There are many reasons to travel the world at any stage of your life. Some of us travel for work, some to get away from the mundanity of our daily lives and some of us travel just for the shopping.
But whatever reason you choose to travel, the benefits of traveling are not just a one-time thing; traveling can change you in many ways.
To experience “transformational” travel while you are young is an education in itself. It is probably the most real education you will have outside of a classroom. Need more reasons?
1. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
You enjoy being at home with your parents and being with people you are familiar with. You know your neighborhood and the surrounding areas really well. Your daily routine brings you comfort, and breaking out of this mold can be scary and uncomfortable.
Traveling is not easy. It can be stressful when you miss a flight or your luggage goes missing.
Or what about being in a foreign country and the taxi driver dropping you off at the wrong place?
These are all the perils of traveling. But traveling forces you out of your comfort zone, and this is a good thing.
Being in a new place with different people who hold different values and have different lifestyles takes all that familiarity away. But this is good.
It enables you to tap into thought processes you might never have known you had by just sitting on the couch and watching Netflix.
Embrace the discomfort that comes with traveling; it is helping you grow.
2. It Builds Confidence
It’s scary to be in a foreign place and suddenly need to figure out how to get from A to B or even analyze a new train schedule.
Even walking into a grocery store or marketplace while traveling and trying to ask someone for simple things is a confidence boost!
But as you conquer these hurdles, it will build your confidence and your ability to adapt to change.
Once you return home, you won’t feel as intimidated when you find yourself in a difficult situation.
If you could do it in a foreign country in a different language, you can do these things when you return home, and they will no longer feel like obstacles but rather welcoming challenges.
3. Developing Cultural Sensitivity
If you spend hours watching travel vlogs on YouTube, they will certainly help introduce you to a new culture. But it’s not enough to momentarily see that in X country, they do Z.
Living in a global world means we need to be more culturally sensitive to people, and this can only happen when you immerse yourself in a new culture and appreciate how different we all are.
While new cultures are fascinating, being exposed to another culture can help you understand the intricacies of global politics better.
Learning about new cultures can shift your perspective, which will help you communicate better on a professional and personal level.
4. The Key to Learning Any Language
My sister struggled for two years to learn the Arabic dialect her Egyptian husband speaks.
It wasn’t enough that she only heard him speak it, and it was hard to pick it up as it was not the same as Fusha (classical) Arabic, which she had learned.
It was only when she traveled to Egypt and lived in his village for three months that she became proficient in his language, which means that her children are now bilingual.
The best way to learn any language and pick up on its nuances is to travel to a country that speaks it. In this way, you are forced to face the challenge of practicing the language on a daily basis.
5. It Fosters Responsibility
I am one of those paranoid travelers, constantly checking if I have my passport, wallet, tickets, and cellphone on me.
Traveling when you are young helps you become more responsible with your belongings.
You quickly learn to manage your time and your belongings because you have no other choice.
You know that you need three hours to take the sunset cruise and that you need to be back in time; otherwise, you might just miss the bus back to your hotel.
This makes you aware that you need to fend for yourself and stand on your own two feet.
6. You Learn to Get by With Less
When traveling on a budget, we need to plan our meals carefully. We need to eat as much as we can at the hotel’s breakfast buffet so that perhaps we will only need to spend money on one other meal for the day.
Alternately, if the hotel doesn’t have a buffet, we need to find a restaurant that will be able to cater to our daily requirements. We learn the true value of every dollar in our pocket.
There will be some days when we won’t always have the opportunity to wear freshly laundered clothes because the hotel or accommodation you’re staying at doesn’t have that facility.
So you make do with what you have by recycling your clothes or washing them in the bathroom sink.
Traveling teaches you to get by with the bare necessities. Everything else is just extra baggage you don’t need.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” -Mark Twain
Whenever there is an opportunity to travel, grab it with both hands. The benefits often outweigh the discomfort of traveling. And you will learn to appreciate everything that you do have in your life.
The money you spend on travel is an investment in yourself. And there is no better investment than yourself.