I'm a writer, Youtuber, photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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If you’re reading this blog, you either A.) love photography B.) enjoy following my messy journey through life or C.) love traveling. And if you love traveling, I can say that me and every single millennial and young person out there probably feels the same. But have you ever questioned why you like travel? Or what the reason or purpose behind why you travel is?

Back when I first found my love for traveling, on a 2 month backpacking trip through Europe a few years ago, I used to travel for that reason alone: to travel. To see new places. To wander and explore. To get lost (Cue the overused: “Not all who wander are lost” quote). But as I get older, my reason and purpose behind travel becomes more important. These days, I don’t want to just travel for the sake of seeing. I don’t enjoy trekking all the way to faraway places only to see a museum or monument and to be able to say I ticked it off the bucket list. Lately I’ve been traveling with purpose.

Not only do I enjoy traveling for long periods of time, as opposed to the usual short 1 week trips (which actually ends up costing me more than the longer trips), but I enjoy having a reason why I am spending my hard-earned money and most importantly, my time, traveling. I don’t take my time on earth for granted. And that being said, I try to intentionally spend my waking hours as present and enjoyable for me as possible. Waiting at the airport and spending hours on a plane take up a lot of my precious time and isn’t something that brings me joy, so unless I am going to learn, grow, witness or experience something truly magnificent while abroad, I would prefer not to travel.

4 Ways that I travel with purpose

Learning and Growth

My most favorite reason for traveling is for the heaps of emotional, mental and spiritual growth that acquire. I can tell you with absolute certainty that every single one of my trips has changed me for the better. As Mark Twain once wrote,  “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” and it is true that traveling to foreign countries and experiencing other cultures expands one’s mindset, patience and adaptability exponentially.

But while I love the lessons and growth that come so ease-fully with travel, I also love venturing to new destinations that will help me learn something specific or expand my skillset in more detail. I enjoy going on trips to Indonesia and Egypt to continue my lessons in scuba diving with the end goal to someday achieve my Dive Masters level in scuba. I enjoyed spending long amounts of time in Bali to study yoga, meditation and crystal and Tibetan bowl ceremonies. Whether it’s a coding retreat, a blogging conference or a photography tour, I love adding new skills and more knowledge to my belt in subjects I feel passionate about. Traveling is an ideal way to help me achieve those goals!

Visiting Loved Ones

It goes without saying that when I have the opportunity to visit my friends and loves ones abroad, I will jump on it! Often when meeting new friends abroad, they invite to visit them later on at their home. And there is nothing like visiting a destination like a local and with a local! The experience is vastly different and culturally richer when getting an insider’s perspective of the place you’re visiting and spending time with people I love and connect with makes for a much more enjoyable trip and life. 🙂 Traveling to visit loved ones is easy for me to say yes to!

Connecting with Nature and the Sea

It may seem like a simple reason, but the chance to connect deeply with nature and the sea is a big reason why I would splurge on a flight. For me personally, there is nothing more purposeful than connecting and loving my planet earth. Unlike cities, I feel so in touch with my inner spirit, the elements and something greater when I am surrounded by mountains, grass or ocean. Seeing land formations I’ve never witnessed before like the glaciers and fjords of Iceland, camping in the wild countryside of New Zealand and spending days hiking Everest Base Camp in Nepal are all perfectly adequate reasons to travel for me. Living on an isolated island where I spend my days snorkeling and diving deep under the water, observing colorful fish, reefs and sea creatures is a totally valid reason. It brings me immense joy. Therefore, I do the things that bring me joy.

Freelance Photography / Writing Gigs or Projects

Lastly, when it comes to purposeful travel, if it provides me generous pay, accolades or an opportunity to have my work published, I will consider it. I will also travel if it is someplace I am genuinely interested in venturing off to and I am able to create something of value. Even if it was just a personal project, like photographing the pyramids of Giza in Egypt or writing an ebook on trekking through the Mont Blanc mountains, I will travel if it provides me an outlet for creativity. I love creating and storytelling and when I get to use my  photography and writing skills and travel to explore new parts of the world, it’s a win-win!

If you’ve read this blog post, I just want to give a thanks for taking the time to read my words. My purpose in blogging is to share the lessons and experiences that I am having in my life so that it may better help, inspire or assist you in your personal journey. If you found this post on purposeful travel and think a friend might be interested in reading, I’d love for you to share!

How Traveling with Purpose Has Changed My Outlook on Travel

April 19, 2018

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through photography and content creation! A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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