In a study by Julia Zimmermann and Franz Neyer in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology the impact of travel on personality was examined and it was found that travel actually changes your personality.
Both short-term (1 semester abroad) and long-term (1 year abroad) travel by college students in Germany were studied and individual’s personality dimensions were studied. These dimensions include:
Openness to experience,
Neuroticism (which refers to traits associated with emotional stability such as anxiety, moodiness, worry, etc.)
Before travel, personality dimensions were measured and analyzed. At the end of the journey, the group of travelers was then compared to a control group that did not go abroad.
Two main conclusions were discovered after the travelers’ journeys:
1. Both long-term and short-term travelers developed an increase in openness to experience and also to agreeableness. They also increased capability for emotional stability, which means they experienced less anxiety and worry than those who did not travel.
2. Many of the travelers developed international relationships which were accessed as the main cause of personality change among travelers.
So basically those who traveled abroad became more adventurous, wanted to get along with others more, and became way more relaxed. They also developed a new group of friends that challenged them to climb to new heights, develop more goals, and resonate with a more positive outlook on life.
In Dr. Art Markman’s analysis of the journal article, Extended Travel Affects Personality, he notes that personality is the thing that defines a person’s goal, dreams, and aspirations. Personality is the reflection of what a person wants.
In this way, the study almost proves the reverse is true also. Travel is what the person does; they experience new things, meet and get along with people different than themselves, and become more comfortable and positive. The personality then mirrors those experiences; the traveler changes to seek adventures, strive to be personable, and practice optimism.
Traveling may change personality, but personality never changes your goals, it just describes them. Does your dream mirror your personality, does it scream where to?