chapter  8
18 Pages

Autonomous Cross-Cultural Hardship Travel (ACHT) as a Medium for Growth, Learning, and a Deepened Sense of Self

WithJohn L. Lyons

It may seem a well-worn truism, but travel changes people. Equally wellestablished, foreign travel changes people greatly. Also true, but perhaps not so patently obvious or commonly accepted, extensive foreign travel with lots of cross-cultural contact under difficult conditions can transform us. I have been greatly changed, perhaps transformed, by the latter sort of travel. I have also seen others fundamentally changed and transformed as well. It is the nature, conditions, and consequences associated with the transformative potential of this latter type of travel that occupies the central concern of this article. In writing this I

have attempted to make sense of how I have experienced and have seen others experience more-or-less long-term autonomous cross-cultural foreign travel under less than optimal conditions as a vehicle for personal growth and self-learning, perhaps even psychological transformation, and often in accordance with designs that were at least partly conscious or intentional.