For those of you that have traveled, I’m sure you have been feeling the “travel bug” ever since you got back home. And for those of you who haven’t, it’s time you get outdoors and experience something new! Traveling doesn’t mean you need to hop on a 16 hour plane flight and fly across the world – although this certainly opens the door to many exciting adventures. Traveling can be taking a 30 minute drive to a city you have never seen before, visiting relatives across the country or going camping with friends for the weekend.
The whole point of traveling is to experience something new, get out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people and cultures that will open your mind to so many new ideas. Whether you’re young or old, traveling somewhere new never gets boring. So why travel? Why not just stay in your own hometown your entire life, in the comfort of people and locations you have been so familiar with throughout the years? Because as a human, at some point in your life you’ll feel the need to experience something new and exciting. Whether you want to hike through vast rainforests, climb mountains or lay on the beach drinking a margarita, there’s a travel destination that’s perfect for you.
Many people, at one point or another, feel ‘stuck’ in their day to day lives and yearn to experience something bigger, something better. So many young people these days are taking years off of school, or taking a break right after college to backpack Europe or volunteer in a third world country. Some of these people are taking these adventures to run away from their mundane lives, and some of these people have a genuine desire to serve. Regardless of which category you may fit into, there are hundreds and thousands of people traveling by plane, train, car and foot every single day. From one point to another, humans are always traveling. Whether you’re volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala or embarking on a wild outdoor adventure in New Zealand, your body, mind and spirit will benefit from the experience.
8. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Getting out of your comfort zone is by far one of the most important things you will ever do in life. How will you ever grow and change if you never try something new? If you spent your entire life staying within your comfort zone and never taking risks, chances are you’d still be laying on the floor of your parents house playing with blocks. Think about that time you tried out for the field hockey team, or you took your first photograph, or you took a chance and won the school spelling bee. Without the risk involved, you would have never felt the excitement of succeeding! Now is the time to get out of your hometown and see something new. Whether it is with a best friend, a significant other or by yourself, stop wishing you were somewhere new and hop in your car or buy a plane ticket. The more time you think about how afraid you are of leaving what you know, the less time you’ll have to travel and experience new things!
7. Appreciate What You Have
Traveling the world truly allows you to appreciate all of the ways that you have been blessed. Think about backpacking across the outskirts of European cities, with only a small backpack full of your most prized possessions. Those who take a year or two of their lives to experience new landscapes and cultures cannot bring everything they own with them! Packing for an extended vacation may seem intimidating as you’re leaving a lot of your belongings behind, but once you are out on the open road you’ll find that you don’t need much at all. This, in turn, can help you live a happier life overall. The more you realize material possessions don’t equal self-worth, the more free you will feel.
6. Live in the Now
I have heard so many people in their twenties say “oh, I’ll travel when I’m older, when I have more money”. Do you have an automatic guarantee that you will live to be a healthy, fit older man or woman? Do you know for a fact that you will have loads of money that you can throw away on lavish vacations? Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, and money shouldn’t be a factor. Even if you can’t buy a plane ticket to an exotic destination, get a group of friends together and take a road trip to a new city. Splitting the cost of gas and providing all of your own food cuts down on a significant amount of the cost, and if you take the trip during a warm season you can camp out at night instead of paying for lodging! Websites like CouchSurfing and Web B&B allow you to find free or very cheap housing with delightful people all across the US and the world, so being a broke college student is no excuse not to travel.
5. Interact With Others
Traveling truly helps you understand the vast differences in the human race. This is especially true when you’re traveling alone, and you must approach people for directions or meet new friends in your hostel. When you travel alone, you either remain alone or find friends on the road to share experiences with. Because of this, it’s incredibly important for everyone to travel alone at least once in their life, even if it’s just an hour away from home. The more you interact with people from your culture and others, the better you’ll get at social interaction in general.
4. Adapt to Change
You’ve woken up in the same bed every morning, got the same cup of coffee at the same coffee shop and driven down the same road to work. Your daily routine is so engrained in your mind that you barely even notice yourself doing it anymore. But what happens when you wake up in a foreign bed, with no set routine and no daily agenda? You improvise. You travel roads you don’t know, buy coffee from cafes you don’t recognize and set your eyes on mountains and streams they have never seen before. Traveling across unknown lands makes you more adaptable to any change that life may throw at you.
3. Gain Knowledge
When you travel, talk to the locals. Go to museums that teach you about the land and the history and the culture of a place. Visit national parks and never say ‘no’ – within reason. If you have never tried it, how can you know you won’t enjoy it? As long as you don’t spend your travel days in a hotel taking shots with your best friends, you are going to learn something new.
2. Become More Confident
The more you travel and learn about different countries and cultures, the more stories you’ll be able to tell others. Would you rather tell a new friend about the time you took a walk in your neighborhood park, or would you rather tell them a grand story about hiking Machu Picchu? The more adventures you partake of and the more experiences you have, the more interesting of a person you’ll be to yourself and others. And, come on, being able to tell people you hiked to the top of Machu Picchu has to be a confidence booster.
1. Be a Happier You
You’ll meet new friends, try new foods, hike new mountains and swim in new waters. You’ll be more sociable, less materialistic, more confident and more knowledgeable. You’ll be able to ignite an excitement and passion within others through your stories, and you’ll have a journal full of doodles and photographs to remember everything by.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So hop in that car, jump on that plane, and go explore!