I recently read a quote that summed it up:
“I travel because I need to…because my wild, adventurous spirit can’t live according to the “norm.” I travel to regroup, to reinvent myself, to be the best me I can be, to find joy in the ordinary and peace in exploring. I travel to be.”
Such a beautiful way to put it.
But even then, it’s more than that. I love to travel, but I don’t travel quite the same as a lot of other travelers. In fact, I personally grow attached to certain particular places and keep returning to them (like Switzerland, for example).
When I embarked on my first trip overseas to Switzerland a few years ago, I found myself in a whole new world that I never knew existed. Well, maybe I did know that something else existed… something more that I was lacking in my own life, but I hadn’t realized it at the time. How could I? I had never left the States.
But I connected with another land. Another people. Another language. Another life.
Words just can’t describe how amazing it was.
I’m going to give 10 reasons why I believe traveling is a great investment and how I relate personally.
#1: It expands your perspective of the world and makes you appreciate life more.
When you leave your home to get out and travel the world, you realize how much more there is to life. I feel like most people are caught up in the everyday humdrum lifestyle, doing the same things day-in and day-out, while life is passing them by. It’s so beneficial when a person breaks away from the rat-race cycle and goes out to find a whole other world waiting to be explored and learned about. When I first visited Switzerland, I found myself thinking one day, as I prepared to eat a picnic with my host family beneath Alps, “Wow… here is another family on the other side of the world doing similar things that we do back at home, but in a different way, talking in their own language, and living their lives their way.” I love connecting to another people, another country, another language.
#2: You learn about the world in a special way.
Travel offers a unique experience for you to gain knowledge about the world, that one could never get out of a book. When you visit another country, you immerse yourself in another culture and get hands-on experience and learn things you couldn’t learn anywhere else. It’s so different to see and experience things for yourself instead of just reading about it or looking at pictures.
#3: Travel changes you for the better.
Although I’ve personally never traveled to a third-world country, I can still say that traveling makes me more modest and humble as a person. The world is so big and I’m so small.
I’ve known people who have visited countries that were poorer and it was an unforgettable experience for them and they learned so much. They also never looked at their own lives the same again. I feel like we live in such a commercialized, materialistic world, always getting the latest smartphone or car, spending so money on electronics, movies, music and clothes. So much money goes to material things. Things that usually don’t last. When I travel, I get the chance to see the Swiss Alps reaching the heavens, or walk inside castles that are hundreds of years old, and ride a train through Europe’s countryside. You also learn to appreciate the little things in life. You see the natural beauty of the world. You realize there’s more to life than catching up on TV shows, playing video games, or spending countless hours in a mall.
#4: It makes you more confident and independent as a person.
I personally don’t mind traveling alone. My confidence level has shot-up sky high since I’ve started traveling. I’m a people-person as it is, but traveling has definitely brought out my confidence in conversing with people more and more. Traveling is also a good experience for learning to be independent. It’s not quite the same as being independent back at home. When you’re in another country, it hits you hard to where everything you do is pretty much gonna fall in your own hands and you get to practice making big choices.
#5: Travel creates happiness.
I simply can’t explain how happy traveling makes me feel. I don’t feel stressed and overwhelmed. Instead, I feel joy and happiness. I’m in a new place seeing new things. My soul is at peace. My sense of wonder grows and I appreciate the world and life more. It’s even good for your health! An article I read from the Traveller says that science confirms that travel does indeed make one happier, and continues to write about how it’s because you’re investing your money in something non-materialistic.
Think about it.
Spending money on things like a new car, new clothes, the latest gadget or smartphone isn’t going to give you long-term happiness. While these things might make you happy at first, this happiness isn’t going to last in the long run.
At the end of the article, it reads: “Travel, after all, is everything. It’s joy. It’s fear. It’s love, it’s hate, it’s surprise and it’s confusion. It makes you smarter, and it makes you happier. Why would you spend your money on anything else?”
#6: You become more open-minded.
I feel like sometimes we Americans can come off as pretty spoiled to the rest of the world. We like having things done our way. And while there’s nothing wrong with thinking that our way is best, I wouldn’t go around having this attitude when visiting other countries. It doesn’t hurt to be open-minded about another culture’s customs or ways of life. It doesn’t mean you have to do as they do. It’s really just about respect. You can’t venture off to another country and not be willing to try anything differently than what you’re use to at home (for example, trying new food). It doesn’t hurt to keep an open-mind when immersing yourself in another culture. Everyone is brought up living life differently. It’s not going to be quite the same as what you’re use to back at home.
#7: You make the best of friends.
I, for one, can definitely say that the most amazing people I’ve met have been through traveling (although there are a few exceptions – 2 of my best friends are ones that I met online; an American and a Swiss). But you can meet so many other travelers like yourself or befriend the natives to whatever country it is you’re visiting. And you can keep returning to visit them and have a place to stay.
Friends = Memories
Also, just a side-note: I didn’t necessarily have to leave the country to make best friends. When I left home to work in Colorado last year, I met the most incredible people. It saddens me to even think about how my life might have been without them.
I don’t want to imagine it.
#8: You have more appreciation of where you come from.
For me, I’ve actually grown to love the US more and more as I travel. I mean, I love Europe – don’t get me wrong! But I’ve also have come to appreciate how I was raised back in the States (particularly the South) and my fellow Americans. I mean, there’s nothing like being around your own people. Even when I’m abroad, if I ever bump into another American, I feel like we’re kin/family 🙂
And although I don’t get homesick, it doesn’t mean that I don’t ever miss home. I do. I miss my family. I miss the cooking. I miss the South. I miss everything. It’s normal. It happens. But home will always be there, just as it was, when I return again. It’ll be right there waiting for me.
#9: You become more adventurous!
For me, I become more fearless and focus on making the best of my time wherever I am. It’s fun to wake up in a new place and go about the day living life as the locals do. There’s nothing that replaces the joy of trying, seeing and experiencing new things. And you’ll have a lot of stories to tell your family and friends when you return home!
#10: It’s a personal journey that allows your to discover yourself and grow as a better person.
I find that traveling allows me to connect with my own self. It helps to know myself better and I’m able to determine and learn about my own strengths and weaknesses. Travel has also made me a better person with how I behave and treat others. I have truly become more compassionate and have connected with other people that I would have never dreamed of knowing. I would to travel with someone one day. I love traveling solo but I also think it would be just awesome to have a companion to explore the world with!