As Mark Twain wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Many other things are also acquired by escaping your little corner of the earth. Whether you take 2 months or 2 years, whether you go to ten countries or just one, you can walk away having had any and all of the following:
CHALLENGES & ACCOMPLISHMENT: Challenge yourself. Overcome your fear of heights on a tree top walk in Laos. Push your physical fitness hiking through the Grand Canyon. Challenge your own insecurities by taking charge of your life and putting yourself in situations you might be unsure of. Feel the accomplishment of doing something you didn't think you could do. Travelling regularly offers you challenges of all sorts and it's therefore difficult to return from travels without a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. We are put in environments we are not familiar with, and we surprise ourselves with our abilities to overcome the challenges these environments provide for us.
ADVENTURE & FUN: Adventure can be adrenaline-filled activities like white water rafting, bungee jumping, sky diving or scuba diving but it can also be wandering the streets of an unknown city and getting yourself lost only to find your way back to your hostel or just the experience of a squatter toilet or trying to communicate with only a few words of a foreign language. As we know from most kids movies, adventures might have moments of uncertainty but generally finish with a smile on your face and a great story that gets told over and over again.
ESCAPE & RELAXATION: Sometimes we just want to find a beach and do some yoga or read a book to escape from our day-to-day lives. Watching the sun set with a local beer in hand over a foreign landscape or waking up to birdsong in a jungle, knowing we are far away from the responsibility and demands that we face daily can give us an incredible sense of calm and rejuvenation. Some find a walk through the rainforest or a scuba dive into the silent depths to be a natural de-stressor. Whatever does it for you, feel the tension fall from your muscles, and embrace the escape from your problems or responsibilities at home.
EDUCATION & CULTURE: On the road we are in a constant state of learning, whether it's a skill or language, a history lesson, or learning about human nature by learning about others and through all of this, learning about ourselves. By overcoming the challenges presented by travelling, we learn a lot about ourselves and what we're capable of. Beyond that, travelling is another form of post-secondary education, where we set the curriculum. On the road, you can't help but learn about the local cultures and people, their history, their art, their food, and their traditions. We are thrown into these things and it gives us a comparison to our own lives and therefore a perspective we can't find in any other way. Through learning about others, we learn about ourselves. We form ideas and opinions about the politics of the world and the strife or success of others. Travelling also offers us incredible opportunities to learn new skills, through experiences like cooking classes, or simply to learn and use a new language, even if we only learn enough to get around.
FRIENDSHIPS & CONNECTION: We may head out on a journey intending to visit friends and family abroad. Whether that's our intention or not, we inevitably return from travels having made some new friends. You are constantly meeting people on the road. On tours, in hostels, and in pubs, you discover that you need that human connection and so you end up reaching out to others. And for some reason, when we're travelling, we often seem to be more open to human connection. Whether it's the things we see or whether it's the loneliness that can accompany travelling on our own if we don't reach out, it's incredible how the sound of a voice speaking in your native tongue in a country where few speak it, is enough reason to befriend them. Some who really embed themselves in the culture of a place will get chatting with a local to learn about the area and the hidden gems to see or do or to hear their stories of hardship or victory. Some of the people we meet with be a fleeting whisper in our lives, while others will remain friends forever, bonded by the shared experiences of travelling.
GIVE & TAKE: While for most, travelling involves taking time off work, for some it involves working. Many go abroad to volunteer. They try to do their part to help areas of the world less fortunate or just to give back to the communities. Whether you help build a school in Africa, teach monks English in Laos or work with elephants in Thailand, you're getting the full experience of embracing a new culture and lifestyle, while giving something back to the locals. Some fortunate people even go abroad for paid work. Whether you do a ski season in Canada or your company sends you to London or Singapore for a year or whether you teach English in Japan or China, these types of travels allow you to truly embed yourself in the local way of life by actually living it. The only risk that may accompany this is that you will never have just one home.
EXPERIENCE & LIFE MEMORIES: Maybe you simply want to say you've had a drink in pubs on each of the continents or to become a true foodie by eating your way around the world, experiencing different tastes and lifestyles first hand. All of the above create experiences and memories. People sometimes harp on about what you will remember when you look back on your life and they're right when they say it won't be the cars or the clothes but the experiences you have. Any traveller knows the nostalgia that sets in when your eye catches a photo from an old trip – the flood of memories and stories, the smells, the scary parts and the fun parts. They'll also know the experience of meeting someone who's either travelled to or is from somewhere you've been and that instant connection and conversation that results.
JUST BECAUSE: Some people get stuck in a rut or get lost for what to do with themselves. Some hate their jobs and want to quit and find a new career, some have just finalised a horrible divorce or retired, others have just finished school and don't know what they want to do at Uni. Some people are thinking of having kids and want one last gasp of freedom. Whether it's for personal reflection and healing, to explore who you are and what you want, or just simply a transition between life events, there's no better time to go travelling than now! Even if you don't have a reason – the benefits of travelling are reason enough. Contact one of our agents today to get your journey started.