I spend every waking second thinking about, planning or partaking in the act of travelling. After spending a significant chunk of my life on the beaten (and unbeaten) path, I have realised that you don’t have to necessarily embark on an Eat, Pray, Love style of adventure to find out who you are or where you fit into this world. You just have to put yourself out there and give the world the chance to provide you with the experiences to grow.
Like all things in life, experiences, success and happiness don’t just fall into your lap. You need to put yourself in a position where incredible things can happen. While the benefits of travel and taking the time to see the world, meet new people and experience a different way of life are limitless, here are some significant ways that my life has changed for the better due to investing my time and money in travel.
You will become more comfortable in your own skin
Most people (including myself) spend their younger life in a state of awkward discomfort. Whether it was finding myself in an unfamiliar situation or trying to talk to girls, I was a nervous mess for the most part. I was worried about the way I looked, what strangers thought of me and I had a sense that to get ahead , I had to keep pace with trying to be someone I wasn’t.
Dedicating time to travelling through far-flung parts of the world will expose you to cultures that value the qualities of a person’s character instead of how they look or how much money is in their pocket. Years of travel has made me realise that being comfortable with who you are is far more important than keeping up with others or trying to be someone you think they want you to be.
You will naturally attract other interesting people
Fact. Travel will make you interesting. I learnt long ago that there is no substitute for a meaningful conversation. Sure, beautiful people are great to look at but there has to be some connection on an emotional and intellectual level. If you find someone with both of these qualities, hold on to them for dear life!
Travel will shape your views on the world and give you a unique opinion on subjects of worth. Exposing yourself to the injustices of the world or to places that just seem to do life right, will give you something interesting to talk about to like-minded people and argue a valid point when taking to those of a more narrow-minded nature.
You will have perspective on everything that happens in your life
Also fact. Life isn’t always smooth sailing. Regardless of who we are or where we are from, we will all love, laugh, cry and lose someone special at some point in life.
Travelling won’t protect you from bad things happening to you (actually, you may be exposed to some pretty heavy stuff while travelling) but it will give you the ability to accept that bad things happen. Seeing and experiencing realities that are not as fortunate as your own will give you an ability to recognise, in times of stress or hardship, that life could always be worse. You will return from your travels with a renewed sense of being able to recognise the things in life that are of actual importance: your loved ones, freedom and your health.
You’ll feel connected with the world and those in it
There is no better feeling than having relationships with people of different creeds and backgrounds from all around the world. Modern technology allows us to maintain regular contact, send instant photos and chat whenever we feel like it. Investing time in travel exposes you to new people, some of which will become your closest friends for the rest of your life. You’ll pick up some of their habits and ways of life, while sharing yours with them. While there is a lot that you can take from the experience of travel, it is important to remember that you contributing back to the world community is just as important as taking from it.
You’ll also develop a deeper connection to the natural world and your place within it. Travel exposes you to the concept that mankind and the natural world aren’t two separate things, they are in fact two parts of one entity. There are some places in the world that hold no regard for the wellbeing of nature, whether it is due to poverty or corporate greed. Seeing this has had a profound impact on my life and has influenced the way I now consider the natural environment in everything I do.
You’ll be grateful for what you have
Perhaps one of the most significant things you will get from travel is a new perspective and appreciation on the good things you have in your life. We live in a world that is full of suffering and injustice and even if you choose to avoid some of the typically dangerous destinations, you will at some point be exposed to suffering and hard luck stories that will bring perspective to your life and current situation. No matter how bad my situation is, I always know that there is someone out there who is having a worse day than me. What matters most is that I have my loved ones close by and that we are all healthy and relatively happy. At the end of the day, I don’t need anything else.