We all have that friend on Facebook whose travel experiences we live through vicariously. We witness wondrous sunsets, play with baby elephants and eat spicy street food browsing an album entitled Putting Off Real Life, whilst we ourselves sit at desks stifling our own wanderlust with strong coffee and rent payments. There are a myriad of reasons why people choose to travel. You might read a book about a different culture you’d like to experience first-hand, see a photograph you want to go and recreate yourself, or meet someone whose attitude towards life harnesses your own insatiable want to see the world. Ultimately, travel is incomparable in its satisfactions, advantages and lessons. Here are just a few.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain
The world is wide. And the purpose of life is to live it. Dream big dreams, be spontaneous and try investing in experience over object. If you have the opportunity to travel, take it; go on an adventure. Be bold, take risks, and create an exciting memories for yourself that you will remember forever. As my Dad so candidly put it recently, ‘the world’s a big place, so go check some of it out.’
Travel opens your eyes and allows you to harness important perspectives. Having nothing but a backpack filled with only the bare necessities, somehow manifests a new empathy with cultures you might experience that don’t have access to the materialistic things that our own society sees as essential. This is incredibly compelling and allows you to appreciate the life many people lead in this world. But the infectious happiness of local people in these locations will also reward with the realisation that you don’t need consumer-driven goods to be happy. As Flaubert so simply states in the following quote, travel makes one modest. This you may discover you when you’re standing high above the clouds on top of a mountain, exploring a new world underwater with a scuba tank on your back, or simply interacting with a new community. But you’ll return home more humble than when you left.
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Gustave Flaubert
Everything about travel is educating. Planning your next trip requires you to be creative, but also organised. You’ll have to find different ways of communicating with people, navigate through new cities, learn about the rules of different cultures; even handling a different currency keeps you on your toes. If you don’t have much time in a place, educate yourself about where you’re going before you get there so you can make the most it. Talk to people who have been before and read books, blogs and travel guides. Condé Nast is one of my go-to resources before I go anywhere.
TO BREAK HABITS
Travelling induces a whole new way of thinking and thus old habits and unhealthy routines are broken. When a 20 minute stint on a treadmill at the weekend is the only thing pushing you out of your comfort zone, think about pushing the boundaries. An ever-changing horizon forces change.
When you travel, you open your mind in a way which seems to slow down time. Getting to the other side of the world takes a long time and flying requires you to be flexible and patient. And when you’re somewhere new, you never feel the need to rush round a museum or inhale your food. There are no time frames. This encourages us to live in the moment, gifting the present and promoting mindfulness.
“In life some people trip and some fall but some take that trip and make a beautiful dance out of it.” Rob Dyrdek
Travelling with a loved one can allow you to share experiences that you will remember forever. Equally, it can introduce you to like-minded people from places all over the world and the people you meet on your travels might become friends for life. It will also strengthen the relationships you have with family, friends and loved ones back at home: absence makes the heart grow fonder!
When you’re in a new place and everything is unfamiliar, it forces you to claim an independence you may not have had to call on before. Travelling can teach you an awful lot about yourself; you’ll discover your own limits, learn to trust yourself and realise just how resourceful you can be.