The idea of traveling the world evokes excitement in some - and dread in others. World travel means exploring new places and cultures, which equates to stepping out into the unknown. This can be both exhilarating and challenging, but it can be compared to living life in general; travel just tends to be more intense, since so much can happen in a short space of time and experiences are less predictable.
We can never be totally sure what is going to happen in our lives either, but fun adventures and huge challenges shape our perspective over time… and this helps us to grow as people. When you travel the world, the chances are that your personal growth will be exponential.
Any seasoned traveler will tell you that travel is good for the soul. If you’re thinking of making the leap and booking a life-changing trip, here are some reasons why you absolutely should go for it:
One of the main reasons people embark on exciting trips into the unknown is because certainty is boring. The humdrum daily routines we often fall into in Western culture can leave us feeling that we’re missing out. We probably are; after all, the phrase “variety is the spice of life” was likely coined for good reason. Change is healthy, and we should embrace it.
That doesn’t mean that we should seek endless change, as being constantly dissatisfied with our lives isn’t exactly the sign of a healthy mindset. However, travel can’t fail to lead to new experiences; things that are unlikely to happen in our daily lives back home. From new relationships to trying out new activities and taking in profoundly beautiful vistas… such novel experiences can be incredibly enriching, leading to a sense of gratitude - the most nourishing of soul foods!
Travel inevitably pushes you out of your comfort zone, which might initially lead to mixed feelings. However, stepping outside of the familiar and realizing that you can achieve so much more than you imagined is a major asset in terms of personal growth.
For instance, you might find that you can indeed navigate far-flung places in which you don’t speak the language. Occasional bouts of loneliness or homesickness may push you to make an effort to speak to other travelers, whereas at home, fear of awkwardness might prevent you from befriending strangers.
For some, just surviving in a completely unfamiliar culture alone is enough to build self-confidence, which almost certainly leads to a higher quality of life.
After spending time in a new country and seeing the way other people live, it is much easier to empathize with (or at least accept) different behaviours and belief systems. Cultural norms in your home country can be quite different, and the way people see things might vary greatly. Even morals may be at odds with what you are accustomed to, but sometimes immersion into a different way of life can help you to understand how and why differences are necessary.
Travel also helps you put things into perspective. For instance, you might have been unhappy in a situation at home for some time, and while you’re right there in the situation you “can’t see the woods for the trees”, as the saying goes.
A break from your routine and familiar environment can give you the space to see the reality of your circumstances, leading to clearer thinking and better decision making. Sometimes just witnessing a new way of doing things can highlight what is missing or unhealthy, giving you the resolve you need to make positive changes.
When on the road, you are going to cross paths with people from all walks of life. Some of them will be characters you might never normally strike up a conversation with. Interesting conversations can open the mind, and it is a lot of fun to make friends with people from backgrounds quite at odds with your own.
You are also likely to come across plenty of like-minded people. Travelers tend to be adventurous, brave and curious; all of these qualities are positive and interesting, so sharing travel stories and mixing with those who enjoy the same kinds of activities will be cathartic.
Connecting in meaningful ways with others is arguably one of the most rewarding aspects of life. At the very least, making friends while traveling means you’ll go home with wonderful memories.
Tropical diseases aside, traveling often makes you feel healthy and vital. For a start, many destinations are sunny, so you’ll get the crucial benefits of vitamin D. Beach life is relaxing and exhilarating, and you’ll be able to soak up lots of healthful negative ions on the beaches and in the forests.
Most people indulge in plenty of new activities while traveling, from hiking mountains to water sports. There will probably be lots of new outdoor pursuits available to keep you mentally and physically active. The bottom line is that health and vitality are up there among the most important things in life, and travel facilitates these… provided you’re not soaking up the local bar supplies instead of sunshine and negative ions! A healthy person is usually a happy person, which in itself is good for the soul.