Travel makes you a better person and has numerous benefits that cannot be found by staying at home. From expanding your horizons to exposing you to different cultures, the effects of your travels last for a lifetime. Make a change for the better by ‘investing’ in travel for yourself.
First and foremost, travel changes your life by improving your overall health and well-being. One study found that people who travel regularly are at less of a risk of heart disease, citing that men who didn’t take an annual vacation were shown to have a 30% higher risk of death from heart disease.
According to neuroscientists, when we travel, we rewire our brains. This is because new experiences are the key to building new neural pathways in the brain. By rewiring your brain, you become more creative and accepting of new ideas. This is why travel makes you happy.
When you travel, you grow by observing and understanding how people live. By visiting new places, you learn about new cultures, traditions and languages that develop your mental as well as social skills. Travelling opens up the mind, and you become less reluctant in the face of change and uncertainty.
1. Travel teaches you the value of making friends
When you’re away from home and all the creature comforts it brings, there comes a point where you understand the real value of community. It’s all well and good to stick to your closed-in circles at home, but when you are travelling it becomes swiftly apparent that building a global network of friends is the key to a happier and easier life.
Having traveled the world, you will have made friends along the way. Friendships all over the globe. For future travel you will have people to see, places to stay and your friends will have local knowledge to show you around. Exploring like a local is always the best way to explore. Your new friendships open up your eyes to a world outside of your own, allowing you to gain a new perspective on life.
Because travel experiences tend by definition to be ephemeral, there’s a greater sense of urgency and willingness to get to know the people you meet on the road in a deeper, more honest way. When you know your German language course only lasts three months, or that you’re in Slovenia just for the weekend, it becomes easier to approach potential friendships and connections with more curiosity, open-mindedness, and vulnerability than you would with people you encounter in your normal routine at home.
2. Travel is your crash course to geography and orientation
Have you always struggled with which way is up, down, left, right, east or west? Can’t figure out which direction the sun will set? Or which was exactly you came from? Well, all of that will change when you start travelling.
There really is no better way to be thrown in the deep end then to get half way down a street, stop, spin around 3 times, and realize you have no idea where you are going. When you’re on your own with no context for where you are, you will learn how to find your way.
Without even knowing it, travel fills you with stories and rich experiences and in return turns you into an amazing storyteller. The more you travel and discover, the more stories you gather. Before you know it, travel will have turned you into one of the most fascinating storytellers. You will be the person who can always add to conversations from your vast experiences. Everybody loves a storyteller.
3. Travel teaches you patience
Routine is built for the soul purpose of creating efficiencies in your life. When you travel, you are out of routine. You are so far from it that you teach yourself how to operate dynamically, on-the-fly, and without preparation. When you travel, not only does shit happen, but generally, things more often than not will not work out the way you hoped or planned.
Waiting in queues, getting things wrong because you don’t understand the language, chasing dreams that looked so much closer in the photos. These things teach you to stick it out, take life a little less seriously, and stop and smell the roses.
You have guessed it! Life isn’t perfect. Slow buses, delays, missed flights and even wrong directions! While traveling you soon learn that life happens and you can’t change it. You just have to go with the flow. You are a pro at this stage of adapting plans and not to let ever-changing situations get to you. Life can throw you curve balls and you learn that all you need to do is to hit them out of the park.
It’s impossible not to learn about yourself when you travel. When you’re faced with annoying difficulties, unforeseen obstacles, and unprecedented beauty, all your habits and preferences and insecurities and idiosyncrasies bubble to the surface.
Waiting for a delayed flight will quickly reveal to you your patience — or lack thereof. Backpacking through Central America with your best friend will teach you which qualities you appreciate in another person and which you can’t stand after 72 hours of nonstop “bonding.” What you choose to spend your money on will help you understand what you value. And once you see these things about yourself, what comes next?
4. Travel teaches you how to be frugal
Have you ever looked at your bank statement and realized that you spend a lot of money? That night out every Friday with your friends, the monthly phone bill, the gym membership, the fuel for your car, the taxi fares, the health insurance, the presents, the entertainment, the dinners out with friends — it all adds up. It’s really easy to put it all on a credit card or direct debit it from your account. This way, you never actually see or count the notes in your wallet flying out.
When you travel, you must become the ultimate budgeter. You have set yourself a budget; you have a daily allowance for food, accommodation, and fun, and you must stick to it. The last thing you want to do is run out of money on the other side of the world. You appreciate every cent, you bargain with everyone, you get value for money, and you earn it when you make it.
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.
5. Travel teaches you to ask for help
When you’re on the other side of the world, mom and dad can’t help you much. Neither can your best friend or sibling (unless they are with you). But, travel teaches you that you are never truly alone. It’s vey rare in this world that a stranger wont help you if you need it. Especially when it comes to directions or translation. No matter how great our technology gets, there will be times that those travel apps just aren’t helping. People are wired to help each other. That’s what community is all about.
6. Travel teaches you that you are a tiny, tiny fish in a massive ocean.
Travel changes your perspective on every factor of your life. Remember how your parents used to tell you how important you are, how you could be anything? Well, you are important, and you can be anything.
But there are also seven billion other people out there who are just as important with just as much of a right to be who they want to be as well. Travel teaches you that you that the world owes you nothing. This life is yours, make of it what you will. Because at the end of the day, the only person who cares as much about your life as you is you.
7. Travel broadens your horizons
Don’t you think the most interesting people in the world are the ones who can relate to any topic and offer an interesting anecdote about that topic from their own experiences? When you travel, you learn and begin to gain an understanding of so many more global topics than you would if you simply read them in a newspaper or Facebook feed.
You also meet many more people. Your network of friends and acquaintances swells in numbers, and so the amount of people you can bounce ideas off of, and have meaningful conversations with increases too. The more you travel, the more sides to the story you hear.
During your travel, you come across different kinds of people. Not just the destination, but also during your travel. Just take a glimpse at how different each human is. This of course, changes your perspective of how wonderfully weird life feels. It broadens your perspective of looking at people, and the way you treat them. You learn to be much more gentle and calm and understand the situations better in making your life decisions. If not, you have got to travel to the rural areas and understand the various problems and conditions people live in and are yet content.
While travelling, your experiences can change your perception of the world. You will experience new places and various cultures and learn we really aren’t that different at all. You will be able to learn from experience and that will broaden your horizons and the way you look at the world around us.
8. Travel teaches you acceptance and tolerance
Before you start travelling, its easy to get into a comfortable little corner where the world revolves around what you believe, and what you believe is shaped by what you hear on your local news channel or what your parents taught you.
When you travel, you see people for who they really are. You experience different cultural norms and nuances, and you gain an appreciation for what other cultures value most. This is generally different to what you value most, and that’s ok. You’re both right.
Travel catapults you from your cushy net of familiarity into a vast planet of possibility. Observing how people live in Norway vs. Kenya vs. New Zealand shows you, above all, that there’s no one “right” way to do anything. Like the old adage says, there are as many ways to live as there are people in the world.
When you travel, you gradually learn that every lifestyle has its own merits and challenges. And you learn you don’t have to accept the way you grew up as the only way to live — you can embrace new attitudes and combine different values to create your own unique style of moving through the world.
When you travel to new places and meet people from other cultures with a different religion and background than yourself, you will also learn that ‘different’ is not synonymous with ‘dangerous’. On the contrary! Travelling will make you more tolerant and increase your understanding of cultural differences, which in turn will make you more relaxed and happier.
9. Travel matures your palate
Oh, the amount of food I have learned to love because there really wasn’t much else being offered in that small town in that country no one has been. Your palate is something that doesn’t generally mature just because you get older. You need to keep exposing it to new things for it to start liking new things.
A big part of this is actually all in your head. Just because your western culture has told you it’s not cool to eat fried crickets, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily not cool to eat fried crickets. You see, a lot of people around the world think that about our beef eating habits too.
Get out there, try it all. Some of it is horrifically bad, but most of it is good. Why? Well, because most people don’t cook things they don’t like, right?
10. Travel teaches you that there is no place like home
It is all well and good to tread the path less trodden, to fly by the seat of your pants, and go with the wind, and to take thousands of photos of it all. But to be honest, one of the biggest things I keep having re-affirmed to myself as I continue to experience and appreciate new cultures is home is actually the best place on earth.
Where you are from may not be the most populous or have the most entertainment events or cultural festivals, it still has the most important things: friends and family. The luckiest bit is, they’ll always be there when you need them. At least that is what the saying sounds like, although I’m not entirely sure if I agree. Either way, there is a certain truth to it, as you appreciate what you have, when you have been away. Seeing friends and family again after traveling brings joy to most people!
11. Travel teaches you that we are all the same
Its so easy to feel like that kid in Kenya is some alien from a different planet with no relatable feelings or dreams, or that girl in Argentina or Finland. Or maybe, when you think of Nairobi, all you can picture is lions and Africans in shacks, or kangaroos jumping down the streets of Perth, Australia. TV creates these distorted realities in our heads because it exploits our imaginations to make more money.
The reality is, all major cities are really quite similar. Most have skyscrapers and traffic lights, nightclubs and restaurants, city parks, and Apple stores. That boy in Kenya is just as smart as you and he’s working just as hard as you to get into law school. He can be lazy and temperamental like you, and has so many other dreams of travelling and working abroad. Just because he comes from a different or less publicized/developed nation, doesn’t mean he is any less capable or driven than you.
12. Travel creates unforgettable memories
The bottom line is, when you travel, whether you love it or not, you are creating a path that is different and memorable. You push yourself to new limits and out of your comfort zone, and most of all, you break that routine your brain so intelligently teaches itself to blur out in your memory. Travelling is full of so many postcard moments because they are all unique; they are yours and no one else’s.
Though you’re travelling and on a holiday vibe, you tend to become more responsible and learn new skills without even trying. Trying out the new local art, or learning that new language just for the sake of conversation, or a simple new street food that reminds you of your holiday. Can add up to a lot of things, and make you a much more creative person than you thought of. Even simple things like taking care of your own belongings and gadgets, careful enough to be polite to strangers at new destinations. You will find things you never knew you were good at.
Most of the time life is so uncertain that we tend to forget our passion for learning a new language, or the new art form. Travelling makes you wonder about the beautiful things that we miss out because of the hectic corporate lifestyle. When you travel, you come across so many new things and that ignites the passion and creates enthusiasm to learn new things and be active.
Travelling makes you richer amongst your group. You realize that deep down the entire human race is connected no matter which part of the world you are from. The experience that adds to the value of life is immense. You will come away from your travels with a new, fresh attitude. You will learn you can do it… you can dream big and reach your goals. You will be ready to reach for new challenges.
Travel enhances your mental well-being. Whether you are travelling for business, or on a one-week family holiday, or have to pursue a life on the road, travelling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, providing new experiences and memories.