I remember the first time I packed my bags and headed to Costa Rica to study for a semester when I was a Freshman in university. My thoughts kept switching from, “What the heck am I doing?” to “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m doing this!” It was a country I barely knew the language of, and where I didn’t know anybody. The airport was congested with rushing travelers and I barely got through security in time to catch my flight. The plane took off, and I said a final goodbye to the only place I’ve ever called home to venture into the unknown.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Since then I’ve been hooked on traveling, and my life has never been the same. So go ahead and learn the fact, why you must start travelling more often?
Here are the 12 ways travel makes your life better.
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When you travel you are faced with the inevitable possibility than your luggage can be irrevocably lost, or you might leave something somewhere, never to be seen again. This can be frustrating, even distressing, but once you learn how to let it go, you’ll feel that much lighter.
- You learn to value experiences over things.
- You learn how to pack lighter, so you can go to more places at will instead of lugging your suitcases everywhere.
- You learn to collect memories of your experiences like treasures, priceless in how they shaped you and how you look at the world.
When it comes to travel, there will be times when things don’t go according to plan. Your flight could be delayed, the weather might not be what you expected and you could get lost on your way to a destination. You quickly come to realize that, even though the day might not go as you’ve expected, you can still have an unexpected adventure if you strive for it. You learn to embrace the out of control aspects of life, and go with the flow of it all.
There comes a time in every traveler’s life that you must think on your feet. Fast. You look at your surroundings and evaluate the best course of action. Doing it in a setting that you’re unfamiliar with is very different from problem solving in an accustomed environment.
Whether it’s overcoming the language barrier in crises, or having your GPS stop working in the middle of nowhere with no one around to help, travel keeps you ready for any eventuality.
People and places inevitably change, and when you come back from your travels, you might notice something about your home town that you didn’t notice before. You look at your surroundings with a new perspective and you’re more aware of your culture. It may depend on where you’ve traveled, how long you’ve been away, and the experiences you’ve had, but seeing your world differently than how you’ve seen it previously can be an eye opening and liberating experience.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that change is the only constant in life, it often happens so slowly you don’t catch it, but when you do, it wakes you up, and prompts you to cherish the present moment more. TS Eliot put it nicely in the Four Quartets, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Before going to a new place, the only real information you have on it is second-hand, whether it be from the news, movies, conversations with other people who have gone there, or other sources. By traveling and experiencing the culture and environment first-hand, not only will your words have more weight in discussions, but you can form a unique opinion on it. A word of advice though: Choose your words wisely. The opinions you state can be absorbed by others who have never gone to the places you have.
Getting out of your comfort zone can be, well, uncomfortable, but that’s why it’s worth it. Every time you get out of your comfort zone, you do things you normally wouldn’t do and expand your horizons on the things that are possible, opening yourself up to new opportunities.
A lot of people want to travel, but sometimes they need that extra push to take to first step. If you travel before some of your friends, you could be an inspiration to those who want to do the same. Of course, different people have different responsibilities and reasons why they won’t and can’t travel, but for those who can, who just need a little bit of inspiration, you can be that source for them. The stories you retell can give some perspective, adding new pros and cons they could consider.
Be it, studying a new language, or learning how to cook a local dish, there’s always something new to pick up when traveling. Unexpected lessons can be around every corner, if you leave your mind open to the possibilities, and you’re not afraid to ask questions, you can pick up many skills and acquire new knowledge from the places you visit.
Research shows that taking a step back and putting distance between you and your problems can help you come up with solutions faster. Psychologist Lile Jia split Indiana University students into two groups and gave them the same problem to solve, to name as many forms of transportation as possible.
There was only one difference: One group was told the question was created by students studying in Greece, the other was told it was from a group studying in Indiana. The creativity of the former group was significantly more apparent than the latter. Jia concluded that, “Creative generation profits from greater spatial distance.”
When problems are in closer proximity, our brains try to find an answer in the most efficient, logical manner possible. This often compromises creativity, limiting the alternative and more out-of-the-box solutions we can come up with. Putting distance between yourself and your problems can psychologically take pressure off, enabling you to turn your problem inside out and look at things from a different point of view. The catch is that, while some folks travel to get away from their problems, you must take time to puzzle over your life’s riddles that you just can’t seem to crack.
Before I started traveling, I used to hate going out alone. It was lonely, daunting and made me self-conscious. Now, I go solo to restaurants and chat with the servers, I’m not afraid to get on a bus and go to a distant city by myself in a foreign country, and I don’t let the absence of company stop me from having a good time. And although traveling is more fun with other people, I still have a good time even if I go by myself. If you want to do something, to try a new food or go to a new place, you learn to do it, with or without someone accompanying you.
Whether it’s gallo pinto in Costa Rica or ćevapi in Bosnia and Herzegovina, every culture has their own unique cuisine. Even McDonalds is different depending on the country. As you travel, you’ll expand your pallet, and try new dishes you’ve never experienced before.
As hectic as traveling can get, there will be down time for introspection and being immersed in another culture can allow you to see your life from another angle. Travel shakes up your everyday life, sometimes making you question what you do and why you do it when seeing other cultures where they do things differently.
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