April 26, 2013 by Diana M
This summer I will be spending a couple of months in the USA, thus making one of my lifelong dreams come true. I found myself missing terribly this sort of life-changing experiences achieved through traveling. After spending 5 months in France 3 years ago, I only got to visit various places for no more than 5 days at a time, which is definitely not enough for quenching my novelty thirst.
But right now, I feel like a giddy kid awaiting Christmas all over again, because no matter how scary traveling to a new country (or continent!) may be, it’s also really exciting and has that adventure feel all over it.
So here are 10 reasons I love to travel and why you should love it too:
1. It opens up your mind
You can see a pretty clear difference between the people that have been out and about and those who haven’t really left their houses all that much. It’s a noticeable change in attitude, perspective, behavior, and overall openness. Traveling stretches your mind to new horizons and gives you the ability to make much better decisions regarding your life and the life of others.
2. You discover new things
You’re visiting new places with new people, a new culture, with new buildings and foods and habits and dressing styles. Everything around you is new, and colorful and different and wondrous. Whether it’s the amazing gelato from Rome, the colorful people of Barcelona, the old London buildings or the awesome gardens from Versailles, no matter where you go, you will discover new and awesome things.
3. It gives you a different perspective of the world
When you travel you get to see how others are living or even surviving in this world. While you were used to taking daily showers, or trying to drink your recommended 2L of waters per day, others were struggling to find the smallest quantities of clean water. You start cherishing and being extremely grateful for what you have in your life once you realize how the rest of the world is living.
(Check 10 things to be grateful for today)
4. Experience the excitement
You never know what you’re going to find right around the corner. A new favorite cafe, an amazing bookstore, incredible musicians or a wall art that is going to make your jaw drop. You’re experiencing a whole new type of excitement because all you can do is simply marvel at the beauty that surrounds you. Discovering places you’ve never been to or seen before is one of the most exciting things ever.
5. Learning about different places and cultures
In her book Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert describes her journey through Italy, India and Indonesia while trying to find herself again. She learned how to speak through hand gestures like the Italians love to do, how to meditate properly in an Indian ashram, and what wonders an Indonesian medicine man can do. Each country and each culture has its own beauty, elegance and wisdom just waiting to be shared.
6. Taking on an adventure
See the Hobbit picture above. ‘Nuff said.
7. Facing fears of the unknown
Yes, it’s scary. Really scary. There have been so many stories about what happened to travelers all over the world, not to mention what can happen in general. But let’s face it. Anything could happen at any given moment or place -and I think anyone who has seen Final Destination can agree with that; as ridiculous as those movies are, they still have a point: when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. So yes, it can be really scary, but that shouldn’t really stop you from trying.
It’s like Peter McWilliams used to say: “What if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does?”
8. Stepping over stereotypes
Each person who’s living only in his own country always thinks he has everything figured out. About everybody. Oh no, those guys are cold, and it always rains over there, and those people are just stupid so what’s the point in going there anyway, etc. They have this tendency to overgeneralize everything and put in the same bucket every single person that comes from a particular country. When traveling you get to meet different people from various cultures and you start to realize that at the end of the day, whether those guys are black or white, Muslims or Christians, tall or short, blondes or gingers, they are just like you, because they are just people.
9. Having the chance to find yourself
When I left to study a semester of Sociology in France, I was having a pretty active life back home. For 2 months I had a really hard time getting used to all the newly found freedom I was experiencing. While being in a different country and feeling completely alone and lost, I slowly found a different part of myself, a much quieter and calmer part. Sometimes it’s the smallest things in life that you find at a street corner that change you the most.
10. New life experiences that will make you wiser
Traveling is undoubtedly one of the most life-changing experiences that you can have. It just yanks you up from your comfort zone and your routine, and puts you in this strange new world where everything is similar but different. It changes you in so many wonderful ways, that you emerge from it as a whole new person.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine