Zooey Deschanel tells us her best tips for discovering yourself while traveling

For seven years, Zooey Deschanel played New Girl 's bubbly Jessica Day, a character who didn't seem to travel much after moving to Los Angeles except from her loft apartment to school. While Deschanel may also live in Los Angeles, her travel experiences are worlds apart from her character's. Deschanel has a special love for travel due to her frequent trips with her family growing up — as she tells Bustle, traveling with a "travel with a purpose" mentality has greatly impacted her personally and professional life. "I travel with my parents all the time, and I don't think I appreciate the character that comes from being able to see other cultures and expose yourself to other ways of doing things," she tells Bustle over the phone. "But now I'm really grateful for these trips, they made me the person I am today. It really makes you go back to your life and appreciate things and be grateful for everything you have."

She shared that “traveling with purpose” basically means traveling with a specific purpose. It sounds obvious, but not everyone actually does this when planning their next trip—especially in 2019, when traveling for social media clicks is more popular than ever. Still, adhering to the idea of ​​“travel with a purpose” is simple: all one has to do is look for travel experiences that inspire them in some way.

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The concept was born in 2018 when Deschanel partnered with Capital One on its Purpose Project. The Purpose Project was created to encourage others to seek personal discovery through travel and give back to the communities they visit. "One of the things that interests me the most is that they encourage people to travel and do things that help them be more inspired in their own lives," Deschanel tells Bustle.

Purposeful travel may look different for everyone, she says—but as long as your bottom line is traveling to inspire life back home, you can reap the benefits. For Deschanel, her biggest inspiration comes from traveling and experiencing daily life wherever she goes, whether it's somewhere she's never been or somewhere she's been a million times.

"I'd rather go somewhere and try to stay like a local for a week," she said. "I don't necessarily want to visit all the tourist attractions. I might just want to see one or two, but the most important thing for me is to eat at restaurants that the locals like to eat." She also emphasized that she travels without a set plan Found the fun. "I just found that sometimes you wander around and don't get anywhere, but you can still learn about the situation." For her, just being able to do that in a new place taught her a lot about other cultures and herself knowledge. Because of this, it has become something she often seeks. “Travel is a bit like scratching an itch, in a way.”

However, you don't have to travel to benefit from the idea of ​​"travel with purpose"—you can do it in your own city, even if you've lived there for years. "One thing I feel gets overlooked when we talk about travel is that discovering your own city can be included in that," she explains. "I'm from Los Angeles, and I felt like there were a lot of parts of the city that I didn't know about and maybe hadn't explored. But it's not something you think about when you live in a place."

Putting the idea of ​​“purposeful travel” into practice may look different to you than it does to Deschanel, but that’s the beauty of the concept: Everyone finds something different by experiencing new places and things meaning and inspiration. “The change in perspective,” Deschanel shared, “is absolutely magical.”

Additional reporting by Tanya Ghahremani