Traveling has the power to transform us and change your outlook on life and yourself as an individual. Here are seven destinations that are guaranteed to open your eyes and give you plenty of moments of self-reflection.
1. Kyoto, Japan
This tranquil city which was Japan’s capital for 1,000 years is the perfect place to unplug from the rush of everyday life. Take your time wandering through the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, that include reflective gardens and stunning temples. Kyoto is the complete opposite of the frenzied pace of Tokyo, Japan’s current capital and is the perfect pace to stop and do some serious self-reflection in this highly spiritual place.
2. Istanbul, Turkey
This city not only has a rich layered history, but is also a perfect blend of east and west, and preserving tradition, while simultaneously embracing present-day culture. It is the perfect place to travel to grasp a better understanding of the need for balance in one’s life and how it’s possible to have many different aspects of yourself co-exist simultaneously and harmoniously.
3. San Francisco, USA
This city welcomes people from all walks of life with open arms and teaches all those who come through its Golden Gate to do the same. It is hard not to visit this beautiful City By the Bay and not feel the urge to open yourself up to new experiences that will broaden your horizons and make you more open-minded. Whether you try a new cuisine or immerse yourself in a neighborhood whose culture is a bit foreign to you, San Francisco will teach you how to become more open-minded and tolerant of those around you.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
This city at the very southern tip of Africa will help you step out of your comfort zone and educate you about the horrible racial injustice that has taken place in this area of the world. You will be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s struggle and leadership to bring his country out of the shadows of discrimination and in turn reflect on your own cultural identity in your community at home and in the world.
5. Grindavik, Iceland
Find a sense of peace within the natural healing powers of this coastal Icelandic city. One of the main draws of this place is the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that is the perfect place to cleanse both your body and your mind. There is no place quite like this on the planet and spending time here in this surreal environment will put things in your life into a new perspective.
6. Krakow, Poland
This Eastern European city takes hold of you the moment you arrive and leaves an impression on you long after you leave. Feeling like you are in a modern-day fairytale wandering around the Main Square, around the castle grounds of Wawel or exploring the dragon’s lair (the city’s mascot) it is hard to not feel like you are in a dream. Krakow is not all about dreams though, since it holds reminders of the tragedies that it experienced during the Holocaust. It is a perfect place to educate yourself about the history’s sometimes dark moments and learn about the power of the human spirit that fights through it all.
7. Christchurch, New Zealand
This beautiful city with snow-capped mountain ranges as a backdrop, makes for a tranquil and unique destination to experience. With nature all around this urban landscape it is hard not to reflect inwardly and think about your own life. This city is a great example of recovery after heartache left from 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastated the city and shows all who visit that it is possible to bounce back from unexpected hardships.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com