Traveling the world, or at least visiting somewhere outside of your hometown, is probably at the top of most of people’s bucket list. There is so much to see out in the world that it can be both overwhelming and inspiring.
There are several reasons you may be hesitant to leave. You could have commitments, like a job or a family, or it might not be financially feasible at the moment. Perhaps you are taking care of someone who is sick and needs you by their side. Maybe you’re just too afraid to get on an airplane.
We’re afraid of meeting new people or having new experiences. We’re afraid of trying because we might fail, and we’re afraid of giving because we might not have it returned. Many of us are afraid of leaving what it familiar to us.
However, there are several reasons start traveling the world. Start by choosing a destination that is not too far away or that you can get to by car or train. Or, go all out and fly away as far as you can.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll want to do it after reading this.
1. You learn that there is more to life than work.
It sounds clichéd and ridiculous, but there is so much truth to this statement. When I was 18, I visited the world’s richest country followed by one of the world’s poorest; traveling teaches you about so much more than any textbook can.
It teaches you about kindness and culture and the beliefs of others. You learn about and experience how others live their lives in a way that is not as overridden by capital as your own.
You experience beauty and simplicity in small moments, and you really begin to understand what tolerance and gratefulness mean.
You also get to have more experiences outside of your home or office. You have the opportunity to fly to Greece and climb to the top of the Acropolis. You have the chance to go white-water rafting in Bali, or to see almost all of Hong Kong as you hang from a cable at Ngong Ping 360. All of these options are at your fingertips.
2. You learn more about who you are as a person.
You might realize that you actually have a love for pottery and art after you try it in Europe. You could learn that you really love curry and secretly have a passion for cooking once you take a Balinese cooking class.
You also get to learn about how you handle obstacles and stress. For example, you miss your flight and now you have to figure out how to get to your next destination. Do you freak out and find it hard to focus on the problem at hand? Do you stay calm and collected?
Being placed in positions like this teaches you about your personal weaknesses, like handling stress in an unhealthy way or taking anger out on someone else (many people take out their anger at an airline with the representatives who try and help). Take notice of these negative characteristics and use them to better yourself.
3. You learn tolerance and gratitude.
Textbooks can only teach you so much, but once you step outside of everything you’ve ever known, you learn about the vastness of the world and the people who inhabit it. We are constantly exposed to stories about world events, but it’s one thing to see it on TV and another to learn about the way people live in another part of the world.
Books, TV programs, social media and other outlets serve as the starting point for learning about what the world has to offer us. We can read about Balinese culture, but it’s a whole new experience to get to go to Bali and experience it firsthand.
It’s a completely different experience to learn about Balinese Hinduism by smelling incense burning through the streets and watching someone put together one of their daily offerings.
Opening your eyes to the way others live not only teaches you about acceptance and tolerance of others, but also to be grateful for what you have and the experience to travel. Both tolerance and gratitude are lessons we can take with us throughout our entire lives.
4. You prove to yourself you can always try something new.
Consider traveling as an adventure and a personal challenge. If you’re hesitant about money, prove to yourself that you can save the money you need. If you’re worried about trying something new and leaving what is familiar, prove to yourself that you have it in you to do so (and you do!).
Try new foods and activities that you normally would not. If you prefer to stay indoors, try going outside and doing a bike tour, or taking a train to a landmark. Maybe you can try white-water rafting or learn to cook the local food at wherever you are.
If you normally eat very plain foods, try giving local food a try. It might be spicy and exotic, but you’ll never know if you like it if you don’t try. Take that same thought process and apply it to every scenario on your trip.
To mention yet another quote: Do one thing every day that scares you. That’s how you should feel when you travel. Life is an adventure, and trying new things is always a good idea. Traveling will make your life much more culturally rich and vibrant, full of new sounds, sights, smells, tastes and lessons learned.