Hi again, friends! I hope you had a loving and restful holiday season, at the end of a turbulent year–to say the least!
So as we look forward to a fresh start in 2021, let’s take a moment to ask ourselves, why do people travel, anyway? What is it about visiting new places that makes the stress of missed flights, lost baggage, and language barriers all worth it?
Whether you’ve been out seeing the world or are waiting to get out of quarantine, let’s appreciate all the reasons we can’t live without traveling–and get excited to do more of it in the future!
Exploring Beautiful Places
This is likely the most obvious benefit of travel, but it’s definitely worth a mention: seeing the sights!
Sure, you can read all about the Northern Lights in Iceland or Yellowstone’s incredible geysers, but it’ll never compare to checking these landscapes out for yourself. (Of course, if you’re not able to go see them right away–you can always go through my travel blog to feed that wanderlust!)
There’s an incredible feeling that you get when you’re standing in front of something you’ve only ever seen in pictures like you dove right into a page out of National Geographic. It’s how I felt when I admired the Colosseum in Rome, for example, as though I was right there with the gladiators!
I can’t wait for all of you to experience that feeling at least once in your future. Something to look forward to!
There’s no better way to explore life outside of your comfort zone than by navigating different cultures in an unfamiliar place.
If you’re the kind of person who would get stressed making a phone call, a couple days alone in a city with a new language will clear that up pretty fast! Once you’ve spent some time exploring, working your way through a bit of culture shock, and getting directions through a language barrier, the difficulties of daily life won’t seem so scary.
I always think about the lowest points of my travels, like when I got lost in the Charles de Gaulle Airport on my way to Rome. I was terrified! My next flight took off without me, so I had to reschedule my arrival, let my airbnb hosts know, and work out Roman public transport at night.
As horrible as that was, I made it through, and now I have the know-how to work my way out of a bad situation. So nowadays, I’m no longer phased by a bit of customer service stress!
If you’ve had some similar character-building travel nightmares, leave them in the comments below!
You’re not only witnessing a different world while you travel; you’re also absorbing its history and culture. The Earth is your textbook!
After only 7 days in Ireland, I learned about the history of Dublin on a walking tour, visited a historic cathedral and monastic city, and even explored a 19th-century jail. Everything I saw and heard on that trip is going to stick in my head much longer than if I’d read about it in an article.
With every museum, heritage site, statue, and new destination that you reach, you’re getting first-hand knowledge of its purpose in the world–both past and present. And you get to play a part in it!
Making New Friends in Every Time Zone
Travelers make new friends faster than anybody else, second only to preschoolers on a playground. Something about exploring new cultures outside of your daily routine opens you up to make immediate connections!
When you’re far from your loved ones at home, you end up reaching out to meet new people, which leads to valuable relationships. Getting into a heated debate in broken English at a bar, comparing different countries’ political systems, or even doing a bit of flirting with an Italian cutie–all of this will fill your life with new and interesting people who may become your new best friends!
It’s easier to stay in touch than ever, thanks to social media, and the best part of it is that you’ll end up having a free place to stay all over the world!
Tasting New Cuisine
You know that local Thai food joint that has the absolute best takeout in your hometown? Well, how about trying that food from its source, straight from Bangkok!
Trying new food is certainly the most delicious way to jump into world travel, so much so that it even has its own category : culinary tourism!
In France, it’s a tradition to get together and share a pre-dinner apéro with friends and family. In Japan, it’s traditional to slurp your noodles, both to better appreciate their flavor and show you’re enjoying the food. In both situations, taking part in these meals is not only tasty but also clues you in on important local customs.
So dig in!
It’s Completely Customizable
One of the main benefits of travel is that you can take it at your own pace. Can’t make it overseas for a luxurious international getaway? Not a problem! Look around for hotels and Airbnb’s close to home, or set yourself up for a staycation to shake yourself out of your daily routine.
Not everybody has the budget for a week in New York, the time to go scuba diving, or the fortitude for zip-lining across a rainforest. That’s completely normal.
What’s important is shaking yourself out of a rut and letting your mind wander, even if your body can’t. Check out a museum you’ve never taken the time to visit near home or go stay with some relatives a couple of hours away.
Travel is what you make of it!
I hope this article gave you some much-needed motivation to start planning your next adventure (I know I am!). If you’re looking for inspiration, how about a trip to New Orleans, or a chilly stay in Alaska?
Wherever you are, I wish you all the best for this upcoming year, and happy traveling!