Why Everyone Should Travel the World

Everyone should travel at some point in their lives. The most common question I get when I talk about a new trip is: Why? I find this to be a strange thing to ask. It seems so obvious to me. For me, it is quite simply because I want to go. What other reason do I need? Since I have been asked this so many times, I have realized that not everyone has this mindset. Travel seems like a luxury to some, and a waste of time to others, or maybe it just seems out of reach. Even one trip can change your perspective. I am here to tell you that travel is accessible and relevant to everyone, and to answer that ever-present question: Why?

The View from Papagayo Bay in Costa Rica

Learn About the World

Travel is the best education a person could receive. If you travel to a new country, you will learn something that you didn’t know about their culture. Travel instills a better sense of the world into a person. Even if you are just taking a family trip to Disney, you will learn how to get there, how to communicate with others, how to schedule your day, etc. There are so many things to consider when you travel that you learn many valuable skills without realizing it.

When you are a child, you just see the adventure, and that is part of the learning process too. In a way, traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language is like reverting to your childhood. Back then, you couldn’t read anything, but you still plowed through life without much pause. Not being able to read a language should not slow you down, but make you more curious, like a child discovering the world for the first time.

It is so worth it to take the boat right up to Niagara Falls.

Learn About Yourself

I know that it is a bit cliche, but you really can find yourself through travel. When you have to run to catch your connecting flight, you will learn how you fare under pressure. You will learn how resilient you are when you get sick and still have to keep going if only to find a doctor. When you visit a country where you don’t speak the language, you will learn not only how tolerant you are, but how accepting others are of those who are different from themselves. You will laugh, cry, get frustrated, and come out of travel knowing who you are and what you are capable of.

Going out of your comfort zone is the best way to learn something about yourself. If you never take risks, you will never know what could have been. We pass up opportunities every day. Don’t let the opportunity to travel be something that you pass on.

Ramen from a small stand in Osaka, Japan.

Eat and Drink Around the World

When you travel, you get to eat food that you can’t get at home. I LOVE to eat. We all have to eat to live, but we should be living to eat. When you visit somewhere new, make sure that you try a new dish while you are there. Food really reflects a culture. Some places love seafood, others prefer vegetable-based foods, and others use more livestock in their dishes. You can find bugs and organs and plants that you would not dream of eating. Even if you aren’t brave enough to try them, this still speaks to the culture of a place and you can learn something new.

Wine tasting at Reynold’s Family Winery in Napa Valley, California.

Drinking goes along with eating. You can find new and exciting drinks all around the world. I am not just talking about alcoholic beverages, either. You can have some of the best coffee in Central America or experience tea ceremony in Japan or China. Some drinks can only be found in certain parts of the world. It is exciting to try a drink that is unique to a place. Maybe it has some cultural meaning, or maybe it just tastes good.

The market in San Ignacio, Belize.

Meet New People

One of the best aspects of travel is the prospect of meeting new people. It could be someone who is kind to you, someone who challenges you, or even your new friend. It is easier than ever to stay connected with people, so you can keep in touch with your newfound friends with ease. When you are in a new country, one of the best ways to find what to do next is to talk to a local. They can give you some amazing advice that leads to your next meal or adventure.

Olympic Torch as it passes through Edinburgh, Scotland in June 2012. The phones and cameras really date this photo.

Speaking with other travelers is also a great way to learn more about the world. You can meet people from all over the world in a hostel, or in other places when you travel. Some of the most interesting people could be a fellow traveler. I love nothing more than listening to the stories of a traveler. They have seen things that I have not, and vice versa.

Thor’s Hammer in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Travel Teaches Patience

The more you travel, the more you will learn to go with the flow. Did you miss a train? Catch the next one, or even change your plans. Gasp. You can’t find food anywhere, but there is a small convenience store. Stop in and grab some food there. It isn’t the end of the world. You want to see a museum or exhibit but didn’t realize that you had to book in advance. Change your plans for that day and book for another one if you can. Now you know to check if reservations are required. New friends that you met at a hostel invite you to go out with them. Go and have the time of your life.

Travel is not a straight line. It is more of a ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-w…..wait. No. I think that is meant for something else. Travel is ever-changing and you should allow your adventures to unfold each day, even if they don’t align with your schedule. Travel makes you patient, which is one of the most valuable skills you can learn in life.

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California.

Inspire Yourself

Nothing is more inspirational than going out and seeing the world for what it truly is. The world is beautiful, unique, messy, chaotic, and perfect. Just like people, the world is complex. Visiting the quiet hills of Japan may inspire you to write. Viewing art at the Louvre may inspire you to create. Staying at home rarely inspires anything.

Even if it is going down the street to take a walk in the park, getting out there and seeing a bit of the world can inspire you to be your best self. So get out there. Eat something weird, talk to strangers, basically do the things your parents told you not to do as a child. The world is so big, it seems like a waste to not see it and let it change your life.

Common riding in Hawick, Scotland. Such a fun event!

Everyone has their own reason for traveling or for not traveling. Whatever you choose to do, be kind, be respectful, don’t hurt the earth, and take care of others. If you don’t get to travel often, I suggest reading. It allows you to escape without actually going anywhere.

Why do you travel? Why do you not? I want to know. Leave a comment or shoot me an email. I am happy to hear from you!

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