In this Internet era, with its myriad of travel websites, blogs and online videos, a plethora of information about destinations around the world is a mere click away, it’s a comfortable way to “experience” the world through other people’s eyes from your very own home. Problem solved, right? Not quite.
It’s an easy way out, and you’ll never experience the steps it takes to get from point A to point B, or the excitement of taking a plane, breathing in the air of a new location, tasting local food, speaking to locals, or just being a visitor in a foreign land.
As everyone knows, some people love to travel and some simply don’t. Their trips consist of going to the mall and back, or traveling to see a friend 30 miles away because leaving a comfort zone is entering a scary unknown. Is traveling always easy and fun? No, it can be hard. Anything can happen at any time, and it’s these unpredictable circumstances that make people think twice about going on a trip.
My wife and I have been exploring the world for a long time, and we have reached a point that we have almost lost our roots of where we’re originally from. I believe in travel. I love to travel. I’m not just a fan, I’m also an advocate to encourage people to do the same.
1. Hungry for Adventure
Think back when your parents took you to Disneyland and the joy and thrill you felt when you first saw Mickey Mouse. You had a big smile on your face, and you ran to give him a big hug. Do you remember that? That’s us every day. We’re excited and hungry for new adventures all of the time. If you’ve reached a monotonous point in life, then the time has come to look at a different aspect of you: traveling. It’s exciting to discover new areas you’ve never seen before. Each time we arrive in a new destination, we become the kids who first saw Mickey. Traveling completes us, energizes us, and brings us joy.
Don’t become those people who are non-adventurous by nature and miss out on the sights and sounds our world presents to us. Traveling allows you to break from your comfort zone and become adventurous. Get excited and live your life!
2. Travel is in your blood
I’ve always dreamed about traveling since I was little. I wanted to see the world through my eyes, despite any danger that was on the road ahead. For example, I was in Zagreb and Ljubljana during the break-up and civil war in the former Yugoslavia. I’m simply an avid traveler, and I can’t get enough of it. After one adventure, I’m already planning the next and have visited most of the cities on a very long bucket list.
I met my wife in 2010, and together we have accomplished so much that it’s hard to put into words the real pleasure we feel when traveling. Our two little ones have been coming along with us since they were born, and they’re becoming true travelers with us.
3. The desire to connect
The beneficial part of traveling is to encounter different people and cultures. Even if you travel within the States, you experience this. If you go overseas, what you expose yourself to is extraordinary—meet and interact with the locals to experience their land through their eyes, not as a tourist. Let a Parisian guide you to the hidden gems of the city; enjoy a meal with a group of loud Italians in Rome; learn the cultural nuances in Osaka. These are lessons you’ll value forever, and maybe you’ll make new friends along the way.
Traveling with our kids is also a conversation point everywhere we go, and they’ve experienced love and attention by so many people. Even flight attendants have entertained our little ones while on a long-haul flight.
4. Become more aware of our world
Our world becomes smaller when you travel it, and you discover that you can lend a helping hand along the way. Volunteering is a pro-active approach to get involved, provide support and encouragement when and where it’s needed. You can teach your native language to kids in Asia, help build a schoolhouse in Africa, or assist in creating sustainable farming in Central America—the opportunities are boundless. Your reward is the smile you see on locals’ faces and the sensation you feel of being appreciated.
5. Learn a foreign language
How many people know the basics of foreign language but can’t use it properly? Traveling helps you to practice it with the native speakers whose land you’re visiting. Moreover, locals love it when you try to speak their language. It also makes you feel good by breaking the language barrier and interacting with people, demonstrating that you respect their country and culture.
6. Break your habits physically, mentally, and emotionally
We’re always bound by our habits of everyday life. What a great way to break them by throwing yourself into the unknown where you have to face challenges mentally, physically, and emotionally. What if you want to get lost in a country where you don’t speak the language, or don’t know how to get out of tricky situations? Simply accepting the test will help you get through it. There’s nothing you cannot do when you’re in a situation that draws on your own strengths.
7. Get to know yourself better
You always think you know yourself better than anyone else, but you’re wrong for the most part. When you travel for a long time, you learn so much that you’re sometimes amazed by the things you didn’t know you could do. You many discover that you can bargain easily in a bazaar, read a map correctly, or make yourself understood with a few phrases and hand gestures. You’ll end up creating a set of skills you never knew you had before. This enriches you in a way that will make you proud of yourself.
8. Become a savvy traveler
- When someone recommends not to go to a particular area, then heed the warning. Though you may feel invincible, your curiosity could lead to a few broken bones, a stolen wallet, a lost passport, or worse.
- When in Rome, do as the Romans. Don’t let yourself stand out as a clueless tourist—blend in with the locals and keep your wits about you as well. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Experience fully what you can experience by being friendly. Don’t be afraid to give locals a smile and welcome them to your world. You never know who’ll you meet.
- Don’t go to the familiar restaurants you have in your home country. Sample the local food and enjoy being among the locals when you do.
Now it’s time to take the leap of faith and discover the small blue planet we call home.