Let me start by saying that I have not seen every wonder of the world, every mountain peak, every set of winding hills and valleys or every beautiful and picturesque landscape that this world has to offer.
But I have seen quite a few during my time spent traveling the world and immersing myself in the culture and community surrounding some of Earth’s most beautiful scenes.
Sometimes people tell me that they don’t have the time to travel or the financial means to see the world. Other times, those same people will admit, perhaps through some prodding, that they simply aren’t interested. They are content with staying put, seeing what they’ve already seen
Sometimes you aren’t fully able to appreciate travel until you’ve done it. When you’re seeing countries and cities and landscapes and biomes that you’ve never seen before, that is when we know we are most alive.
Traveling, both nationally and internationally is a privilege that not everyone in the world is able to take full advantage of. When we as human beings are given the ability–or the opportunity–to travel we need to exercise this and use it to our advantage.
Yes, traveling is fun. It’s exciting seeing new places and expanding your horizons, both literal and metaphorical. But the benefits of travel extend far beyond simple fun and excitement.
Traveling can be first and foremost a learning experience, a primary reason that so many college students in the United States decide to travel abroad for a semester. Simply allowing yourself to experience new areas and new cultures first hand is a growing experience for most. And it’s certainly one that isn’t limited to college students.
At any age, visiting a new country, or even a new city within your own country can serve as a learning experience. No two areas will approach any certain situation in exactly the same way. They may have different philosophies on life and different views on problem solving or what constitutes a problem to begin with. And you’ll never fully understand these new ways of thinking without experiencing them for yourself.
One of the most raw and real experiences you can have outside of your own comfort zone, be it across an ocean or just across your continent, is new and foreign cultures. If you’re someone who grew up and lived in one area your entire life, visiting a new country could shock you (“culture shock,” as you’ve heard) and challenge your beliefs. As is stated above, different cultures do things differently, everything from eating dinner to practicing religion. Immersing yourself inside of a culture can be an awe-inspiring experience that those who do not travel may not experience.
Getting to know yourself
One of the more interesting and all-encompassing benefits to travel is getting to know not just lessons from other cultures, but yourself. By gaining a wider cultural understanding of the world, you’ll also gain a better and deeper understanding of who you are relative to others. Having your views on the world challenged can be a new experience that could wind up impacting your life forever. Some people return from traveling a new and better person, as travel can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a human being. From there, the sky’s the limit.