I confess that even taking the local bus or train to an unfamiliar part of the country gives me a kick. I am a sucker for a change in routine and learning who I am through travel. But travel offers so much more than that. It is in our blood.
- Break from the daily grind
Putting distance between yourself and where you live every now and then that helps make life easier. When we go away on a journey, we are not only taking a rest but breaking familiar thought processes that could shackle us in the long run.
- To grow as a person
Something about living abroad makes us more open-minded, tolerant of others and appreciative of home. We interpret the world differently and are not so hung up over the little things. We become more well-rounded. If that is not a good thing, I don’t know what is.
- As a transition
Had a break up and need closure? Need time in-between jobs, making the leap from graduation to working adult, a sabbatical? No better reasons to go abroad. Help yourself along.
- Meaningful relationships
For some of us, watching TV is as close as it gets to seeing new faces. Don’t be one of those. Venture abroad, meet like-minded people and discover how similar we can be in all our cultural differences. One meaningful relationship is all it takes to change your life.
Yes, this requires you to break out of your comfort zone. Getting lost in Louvre, being stranded in a rural Japanese countryside, eating spicy food for the first time; if not now, then when? If not you, then who?
Travel helps us discover skills we never knew we had. Learning a new language, climbing the Himalayas, trying to figure out the Tokyo subway, ordering something at a restaurant in rural China – travel will push you to use those undiscovered skill sets.
- Intellectual pursuit
Going for overseas study would be a prime example. But not only will you learn more about a subject, you will learn more about the world in terms of people, history and culture. Those are things that books can’t teach you.
- For business
For some of us, we travel to survive. Work puts us on a plane, we have meetings set up in different parts of the world, or simply, we are travel writers. Bring it on, I say. If I can be paid to travel, that would be an ideal job.
- Volunteer travel to make a difference
Be it volunteering to build shelters for the homeless, distribute food supplies, teach English in a remote village, it’s not about you anymore. You start out wanting to change the world but come back paying tribute to how the experience has changed you.
- Travel is a part of humanity
Human beings were a migratory species. Our ancestors travelled so that we are where we are (mine did, at least). It doesn’t matter whether you’re going on a holiday or whatever, exploration is in the blood of the human race.
- Different perspective
It is no wonder why so many associate travel with therapy. Travel helps us abandon our petty issues, see the big picture and in short, alter our perspectives on life. We become more of who we want to be.
- Become more independent
Unless you’re forever joining a tour, some part of your journey will probably require you to think on your feet. Asking for directions, looking out for yourself, managing your budget. You will become more mature and self-reliant.
- Grow in confidence
There is something about adventure that makes people more confident. How not to be, after surviving a Chicago snowstorm, successfully hiked Mount Everest, bungy jumped in Phuket. When you feel more confident, you can do just about anything.
- Develop social skills
When traveling solo especially, you learn to make friends on the go. After all, you may need some help and vice versa. Soon, chatting with strangers on the subway or in hostel dorms becomes second nature. Not to mention you get to swap travel tips along the way.
- Relieve stress
Stress is a silent but sure killer. Increased amounts of stress can lead to high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms and obesity, among other things. Why does a vacation help relieve stress? For one, it helps take you out of the daily situations that cause stress. Then spending time with family and friends is an additional stress-relief booster.
- Become a happier person
Ever heard the phrase “Be a gatherer of experiences, not things”? Travel is a perfect example of creating meaningful experiences for you and your friends or family. Oh, a few souvenirs in the process wouldn’t hurt.
- Release creativity
When we are stuck in one place for most of the time, many ideas we may have are suppressed by a familiar routine and daily obligations. Imagine standing in front of a lavender field in full bloom. When you’re next stuck in traffic back home, the wonder of purple still comes to mind.
- Eat all sorts of different food
Ah, food. Some live for it, others eat to live. Let’s face it, you’re going to have to eat when you travel and you won’t be getting the same fare at home. Whether you’re going to be disgusted with the ‘King of Fruits’ or durian in Singapore or blown away by green curry in Thailand (no pun intended), travel is definitely a means to broaden that palette.