Reasons Why You Should Travel the World

Dirt Road in Montana Travel Somewhere

Travel has taught me many life lessons thru the years.  Some people may think of travel as a frivolous activity or only as a means to get away and relax.  And don’t get me wrong, it can be a fantastic way to get some relaxation! However, travel also provides so many other benefits.

I will share with you some of my reasons for why you should travel and what I have learned along the way. And although a lot of these lessons apply to those just starting their adult life, I want you to know that the benefits of travel extend to everyone, no matter your age!

Where It All Began

Travel has always been a passion of mine.  As a child, I would read books on travel and dream of faraway places I might visit one day.  Before graduating from high school, I had very little traveling experience. My family had taken a couple of road trips around the U.S., but that was the extent of my travel experience up to that point.

Then right after high school, I took a 2-month road trip around the U.S. with my best friend, and we had a great time and made some amazing memories.  However, it wasn’t until my first international trip, by myself, that I would begin to see how travel helped prepare me for college and life.

Solo Travel

My first solo trip was also my first time traveling abroad.  Oh, I had gone to Canada and Mexico before, both during road trips with friends. But, I didn’t have any experience flying internationally, using taxis or being someplace where I didn’t know anyone else. I didn’t know what to expect on this first solo trip outside the United States. The feelings I had were an odd mixture of nervousness, excitement, and fear.

On this particular trip, I was traveling to Taipei, Taiwan. I didn’t know the language or anything about the culture. Everything would be new to me. And this is precisely what I needed. I needed that experience of being on my own, away from the comforts of home, from the safety of the familiar.  This trip would be just the beginning of my solo travel, and the lessons I learned would prepare me for college and life. I learned more about myself, in ways I never imagined I could, from traveling.

New York City View of Central Park from above

10 Lessons I Learned From Travel

1) It’s okay not to have it all figured out.

You don’t need to know it all in advance. When you travel, you don’t know what you are going to encounter on a day to day basis.  You may not even know where you are going to sleep the next night. It’s okay.  And this is like life. When you graduate from high school, there is so much pressure for you to know what you want to do.  However, it’s okay not to have it all figured out. The truth is, you will be “figuring it out” your whole life, so enjoy the journey.

2) You discover who you are as an individual.

Independence is a vital skill solo-travel helps to develop. It is a skill you will need as you begin your journey as an adult. When you go away to college by yourself.  When you start your first job and need to work independently.  Being confident in who you are and the strengths you have will be an invaluable gift in life. In a way traveling abroad, by yourself, forces you to be independent. It is incredible how much a person learns about themselves when they leave everything and everyone they know.

3) Facing your fears is hard, but it develops confidence.

Travel teaches you to face your fears. Face the unknown, the what-ifs and self-doubt. As you leave behind the known, you develop your self-confidence. Just thru the act of going on a trip, you become more confident. You are following thru on a plan, perhaps a long-awaited dream.  You are accomplishing a goal and maybe proving a few naysayers wrong in the process.

It shows you that you can do what you put your mind to.  You realize it’s okay to be afraid as long as you don’t let it stop you.  Sometimes it’s easy to look at confident people and think they were born that way, but that’s not true.  Confidence can be taught and learned. Travel teaches you to stand on your own.

Monkey in Japan near Kyoto

4) You can’t plan for every scenario.

So do your best and then learn from your experiences. Life is full of what-ifs, never let fear keep you from discovering your possibilities or let failure keep you from trying. It’s okay to be afraid as long as you don’t let it stop you. Things are going to come up that will catch you off guard.  Perhaps a tourist site you want to see is closed on the one day you are in town.  Or your trip gets rained out, or a natural disaster occurs, maybe you reserve a place to stay online and get there only to discover it’s a total dump.

It’s okay.  What you do when these situations arise determines your character.  Grow from it and do your best to have a good attitude, that will get you far in life no matter the situation.

5) Decision Making

Each day you travel, you are confronted with decisions.  Where to sleep, where to eat, and what to see? You are making the decisions that determine your course.  The same is true in life.  Going to college, you will make decisions on what classes to take and what to major in.  Other life decisions are where to live, who to marry, and what job to take.  The less afraid you are to make decisions, the happier you will be.

As you let go of the fear of failure and of making the wrong decision, you develop an internal compass that guides you, and with confidence, you follow your heart.

6) Some of your best friends are people you have yet to meet.

Travel connects you with people. It levels the playing field and brings people together in a unique way that I haven’t found at home.  Travel seems to remove any barriers of superiority or dividing differences. Each person is out of their element, each struggling to communicate in another language, and each is finding the commonalities between each other. It is a beautiful thing.

Fellow travelers are eager to learn about each other; assumptions and stereotypes are torn down as you have real-life conversations face to face.  Friendship is one of the greatest gifts of travel. I have made so many beautiful friendships while traveling, and I am a better person because of them. Read more about one of these moments created over good food at Cantinho Lusitano in Lisbon.

7) The world is bigger than the one you left behind.

Travel gives you perspective. I think this is one of the best reasons why you should travel.  There is so much more to the world than your tiny corner back home.  Cultures very different than yours, but just as rich and beautiful.  People are people, no matter where they live; we are unique and yet so much alike.  Don’t just listen to the media tell you about other countries, go and see for yourself! Explore and discover — it’s not as scary as some may have you believe.

Water Droplet on the Beach

8) Travel inspires creativity.

Travel reveals passions you may not have know you had. It gives direction to your dreams. It is invigorating! You may discover your home away from home.  Or you may find a language that you connect with and continue learning once you’re back home.  Perhaps you find a love for certain foods. Maybe you see a particular style of art that calls out to you.  You may even be inspired to write a book.  You never know.  That’s why you should travel.

9) Travel educates you.

You begin to think as a scientist and as an observer.  You are living in a large classroom, learning about social psychology, economics, culture, anthropology, linguistics, political science, geography, and more. Travel is real-world, hands-on learning.  You can study it in the classroom or watch it on television, but there is nothing quite like the great teacher Experience.  Are people really that different?  What is it like to live in a developing country? How do others view your culture? Go see for yourself. You might be surprised at what you learn.

10) Travel teaches you to appreciate the simple things in life.

Stuff won’t make you happy. You will observe cultures which have very little and yet are some of the most joyful and satisfied people. Additionally, I have found that those with less are also some of the most generous. Travel, new experiences, and relationships bring long-term happiness, not stuff. If there’s one lesson we all can learn, it is to know what is truly valuable.  Life. Moments. People. Things come and go, and as I travel, I learn just how little I need to live and be happy.

Why You Should Travel:

Focus on developing a life that is rich with meaning and experiences.  Chase your dreams and encourage others to do the same.  Give back. Be thankful for what you have. You will make mistakes.  Things won’t always work out as planned.  Keep going and be flexible.  You control your attitude.  Choose to be positive.

These are all lessons travel has taught me and why I think you should travel.  Because travel is more than just getting away, it’s learning about yourself and about this fantastic world in which you live.

So what are you waiting for?  Book your flight today!

Bon Voyage!

Read Bucket Lists & Good Friends for more on friendship and traveling together.

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