20 WAYS TRAVEL MAKES YOU THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF
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Originally written by Chantal Ford for The Travel Project
We know we’re not alone in thinking there are few things in the world more valuable than travel. It can be life changing for so many, but we often don’t take the time to think about exactly how much it benefits us both individually, and as a community.
Need 20 more reasons to justify your next adventure by realising how good for the soul and the world it will be? We gottcha.
School is great and all, but the best education you can get in life is through travel. Travelling teaches you about different cultures, world history, customs and traditions, new languages, architecture, arts and music, fashion, transport, technology and so much more. It’s like an encyclopedia on steroids, and the reading is replaced by amazing first-hand experiences.
IT MAKES YOU GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE
No country is perfect, and when you travel you can’t help but compare local life to your life back at home. When travelling you’ll often come across many people who go without and survive and thrive on much less, and every experience makes us more grateful for the advantages and resources we have.
Just the ability to travel for fun is an extreme luxury for many people around the world, and every trip makes us more grateful for what we have. It’s also bound to give you a little boost in patriotism and will make you appreciate certain aspects of your home country that you often took for granted.
IT HELPS YOU BECOME RESPONSIBLE
Travelling means leaving your comfort zone and routine behind, and creating a new adventure with numerous new experiences. There’s some amazing personal growth that happens when you’re forced to fend for yourself and create your own happiness without the comforts of home, family and friends.
IT’S A GREAT BUDGETING EXERCISE
A trip is often one of our first big purchases, and it keeps the lessons coming for months after your trip. Whether you plan ahead and save like crazy beforehand, or are left paying off a huge credit card bill for months afterwards, you’ll learn a lot about how and where you spend your money when you travel. You’ll either be patting yourself on the back or trying to rectify your mistakes afterwards; either way it’s a great life lesson.
YOU MEET NEW PEOPLE
If you’ve grown up in a small town or have always lived in the same city, it’s not uncommon if you feel like you know everyone around and everyone is a friend or relative of someone else you know. Getting out of your bubble means you’ll meet new people, and while you’re bound to meet some people who you’re not fond of, every new interaction you have is a learning experience.
Learning how to interact with strangers, break the ice, diffuse a tense situation, barter or test out a new language only makes you more of a confident badass communicator in the long run.
YOU MAKE NEW FRIENDS WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS
A lot of us grow up and grow apart from our friends at home, so travelling can be one of the best ways to make friends as an adult (which is way harder than we ever thought it would be, JFYI). Fellow travellers often have a lot in common with other fellow travellers, and some of the friends you meet when you travel can end up being some of the best friends you’ll ever have.
Plus, they give you a good excuse to do some more travelling later on, and there’s a great feeling knowing that you have a couch to crash on in another country if needed.
IT HELPS YOU UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY
If you can spend two weeks exploring Europe and are able to forget that Netflix even exists for that period of time, we think that’s a personal win. The world is such an amazing and interesting place if we can just look up from our phones and remove the fakeness and filters, and travelling is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to semi-unplug for a while, live in the moment and enjoy what’s around us.
IT TREATS YOUR TASTE BUDS
Even the most diverse cities can’t compare to the real, authentic foodie experiences that you can find when you travel. And if a Chinese restaurant and an Italian pizza place are what your hometown considers variety, your palate is in need of some serious revitalization. Tasting your way around the world is not only a completely life-changing and eye-opening experience, but it makes cooking and eating at home that much better as well.
Plus, you’ll be surprised to learn that so many of these delicious new dishes from around the world are actually healthier than the junk you’ve been having at home. The fact is, there is so much joy in eating good food, and you’re missing out on so much happiness and flavour if you’re not tasting what other countries have to offer.
IT GETS YOU MOVING
Unless you’re planning on Ubering nonstop or renting your own personal Segway, if you’re travelling that means you’re not on your couch, and your Fitbit will thank you for it. It will blow your mind how much you can actually walk in one day without even trying, and exploring a new place via bike or on foot beats treadmill sessions any day of the week. Plus, all of that unintentional physical activity helps balance out all of the amazing food and drink you’re enjoying on vacation, so eat away my friends, EAT. AWAY.
IT IMPROVES YOUR STREET SMARTS
Sure, you can get yourself to or from your school or job everyday, but can you be dropped in the middle of a strange city and find your way to your hotel? Can you tell the difference between a friendly person and a person who is trying to con you? Can you keep your possessions safe and secure at all times? Can you tell the difference between good street eats and a stomach ache waiting to happen?
All of these life skills will be developed naturally the more you travel, and regardless of how naïve you may have been before you started travelling, you’ll learn how to take care of yourself, kick ass and take names with every passport stamp you earn.
IT HELPS YOU COME OUT OF YOUR SHELL
It’s virtually impossible to travel and stay in your comfort zone; whether it’s talking to strangers or bungee jumping, doing things that are out of the norm just come so much easier when you’re on vacation. You can literally be the best version of yourself and there’s no one around to judge you or call you out on your past BS.
IT INSPIRES US TO GIVE BACK
Travelling shows us how fortunate we are, and it’s not uncommon to come away from a trip wanting to do more for the local community or a community back home. It may be a donation, a sponsorship, another trip planned to support the economy or a volunteer experience, but being inspired to give back is one of the best feelings that travel can give.
IT PUTS EVERYTHING INTO PERSPECTIVE
Travelling is such a departure from the every day that it really helps you realize what is important, and what isn’t. It’s not uncommon to come back from travelling with a new career path in mind, new viewpoints about your relationship or having released the stress of the petty things that bothered you before you left.
YOU LEARN HOW SIMILAR WE ALL ARE
People may have different methods and beliefs, but at the end of the day, most of us are all striving for the same goals and have the same priorities in life. It’s amazing the parallels you can find with people all around the world, and chances are there’s someone on the other side of the world who is having the same struggles as you are. Travel teaches us that we are a lot more similar as human beings than we ever thought, despite cultural, religious or economical differences.
IT MAKES YOU MORE TOLERANT
Travel can’t automatically turn someone’s ignorance into acceptance, but for most of us the more we learn about and experience different cultures and ways of life, the more we can empathize and relate to others. And the sooner we start travelling, thinking for ourselves and living with the belief that people are inherently good, the better off we’ll all be. Just because things are different doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
IT MAKES YOU MORE INDEPENDENT
Travel teaches you a lot about who you are, what you like, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you’re indecisive, a germaphobe, antisocial or a picky eater, you’re gonna be tested when you travel, and you’ll either turtle-shell and run home, or flourish.
Religious or not, idealist or cynic, there’s something about an amazing travel experience that takes your breath away and changes you forever. It may be an Inca Trail trek or your first authentic gelato, but we all have those world-rocking moments that help define us.
IT HELPS SUPPORT LOCAL CULTURES + BUSINESSES
Tourism is such a huge part of the economies of countries all over the world, and the time we spend there sleeping, eating, experiencing and treading lightly feeds and provides for so many families. It may not seem like a lot, but a little money can go a long way for local businesses and services, and every business that we put our money towards is benefitting someone somewhere, often a lot more than we even know.
IT'S ESSENTIAL FOR SELF CARE
We all need a break from life, and there’s no better break than physically putting some distance between you and your every day life. If we don’t take vacations we’re bound to burn out, and that’s not good for anyone. Travelling is often the only time when some of us get to be a little selfish and focus on ourselves and what we want to do, which does us so much good.
Some of us need to get away a few times a year, and some of us need a big trip every few years, but we all need to turn our brains off at some point.
IT HELPS YOU FOCUS LESS ON THINGS AND
MORE ON EXPERIENCES
Don’t get us wrong, some of us really love shiny things, nice shoes and a fancy coffee, but although they make us happy temporarily, we’re always searching for the next fix. The more we travel, the more we see the actual value in getting away, and how the benefits last infinitely longer than the joy of buying things.
When we’re old and grey, we’re gonna be reminiscing about the things we’ve seen and done, not about that cute jacket we bought in 2012. Experiences are king, and there’s no better experience than an adventure.