Small ways to expand your horizons

Almost every day, we’re faced with photos, tweets, Facebook ‘check-in’s’ of people jetting off across the other side of the world to go travelling. People who have spent the day in a waterfall, exploring another culture, sky-diving, snorkeling – you name it and you’ve probably seen someone you know on social media doing it. Whether you follow any travel bloggers or not, there’s always posts cropping up about why you should travel, how travel makes you a better person, how to find yourself by travelling and so on. I’m not making fun of people who travel; I think if it’s what you want to do and you have the means to do it then that’s amazing and you should totally go for it. But I am saying that not all of us can, should or want to travel. And that’s okay too.

But I certainly don’t think the only way to make yourself a “better” or “more rounded” person or the only way to “find yourself” is through travelling. The stark reality is that some people can’t afford to travel extensively. Some people can’t afford one holiday a year, let alone 6 months of globe trotting. And some people just don’t crave that lifestyle. I don’t fall on either end of the spectrum, really. I don’t feel a need or desire to travel. I don’t particularly want to go to Thailand (too hot) or Australia (too many spiders). But I do love a holiday, would love to be able to go on more holidays throughout the year. I like home but I don’t get home-sick. I’m kinda floating somewhere in the middle. 

But I do crave knowledge. I crave new things, experiences, feelings and I always want to expand my horizons. But not being one who feels the need to bungee jump, sky dive or do any other scary activity, I tend to look a little smaller. There’s always value in doing something smaller to expand your horizons and here’s a small list of things you can do if, like me, you’re not an adventure junkie.

1. Read books in a genre you don’t normally read
2. Watch foreign films / TV (I’d recommend ‘Dark’ on Netflix – bloody brilliant!)
3. Watch plenty of documentaries about important subjects.
4. Take up a new hobby
5. Cook new recipes from scratch
6. Do a course on a topic that interests you (Coursera do fab free online courses!)
7. Volunteer
8. Practice Yoga and meditation
9. Start a blog!
10. Start a project / create something
11. Visit somewhere local that you’ve never been before
12. Re-decorate a room in your house
13. Talk to people! (E.g a grandparent. Listen to their stories)
14. Write – experiment with different types of writing (stories, poetry, a journal)
15. Play games of different genres
16. Read non-fiction (I’d highly recommend this book)
17. Go for a walk somewhere nice – clear your head and think about what you want

Do you have anything to add to this list? Where do you fall on the spectrum I mentioned earlier? Are you an avid traveler, prefer the comforts of home or somewhere in-between? Which small activities do you do which you feel expand your horizons and knowledge?

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72 thoughts on “Small ways to expand your horizons

  1. You are so right when it comes to others who cannot afford to travel. This was a great idea and loved some of your alternatives. Instead of feeling the pressure to travel abroad, there are places at home that need exploring too.

  2. Great suggestions to expand your horizons! I do a little bit of everything so as not to fall into a boring rut. I love to try new things and will never turn down a fun new book, food, place or experience. You need to LIVE while you’re ALIVE!

  3. I would love to slowly keep expanding my horizons without breaking the bank! Love your alternative ideas! And I’ve just redecorated my living room so that’s one tucked already!

  4. I enjoyed this so much, I took a screenshot of the tips because I want to refer back to them later. I defo need to read books of a different genre to what I am used too.

    I love to travel and I blog about it, but there is so much more that I can do to broaden my horizons & I know that. I will defo work on doing some new things. Great read Jenny… looking forward to more.

    Jenna
    https://jennasworldview.wordpress.com

  5. I’ve read quite a few posts and seen the images on instagram etc about travelling, and sometimes it sort of makes it feel like I’m in the wrong for not necessarily wanting to go travel all over the world? They probably don’t mean it that way, but it can sometimes just feels like that! I’m the same as you – I do like going on holiday, but I don’t particularly feel like I NEED to go on holiday, especially “to find myself”. The cost of holidays doesn’t particularly help! I couldn’t go on holiday to Australia because of the spiders either 😂 Will definitely be using your list of suggestions when I’m off work for the summer! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

    • I’m in TOTALLY the same boat and I definitely feel like some of these accounts make you feel bad for not traveling or not wanting to travel like they don’t get to say what the rest of us want to do, you know? xxx

  6. I agree with you about the hype regarding traveling these days. It’s true that the road to self-discovery is not always traveling. Sometimes smaller things or our own situations are enough to do that. I really like the idea of taking a course on coursera. Thank you for introducing me with it!

  7. Yes and yes again! Expanding your horizons needn’t cost a fortune, and so many of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to go backpacking to a new country every year. Sometimes it’s just about, like you said, opening a new book or talking to someone new x x x

  8. I’m on a tight budget right now, so international travel is out of option. I’m floating-on-the-middle, keen to explore my own country first.

    And I’ve stopped following the Insta digital nomads totally. That life is so-not-for-me.

    Another great post from you Jenny. Thank you for the suggestions. 🙂

  9. Such a good post Jenny! I am really enjoying your posts, I love it when I get the email alert!
    I would like to be one of those people and explore places and “find myself” but… I can’t afford it, and I have two kids lol! But I have a done a few things on ur list already and starting my blog has been one of the best things of done in finding myself. It was new, I’d never written anything since school and yet, I feel like I’ve been doing for ages!
    Xxx

  10. Aw this is such a great topic for a post! I adore my holidays and prioritise them over other things but I do so feel for people who can’t travel for whatever reason around this time because you’re right, social media is COVERED with people sharing their experiences. These are amazing ways to expand your horizons, and I also think that its important to realise whats in front of you! Travel doesn’t always have to be far, there are often amazing places on peoples doorstep that they’ve never even seen!
    Sophie – https://sophiehearts.net x

  11. This is such a great list Jenny! I totally agree, you don’t need to travel the world to “find yourself”. There are so many other options for self development, yoga & books are my faves. I wouldn’t say no to a few extra holidays though 😂. Thanks for sharing these fantastic suggestions lovely 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  12. Learn another language (even just a few words), visit museums, sponsor a child in another country. I have a “1,000 Places to See before You Die” desk calendar, and I learn something about a different place in the world every day!

  13. Love this little list!
    As I mentioned before I NEED TO READ! But I totally agree on the documentaries. I remember watching Supersize Me and couldn’t believe what I saw. I know the main focus was the guy eating McDonalds but all the other aspects they brought in was super crazy. Deff taking these tips! xx

  14. If money was no object, I would be constantly travelling! I love visiting new places and airports are actually my favourite places, but unfortunately, I can’t afford to go as much as I’d love to.. 😔 I love some of the ideas you’ve listed here, especially watching programmes from a different country!

  15. I think it’s so good to be reminded that there are alternative ways to discover ourselves and expand our knowledge than the popular travelling option! We definitely get caught up in the glorious lives of others and feel the need to do the same x

  16. I’ve been trying to explore some places closer to home recently, whether it’s a park I’ve never walked around before or on my last visit to Liverpool my mum and I avoided the shops for a bit and just walked around the docks admiring the buildings. Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to get a new perspective!

    Francesca x | glutenfreehorizons.com

  17. I totally agree with you. When I was high school I was very close minded mainly because that’s how my surroundings was growing up and I got really used to that. After staring college three years ago, I felt the need to change my mentality, my perspective, and like you said expand my horizons:) since I was in college, I knew it would impossible to take like a 6 month vacation and go travel the world. And even if had vacation, I am not financially stable to travel. But I do small adventures during the summer like jet skiing, scuba diving, parasailing, white water rafting. Last summer, my family and I went to Florida did all these things. It was the best trip ever. For the past year, I found myself trying new things like trying different cuisines (Indian, Mediterranean, Korean, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Mexican), eating in a restaurant alone, starting a blog, watching foreign films, documentaries about other animals and culture, exploring the city where I go to college, going on evening walks, talking with different kinds of people and learning their stories. You get to really learn a lot and mostly learn about yourself even more.

  18. When I was in high school, I was very close minded mainly because that’s how I my surrounding was growing up and I got really used to that. After starting college, I felt the need to be change my mentality, perspective and like you said expand my horizons 🙂 Since I am in college, I know it’s impossible to take like a 6 month vacation and go travel the world. And even if I had a vacation like that, I am not financially stable to travel. But I do small adventures during the summer with my family. Over the past few years, I tried jet skiing, scuba diving, parasailing, white water rafting.

    For the past year, I found myself trying new things like different cuisines (Indian, Mediterranean, Korean, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Mexican). Eating in a restaurant alone, starting a blog, watching foreign film, documentaries about animals and other cultures, exploring the city where I go to college, taking evening walks, talking with different kinds of people and learning their stories. Recently I started a part time job. In high school, I stayed in a job I despised so much. After I quit that, I didn’t apply for a job scared to interact with other people and worried I won’t like the job. Over the years, I learned it’s impossible to find a job you actually like. I am excited about this job. I could save up some money and start my small adventures.

    Like you said it’s really important to expand our horizon. You get to really learn a lot and mostly learn about yourself even more:). Thank you for your post.

  19. I can’t wait to travel but you are right, you don’t need to travel to find yourself! From blogging I feel like I have grown as a person as I have met so many wonderful people but there are so many ways like you have mentioned that allow you to grow and find yourself!

    Tabitha xx | whattabithaloves.co.uk

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