300 Days Of Personal Growth


300 days abroad. One of those days I traveled with a Thai train 300 days abroad – Accounts of the inner journey 

It is time to make up the balance after being abroad for more then 300 days. However, in this article I want to reflect on the inner journey instead of the actual trip. Where there any spiritual or mental changes during these 300 days? Can I speak of inner growth? Was it a good idea to exchange the safe harbor for an unpredictable sea? Am I happier when I travel or when I stay home?

It is important to reserve some time for reflection during long journeys. At such moments, I advice you to write an overview of your thoughts and experiences. What are the benefits of your current lifestyle, and what are the problems that you encounter? What better way is there then to write it all down. Here are some personal growth lessons, which I gained during my 300 days abroad.


A traveler needs to learn to be patient. The challenge to be patient provides itself in many forms. For example, traveling often means waiting. At airports, at bus stations, at border crossings, during flights etc. The real challenge starts when you finally arrive at your new destination. Already on boiling point, you often have to deal with all kinds of people that want or need something from you. They can greatly increase the patience challenge.

I did my fair share of waiting and dealing with annoying people (who, at their turn, can be very patient in slow cooking your remaining sanity). I can still be impatient but long term travelling numbs that feeling. You start to accept that it is part of the deal. I say this to myself every time I am about to lose my mind. Sometimes it works, sometimes I end up in a police cell..

More respect for the “smaller” things in life

A roof above your head. A bed under your body. Healthy and rich food on the table. Friends and family members who care about you. A place you can call home. The longer I travel the more I start to realize how important these things are in a person’s life. I might not give them much thoughts when they are present, but I think about them a lot when they are out of reach.


I often say it to myself with a slight feeling of disbelief, am I really doing it? Yes, I am really doing it! I am following my dream of traveling around the world and living abroad. It puts a smile on my face every time I think about it. Now I feel really lucky and blessed that I have the opportunity to live this kind of life. I truly appreciate this amazing gift.Me being happy


Trips to less developed and poorer countries always make me appreciate what I have. I am able to travel the world. I have a lot of free time, and I can use that time to do fun things. Not everybody receives those opportunities. I often realize how blessed I am when I see people who have to work for pennies everyday of the week, or really poor beggars who have to live on the street.

I used to nag a lot back home, but really, I have nothing to complain about. I am living an amazing live. However, I try not to brag about it to much. During my travels, I am often confronted with the hardships of less fortunate people. Seeing them suffer made me decide to create charity projects in the countries that I visit. I also try to become a more humble person.


I thought we had to work hard in the Netherlands. That our lives where tough and that we did not earn enough money. I used to open my mouth about those “problems”, and out of my mouth came complaints. In Thailand, I got a much needed lesson in humbleness. Life in the Netherlands was not so bad after all. I learned to listen instead of to talk. To give instead of to take.

Make that inner journey

As you might have noticed, a lot of my inner reflections are focused on confrontations with poverty and the hardships of other people. I guess coming from a “rich” and western country, it can sometimes be a shock and an eye opener to learn about the daily reality on the other side of the world.

Personal growth will emerge from that knowledge. You learn to be humble and appreciate what you have. You learn to care for others and to be more patient. Combine these positive changes with feelings of freedom and you know why you have to make that inner journey. That is why I encourage people to travel and why I will continue to write about it.

How did you mentally change while traveling? Which great insights, skills and abilities did you gain during your trip?

Useful links

  • Mythic stories and inner growth: A great article from Jonathan Young. How adventure stories and mythic tales show us the important challenges of the journey. During our journey we change and gain knowledge. We leave, learn and eventually return as a wiser person.
  • My charity project: I made it my goal to start a charity project in every country that visit for a longer period. On this page you can read about my current charity efforts in Thailand.
  • Back to the Home Page 


How to Live an Extraordinary Life

Bangkok protest rally stage. There are many ways to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to compete with fear, embarrassment or laziness. Whatever it is that makes you feel uncomfortable, it will challenge you when you confront it, and when you are challenged your feel stronger emotions. Staying comfortable maybe makes you feel bored, lazy or uninspired, while getting uncomfortable can make you feel exited, trilled or motivated. Now which of those emotions would you prefer?

Is your life boring? Do you lack the energy or motivation to accomplish something? Then challenge yourself to get into uncomfortable situations. Once you have experienced them, and step back in that safe comfort zone, you feel satisfied about what you accomplished. Fear is exchanged for happiness because you confronted your uncomfortable feelings.

What you have to do to become uncomfortable is different for everyone. Sometimes those actions are not scary or challenging. Maybe they are frustrating or annoying, before they become rewarding and exiting. Here are some examples that really changed things for me, when I stepped out of my comfort zone to overcame my discomforts.

Uncomfortable decisions that changed my live

An important challenge for me was to start traveling. At first only for short periods but eventually indefinitely. This was a very uncomfortable and live changing decision. I ditched my job and started working on my uncertain career as a travel writer. I lost my financial comfort and the comfortable feeling of being in my own country. However, it was absolutely worth it. Traveling is an excellent way to step out of your comfort zone.

During my travels I have petted a tiger, driven a motorcycle true Laos, skydived in New Zealand, talked with protesters on a rally stage in Bangkok and belly danced for a tour group in Turkey. All kinds of things that made me very uncomfortable in one way or another. Sometimes I embarrassed myself, sometimes I hurt myself, sometimes I felt totally horrible or even utterly scared and stupid.

But I never regret having experienced those moments, never ever. They made my live more extraordinary and provided me with unforgettable memories. Those memories will keep adding up. When I am old I can lean back and be happy and satisfied because I showed the courage to step outside of my comfort zone, and therefore got rewarded with an exiting live.

What could go wrong?

I often battle with my imagination when I want do something uncomfortable. Then I start thinking about what could go wrong, what people would think of me or what might happen if I fail. But it usually turns out to be completely different and not that bad at all. A lot of times it turned out to be far more exiting and rewarding then I could ever have imagined.

Sometimes getting uncomfortable does not mean jumping out of an airplane or entertaining people on a stage. It also means doing your exercises, even if you feel tired or lazy. It means finishing that article even though you want to watch television or go to bed. It means approaching that person and ask for a date. Think about how those actions can really change your live.

Getting uncomfortable is one of the most important actions I have to take every day. It provides me with motivation because I know the rewarding result. For example as a writer I notice that I am far more exited and motivated to write articles about situations which trilled me. I also enjoy that amazing feeling when I realize I am doing something extraordinary or unusual.

Maybe you feel very uncomfortable at certain moments, but eventually you will be rewarded for your efforts. The people that achieved great things did not get there by staying in their comfort zone. They went that extra mile. They crossed the line. That is what made them great. That is what will make you great.

What was your most rewarding uncomfortable action and how did it change your live?

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable


Me and tiger.Why you should step outside of you comfort zone

We have been touring around Antalya for hours. The atmosphere in the bus is dull. People look bored and act grumpy. Then we reach this large dining place. Our last stop for today. During the next two hours we eat and, more importantly, we drink Turkish Raki. During the dinner we are entertained by dancers and singers, and the last act of the evening is a Turkish belly dancer.

She comes to the stage and lets her belly move. At a certain point during the act she asks if someone likes to join her. However, that will most likely not going to happen. I have been touring with these people, and I know for certain there is no one going to do that. Shyness and embarrassment vibrate in the room.

It trills me though. I know I can make a difference, if I have the courage to raise my hand. I know it will be hard to overcome my own shyness, but I also know that getting up that stage can change this dull tour and my vacation. This is my chance. I raise my hand, and then push my friend to do the same. Luckily he also shows courage by joining me

The belly dancer takes us to the stage and pulls of our shirts. There I am with my skinny white belly. I block my thoughts and go for it. The three of us manage to pull of a hilarious act. Our once so grumpy tour group, filled with alcohol and sudden excitement, cheers and claps. A day of markets, historic buildings and a Turkish sauna can not provide as much fun as we are giving.

The bus ride back to the hotel shows a big contrast with the previous rides. Everybody is cheering, singing and talking. Various people show us the pictures they took of our spontaneous act. I laugh inside, our white belly’s are probably going to be the highlight of so many vacation pictures.

Get uncomfortable and change your live

Because of stepping out of my comfort zone I created an unforgettable memory during a somewhat dull vacation. By getting up on that stage we changed the night for all those people in the tour group. It was a great feeling and I often think back about that night. Now I push myself to live outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. By doing this I create lasting memories and an exciting live.

You can’t afford to stay in your comfort zone if you want an exiting live. I encourage you to get up on that stage and live your live to the fullest. Realize that by constantly stepping out of your comfort zone you will get more confident, have more courage and change more and more uncomfortable situations into comfortable ones.

Do you often step out of your comfort zone? What kind of memorable moments did you create by taking those steps?

Start Growing

Have you ever thought of learning how to develop yourself and grow as a human being? It can be difficult to know where to begin. Maybe you started looking for information online. You entered the words Personal Development in the Google search bar and quickly became overwhelmed by all the information available. Where to start you might have thought and maybe you got so demoralized that you decided to let it be. So far for your attempt to have a better life.

Maybe giving up at that point seemed not such a big deal but realize that you started looking because you felt you needed to improve some unsatisfying aspects of your life. That unsatisfied feeling will stay and grow and you know that eventually you will find yourself typing in those same Google search words again or maybe you just give up and settle for a mediocre live. At least you tried.

Now that is obviously not a scenario you desire. Don’t worry, this article will teach you the first step you have to take when you want to start improving yourself. Actually when you choose to look online for advice about personal development or read this article you already have your first foot on the start line and that is the most important one on your path.

The first step

Whether you want to learn about Personal Development because you want to become a better public speaker, become more confident or any other reason you might have, there is one important decision that you need to make. That is the decision to begin to grow and develop yourself. Whoever you are or what ever your situation is, everybody has to take that first step. Compare it to driving lessons. We all make a choice to learn how to drive a car and we need to learn the basic driving skills but after that we decide for ourselves where to drive to.

Have no fear

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
Chinese Proverb

You need to decide that Personal Development is going to be a part of your life. Realize however, that the process is going to be tough and long. You need to be really committed to your goal. It is not going to happen with a quick fix.

Maybe all kinds of questions and fears are popping up now. What if it is too difficult, what if it takes too much of my time, what if I fail. Forget all those fears, you are already close to your most important victory. Which is making the intelligent choice to start focusing on growth and development. That could become the most important decision in your life.

Don’t think about the next steps for now, you will figure them out later and you will overcome them too. Yes Self Improvement will be difficult work sometimes but remember that you are in the process of development. From now on you will only fail if you give up on yourself and your decision to grow in life.

Don’t worry about the time consuming factor. You decide how much time you want to put into Personal Development but remember that you are growing and that means that it can never be wasted time. Realize that you will waste time and probably your life when you don’t take action and settle for a mediocre life instead of living the life of your dreams.

Don’t worry if you do not see immediate results. Personal Development can be a very slow process. Be patient, as long as you feel that you keep growing your on the right path.

Are you ready?

I Assume, because you are reading this article, that you want to start growing. Think about that decision. It is an important one so take your time. Think about the advices in the article, think about your current situation and eventually decide if you are ready to start improving your life.

If you are ready to make a commitment to yourself then make sure it is a strong one. Don’t agree with thoughts like: I will try or: well let’s see first. Make the decision with whole your hart and soul. Go stand in front of the mirror and repeat it out loud a few times: ‘I am ready to start growing. ‘ ‘I am ready to start living the life of my dreams. ‘ Remember this moment, it could become the most important moment in your life.

Again, don’t worry about what you have to do next. You completed the biggest and most important step already. From here on you are in control. Whether you keep following my advices or those of somebody else, whether you decide to go to seminars or read motivational books to make the next step, it is all up to you now. The first step is universal the next one’s are personal but one thing is sure: you are now committed to start living the life of your dreams. Nothing is going to stop you because you know what you want. You want to grow.

I would like to read about your decision to change your life. What motivated you to start developing yourself? What did you feel at that moment and how do you look back at it? What is your next step to improve?  You can leave your comment in the comment section below.


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