people, which is why I don't want to or can't go into any more detail at this point. In any case, I wasn't able to deal with this personal problem at home. On the contrary: the more I was at home, the more problematic it actually became.

And then came my year in England. Finally some distance. And this distance was worth its weight in gold! When I was in England, I was suddenly able to look at my problems from a completely different perspective. I finally had time to reflect and deal with my problems objectively!

Ironically, I even had a lecture in England that dealt with reflection. Here I had to write a “reflective log”. We learned the six steps of reflection:

1. Description: What happened?

2. Feelings: What do you think and feel?

3. Evaluation: What was good/what was bad?

4. Analysis: What sense can you make of the whole thing?

5. Result: What could you have done differently?

6. Plan: What can you learn from this? How will you proceed in the future?

Although I didn't quite realize it in the lecture, I subconsciously ticked off these points one after the other during my time abroad. First of all, I took a close look at what had happened at home and how I felt about it. Then I slowly started to open up to the whole thing and suddenly recognized the advantages as well as the disadvantages. Because while I only saw bad things in Germany, in England I started to think about why the situation also had good sides. As a result, I was suddenly able to make sense of the situation. I began to see the problem no longer as a problem, but as a mere change in my life. This realization ultimately led me to rethink my previous actions with the problem in mind. Building on this, I thought about how I could behave better in the future - once I was back in Germany.

Of course, it didn't happen as quickly as I've just described. Rather, it was a lengthy process that took me several months. Several months apart in England. Time and distance that I didn't have in Germany. This time and distance were like a psychologist for me. I probably wouldn't have reflected on my problem in the same way without this distance. In any case, it would certainly have taken me much longer to come to my conclusions.

Naturally, back in Germany, it wasn't all peace and happiness again. Rather, I first needed time to implement my new way of thinking. To be honest, the first few weeks back home were a bit of a setback. Because when you're suddenly confronted with the problem on a daily basis again, it's much more difficult to deal with it in a reflective and objective way than to think about resolutions in the distance. But after a certain adjustment period, I finally managed it!

It could be that I would have achieved similar results in Germany at the same time, nobody knows. But I am sure that I would not have reflected to the same extent in Germany and would not have come this far in my way of thinking. On the one hand, my personal feeling tells me that, on the other hand, I could see clear differences in the levels of reflection between my brother (who had no distance) and me (who was able to gain 9 months of distance thanks to England).

Even on shorter stays abroad, I have often been able to reflect better on certain topics. In the case of smaller events, sometimes a shorter period of time can help you process them. I have also generally developed my way of thinking through my travels. For example, I have developed a much more sustainable way of thinking. I have also been able to gather a lot of impressions on the subject of nutrition, so that over time I have developed a much healthier (for me) attitude to food.

I may not have any concrete evidence to support my claim that traveling can help you solve your problems (better). But my own experiences clearly show me that traveling has helped me to rethink my problems and my everyday behavior. This reflection always helps me to solve problems more objectively and adapt my everyday actions. But try it for yourself and make your own experiences!

xx Chiara