OK, I’ll admit it. I’m hooked on travel. I think it’s awesome. There is just something about heading to new places that excites my soul and gets me giddy every time I start packing my bags or planning a trip. So much is my passion for travel that I want to give those that dream of exploring the world further nudging to make it happen. So I sat down and wrote this, to nudge you dreamers again. If you hear the call to travel and need more reason than to experience some of the incredible variety of the world and to explore the playground that is the earth (really?), here are some of the wonders to be found in travel.
A Broader Perspective
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Experiencing different ways of life will only widen your perspective and meeting new people from different backgrounds and with totally different experiences of life hones your empathy and ability to understand others. Real world travel offers insights that go beyond historical facts you could learn in a book and you’ll probably even see your home country in a new light. ‘Travel broadens the mind’ – yes it’s a cliché, but like most there’s a truth there, and if you travel with an open mind and make an effort to put yourself out there, you can’t fail to see things in ways you’d never seen before.
Leaving your country and getting out of your bubble of familiarity will stretch you. Depending on where you go, you’ll be pushed in one way or another – maybe you won’t know how to speak or read, how to greet someone, or you won’t have a clue how to catch local transport. The point is that wherever you go there’ll be something unfamiliar to you in an honestly inconvenient way. And while this might not be the funnest aspect of travel, it will force you to be open to your new environment and use your mind to figure things out. Being adaptable to new situations and practising patience becomes second nature; two precious skills that serve beyond life on the road.
The world is an inspiring place but it can be incredibly hard to recognize that truth when you’re stuck in a rut or a predictable routine in what has become a banal and mundane environment. When you travel you’re getting out there, discovering new and previously unseen worlds. Travel will open you up to all kinds of new things – languages, lifestyles, social conventions – and these new experiences lead to new ideas and connections, capable of inspiring in many ways. Here are a couple…
On How To Live
Travel can inspire us to change things in our own lives that we weren’t previously aware were even an option. Through meeting people living alternatives, travel enabled me to see beyond norms and accepted truths of the culture I grew up in – like working 45 weeks a year until retirement, or needing to earn and spend lots of money to lead a fulfilling life – and inspired me to find and create a more appealing lifestyle that suited me.
If you feel like your life is becoming flat and dull, travel can open you up to countless possibilities for change – different jobs and career paths, places to live, how to structure your life, lifestyle philosophies, other ways that you can offer your gifts to the world. There really are innumerable paths, and in this way travel can show you how many options you really have.
There’s something in the mental stimulation of new experiences that inspires and feeds creativity and the urge to do something creative. Exploring other cultures offers whole new schools of styles to spark your imagination. If you’re a musician, you’ll hear new rhythms and instruments; an artist, new styles and schools; a cook; new foods and flavours; photographers; new landscapes and architectures. Whatever your creative outlet, you won’t be pressed to find inspiration.
Self discovery – yes another cliché but there’s truth in them! Coming out of the grooves of your normal life is a surefire way to learn more about yourself. The mix of continually being in new situations and spending a lot of time alone allows a traveler to see new sides of themselves. On the road you’ll see what aspects of your character naturally stick and which ones fall away, which ones are integral to your being and which were simply circumstantial to the life you were living. Maybe there are some things you discover about yourself that you’d like to change. Great, because now you are in the perfect situation to…
The change travel brings represents an opportunity to start over and reinvent yourself. This is why we say we’re ‘making a fresh start’ when we move to a new city or country or make any big life change in which we’re leaving familiarity behind. By breaking old connections and making new ones, a traveler finds opportunity for growth, and for moving forward consciously.
If you recognize traits in yourself that you’d like to drop or have new habits you’d like to adopt, travel is a great opportunity to do this. People you meet won’t have the same pre-existing expectations of you and how you’ll behave and this liberates you from past versions of yourself, from detrimental habits or ways of thinking that you’d like to leave behind. Change brings change, and with travel you are literally moving forward, not remaining stagnant, and this can be reflected in your character too.
Find The Others (& Connection)
Modern western society has enabled us as individuals to be more independent than ever, liberating us from reliance on neighbours and the local community. Whilst this independence is beneficial in many ways, the greater sense of individualism that comes with it can leave us with a sense of disconnection and lack of belonging, often making the world seem like a lonely place.
Naturally, it’s easier to connect with people you share a passion with. The problem is finding them. When you travel you can’t help but meet other travellers, and in this way those of us with an adventurous spirit or curiosity of the world are naturally drawn to each other. With like-minded people conversations more readily go beyond the superficial and onto deeper and more thought-provoking topics. This gives us a deeper appreciation of the world we live in by making those connections that we as humans crave. If you feel alone in your sense of adventure, surrounded by people who are uninspiring, unadventurous, being steamrolled by and into a life of drudgery and monotony, get out, hit the road, find the others!
- Read more: My Ultimate Guide To Budget Long-Term Travel
If You Have The Travel Itch, Scratch It! (It Feels Good)
I think most people know deep down if they really want to travel or not. It’s like a longing deep within, an expression of the human urge to discover, relate, and understand. If you feel the call to travel and are currently finding reasons to suppress it, just know that there will never be a perfect time and there will always be reasons not to. So this is my message to you, don’t let circumstance dictate your life – make it happen and go explore!
What have you found in travel? How has it shaped or altered your life? Have you gleaned any insight from your time on the road? Share your experiences in the comments below 🙂