15 Self Reflection Questions To Elevate Your Travel Experience

Have you ever gone on vacation, but felt like you didn’t capture the memories?

Or perhaps, you just felt that the experience didn’t have time to truly sink in before getting swept back up into the routine of normal life.

Over the past 4 or so years of travel, I’ve felt this emotion many times.

It’s sort of a sense of FOMO over an experience that you actually had.

I recently returned home (to Ho Chi Minh City) from a month-long trip in the Philippines. It was full of amazing experiences and people, yet this after-the-fact FOMO began to settle in almost immediately.

This is not a pleasant thought: “I went to this new place, did these things, and met these people… but it was all transient.” 

How to make experiences feel more permanent

One way to record and relive memories is by simply recording them with photo or video. I think that’s very important, not for the purpose of sharing them with the world, but for yourself and your close friends and family. To be able to show them: you were gone, and this is what happened while you were away.

And yet, knowing that those photos are taken to be shared (or not shared, if you prefer) can pull you out of the moment. It’s an odd time when we, staring pensively at nature’s beauty, feel the need to capture the moment on our phones. This isn’t to decry this trend, but I propose a way to have you travel cake and eat it too: self reflection.

To reflect, after a trip, is the ultimate gift you can give yourself. The memory of that trip is what you’ll live with forever. The memory is what you will experience, day to day, for the rest of your life. By reflecting, we crystalize the memory in a way that gives meaning to the experience within the greater context of our lives.

A large part of the reason this blog exists is to get better at recording life, and reflecting.

Self reflection questions

Here are some questions you should ask yourself after a trip, because they will make you happier:

1. What is different about you now versus before you left?
2. Who did you meet and what did you like most about them?
3. What did you give to them, and what did they give to you?
4. What were the most important things you learned?
5. What do you know about yourself now that you didn’t know before?
6. What passions did you discover?
7. What new foods did you eat that you hadn’t eaten before?
8. How did you relate to others on your journey?
9. What 3 stories do you remember best, that you’ll tell to others?
10. What new habits did you develop? What habits did you let die?
11. How did this trip help you respond better to uncertainty?
12. How did this trip give you a mirror to yourself?
13. What was your biggest accomplishment?
14. What was your biggest regret?
15. What looked similar? What looked different?

That’s my list. If you have questions or techniques that help you reflect, please share them in the comments.