The time and money you spend traveling is not only an investment in yourself, but the world around you.
What's the point of a blog post on the topic of why you should travel?
Seems like an obvious answer - Vacations are cool, you get to escape your day to day and your Instagram followers think you have your life figured out.
If snappy selfies and beach naps are all the motivation you need to get away, I don't blame you. That used to do it for me too.
That was back when I was a run-of-the-mill vacationer.
But when I put my typical "week on the beach" vacation on the back-burner one summer to instead fling myself 8000 miles away to Vietnam, the moment I stepped off the plane and was b*tch slapped by the country's beauty, culture, food, poverty (the list goes on...) I knew right away that never again would a typical vacation satisfy my urge to get away.
The impact I found out the world could have on me and more importantly, the positive impact I could have on the world, home-wrecked my marriage with conventional two week a year vacations, created an ambition in me to truly experience this planet and transformed me from a happy vacationer to an adventurer.
If that transformation by itself isn't enough of an answer to your question of "Why You Should Travel", here are 6 more.
1. Travel Makes You an Interesting Person
Have you ever been to a party where it seemed like conversations were swirling around you like a hurricane and there you were in the eye of it - quiet, awkward and unable to contribute anything?
Well, PSHH, yeah, me neither. But I could imagine someone feeling the sorrow of spending their lives sheepishly wandering up to conversation circles, nodding, smiling and hoping to get invited in with a question or comment only to slowly back away after a few minutes of feeling like an invisible creep.
I have good news for those of you whose lives I just described (who I can definitely NOT identify with...).
Doing cool stuff the vast majority of people will never experience fixes that problem and is a massive reason why you should travel.
When I got back from South East Asia, sure, I was a few dollars poorer (literally just a few) and a few pounds lighter (not a good look for me). What I lacked in weight though I had ten times over in stories to share with people interested in listening and you'll be shocked by just how many people will be interested... and jealous.
2. Travel Makes You a Source of Inspiration at Home and Abroad
When you make the choice to travel the world, you'll be met with everything from surprise to skepticism. Most people just can't fathom being able to see the world without winning a sweepstakes or being a Kardashian.
Armed with your newfound experiences, you now have the power to reshape that perception. Your friends, siblings, cousins, etc. will see what you’ve achieved in your travels, things they thought were impossible, and have their definition of the word redefined.
Also, your influence will go beyond people at home! You will also affect the locals in the places you’ll visit!
The dollars you pump into foreign and sometimes desperate countries is vital to families who rely on adventurers like you to make ends meet. And if helping finance people’s livelihoods isn’t sexy enough for you, remember all of those times your mom said you were special?
Well, PSHH, yeah, me neither (for real this time). But if you have ever been told that, you can prove the compliment true when you travel because there is a very good chance the people you come in contact with will have never met anybody like you!
Remember, when you travel in search of diverse experiences you supply locals with the same benefit at no cost to them. You can have a real impact on places and people all over the world just by making the decision to go there.
3. Travel Makes You Evolve as a Person
Going places that culturally foil where you come from will lead to your evolution as a person and is at the core of why you should travel.
For example, after seeing the poverty and back-breaking hustle people are subjected to in some parts of the world, it really put into perspective my views on what it means to be disadvantaged and the beauty of perseverance. Because despite being in places where it's common to see a six-year-old carrying their younger sibling on their back, working from dusk till dawn to get by, those people still shared an incredible sense of community and kindness.
Witnessing that made me a more gracious person and has been one of the most rewarding "why you should travel" rewards I've enjoyed.
Another breakthrough I had while on the road is when travel impressed upon me humanity's capacity for cruelty as I toured Cambodia's Killing Fields. When you learn about genocide in school it makes you think. When you're physically walking over people's bones who were murdered en-mass for no reason just 42 years ago... that creates in you a need to do everything in your power to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.
4. With Great Travel Comes Great Responsibility
Being willing to share what you learned while traveling will go a long way in helping bridge cultures. Our communities exist in boxes that, through their lack of understanding of those outside of their inner circle, can get the idea that different means substandard. Social networks are guilty of fueling that fire by presenting users with heavily filtered environments that directly align with their interests and do little to challenge perceptions.
Curious adventurers who are willing to go out into the world, meet new people and share their first-hand experiences back home are the single most important weapon against misinformation.
It can be a lot of pressure to be the one who objects to generalizations that are widely excepted. But when you travel and see things most people never will, you have an obligation to share your newfound authority in a way that reduces polarization and bursts filter bubbles.
More important than any of that sappy moral obligation crap though is food. I don’t mean to sound insensitive and I’ll go on record saying I’m biased here given my blissful history of unabashed face stuffing but...
Food is #1!
Food is #1!
Food is #1!
I’m talking Fresh Mozzarella in Rome, Beer Battered Fish and Chips in London, Hot Pho in Vietnam, Questionable Escargot in France, TO DIE FOR Street Food in Malaysia and all you can drink Mango Lassies in… also Malaysia (Malaysia is freakin delicious). I could go on forever but if you love the idea of traveling, I hope you love the act of eating as much if not more.
Because food is by far one of the most compelling reasons why you should travel.
6. And Finally, Travel Makes Your Friends Super Jealous. That's a Given.
Wrapping Up 6 Reasons Why You Should Travel with a Life Changing Exercise
Now that you have wheels turning in your head on why you should travel, let's do a quick exercise to give you what might be a life changing mental breakthrough.
"EXERCISE? RIGHT AFTER IMAGINING EATING ALL THAT FOOD? I COULD GET A CRAMP!"
Don't worry. I won't make you stand for this.
I want you to pick one "why you should travel" reason, whichever one excites you the most, and imagine yourself enjoying it.
For example, if inspiring your little brother to believe the world is bigger than the city he grew up in and that he has the power to see it all excites you, imagine talking to him about your adventures.
Tell him about the people you met, the danger you escaped and the fun you had. Show him those pictures of the breathtaking landscapes you saw and the one dollar Pad Thai you ate. See yourselves laughing together, his face lighting up and you listening to all the questions he has.
You just changed that boy's life.
And know that what excites you about travel doesn't have to be something I mentioned or as sappy as the example I gave you. My most compelling reason to travel is imagining the ecstasy of shoving a hot dog in my mouth and washing it down with a cold beer while bathing in the tie-dye lights of a Ferris-wheel in the center of Budapest.
The point of all of this is to figure out what aspects of travel excite you the most and to leverage that excitement to propel you forward in making your travel dreams your travel reality.
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