Travel makes you a better person and has numerious benefits that cannot be found by staying at home. From expanding your horizons to exposing you to different cultures, the effects of your travels last for a lifetime. Make a change for the better by ‘investing’ in travel for yourself.
How? Well here’s how:
1. Travel teaches you the value of making friends
When you’re away from home and all the creature comforts it brings, there comes a point where you understand the real value of community. It’s all well and good to stick to your closed-in circles at home, but when you are travelling it becomes swiftly apparent that building a global network of friends is the key to a happier and easier life.
2. Travel is your crash course to geography and orientation
Have you always struggled with which way is up, down, left, right, east or west? Can’t figure out which direction the sun will set? Or which was exactly you came from? Well, all of that will change when you start travelling.
There really is no better way to be thrown in the deep end then to get half way down a street, stop, spin around 3 times, and realize you have no idea where you are going. When you’re on your own with no context for where you are, you will learn how to find your way.
3. Travel teaches you patience
Routine is built for the soul purpose of creating efficiencies in your life. When you travel, you are out of routine. You are so far from it that you teach yourself how to operate dynamically, on-the-fly, and without preparation. When you travel, not only does shit happen, but generally, things more often than not will not work out the way you hoped or planned.
Waiting in queues, getting things wrong because you don’t understand the language, chasing dreams that looked so much closer in the photos. These things teach you to stick it out, take life a little less seriously, and stop and smell the roses.
4. Travel teaches you how to be frugal
Have you ever looked at your bank statement and realized that you spend a lot of money? That night out every Friday with your friends, the monthly phone bill, the gym membership, the fuel for your car, the taxi fares, the health insurance, the presents, the entertainment, the dinners out with friends — it all adds up. It’s really easy to put it all on a credit card or direct debit it from your account. This way, you never actually see or count the notes in your wallet flying out.
When you travel, you must become the ultimate budgeter. You have set yourself a budget; you have a daily allowance for food, accommodation, and fun, and you must stick to it. The last thing you want to do is run out of money on the other side of the world. And if your life is travel, an empty bank account means that dreaded call home for a ticket back to the parents’ house.
You appreciate every cent, you bargain with everyone, you get value for money, and you earn it when you make it.
5. Travel teaches you to ask for help
When you’re on the other side of the world, mom and dad can’t help you much. Neither can your best friend or sibling (unless they are with you). But, travel teaches you that you are never truly alone. It’s vey rare in this world that a stranger wont help you if you need it. Especially when it comes to directions or translation. No matter how great our technology gets, there will be times that those travel apps just aren’t helping.
People are wired to help each other. That’s what community is all about.
6. Travel teaches you that you are a tiny, tiny fish in a massive ocean.
Travel changes your perspective on every factor of your life. Remember how your parents used to tell you how important you are, how you could be anything? Well you are important, and you can be anything.
But there are also seven billion other people out there who are just as important with just as much of a right to be who they want to be as well. Travel teaches you that you that the world owes you nothing. This life is yours, make of it what you will. Because at the end of the day, the only person who cares as much about your life as you is you.
7. Travel broadens your horizons
Don’t you think the most interesting people in the world are the ones who can relate to any topic and offer an interesting anecdote about that topic from their own experiences? When you travel, you learn and begin to gain an understanding of so many more global topics than you would if you simply read them in a newspaper or Facebook feed.
You also meet many more people. Your network of friends and acquaintances swells in numbers, and so the amount of people you can bounce ideas off of, and have meaningful conversations with increases too. The more you travel, the more sides to the story you hear.
8. Travel teaches you acceptance and tolerance
Before you start travelling, its easy to get into a comfortable little corner where the world revolves around what you believe, and what you believe is shaped by what you hear on your local news channel or what your parents taught you.
When you travel, you see people for who they really are. You experience different cultural norms and nuances, and you gain an appreciation for what other cultures value most. This is generally different to what you value most, and that’s ok.
You’re both right.
9. Travel matures your palate
Oh, the amount of food I have learned to love because there really wasn’t much else being offered in that small town in that country no one has been. Your palate is something that doesn’t generally mature just because you get older. You need to keep exposing it to new things for it to start liking new things.
A big part of this is actually all in your head. Just because your western culture has told you it’s not cool to eat fried crickets, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily not cool to eat fried crickets. You see, a lot of people around the world think that about our beef eating habits too.
Get out there, try it all. Some of it is horrifically bad, but most of it is good. Why? Well because most people don’t cook things they don’t like, right?
10. Travel teaches you that there is no place like home
It is all well and good to tread the path less trodden, to fly by the seat of your pants, and go with the wind, and to take thousands of photos of it all. But to be honest, one of the biggest things I keep having re-affirmed to myself as I continue to experience and appreciate new cultures is home is actually the best place on earth.
Where you are from may not be the most populous or have the most entertainment events or cultural festivals, it still has the most important things: friends and family. The luckiest bit is, they’ll always be there when you need them.
11. Travel teaches you that we are all the same
Its so easy to feel like that kid in Kenya is some alien from a different planet with no relatable feelings or dreams, or that girl in Argentina or Finland. Or maybe, when you think of Nairobi, all you can picture is lions and Africans in shacks, or kangaroos jumping down the streets of Perth, Australia. TV creates these distorted realities in our heads because it exploits our imaginations to make more money.
The reality is, all major cities are really quite similar. Most have skyscrapers and traffic lights, nightclubs and restaurants, city parks, and Apple stores. That boy in Kenya is just as smart as you and he’s working just as hard as you to get into law school. He can be lazy and temperamental like you, and has so many other dreams of travelling and working abroad.
Just because he comes from a different or less publicized/developed nation, doesn’t mean he is any less capable or driven than you.
12. Travel creates unforgettable memories
The bottom line is, when you travel, whether you love it or not, you are creating a path that is different and memorable. You push yourself to new limits and out of your comfort zone, and most of all, you break that routine your brain so intelligently teaches itself to blur out in your memory. Travelling is full of so many postcard moments because they are all unique; they are yours and no one else’s.