There are many reasons you should travel more.
Below you will find a comprehensive list of reasons.
Expand Your Tastes
When you travel to other regions of the country or world, you try foods you wouldn’t normally try. We naturally eat the same foods again and again.
Those foods don’t taste as good over time because we adjust to them. A key to breaking out of this cycle is to try new foods.
The expanded diet opens our taste buds like nothing our normal diet can do. We may find foods we like less or others we like better.
Whatever the case, our bodies are built in such a way that newer tastes have a greater impact than older ones.
It is possible to prepare these foods ourselves from recipes.
However, tasting ethnic food from their home country or city is no comparison to what we can try in our own kitchen. In addition, the atmosphere around the food we eat will impact how these foods taste.
Better Connect to References in Movies, Books, and Conversations
The media refer to locations like Paris, London, Cairo, or Los Angeles. Having visited these different locations means you are better able to appreciate the comments people make about them.
The same goes for conversations. When people discuss a place they have been to or want to travel to, having traveled there creates a connection point.
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye
Although a cliché, discovering yourself has been a classic answer to why a person postpones college and backpacks across Europe for a year instead. It is stated like:
“I want to travel around the world after high school to find myself or discover who I am.”
Although I wouldn’t recommend giving up your education for travel, I can agree that traveling helps us figure out who we are. This is amplified when exposing ourselves to people and cultures that differ greatly from our own.
We reflect more upon life when exposed to the unfamiliar which can be both positive and negative events that push us to think. It is in the familiar and the routine that we quit asking questions and just do.
Help Your Children to Develop
Traveling is different for children. They are still in their formative years. That means that the sights, sounds, and experiences they are exposed to through travel will shape who they become.
Unlike reading about history, they will:
- Experience history firsthand when visiting ancient ruins.
- Understand that people are different around the world.
- Appreciate the things they have at home and see how people live in different places.
- Retain the idea of traveling for later in life.
If they grow up traveling, children will most likely continue to do so when they become adults. This assumes their travel experiences are positive ones. That is a point I will touch on later in this book.
I remember during our trip to the ruins of Knossos on Crete that one of my sons found the ruins less than interesting.
We were in the first of the ancient world labyrinths where the word “labyrinth” itself originates. It was the place where the legendary story of the Minotaur took place.
Since my son was most interested in reading about Donald Duck, we didn’t force him to enjoy the site but rather gave him choices.
Years later when he read mythology, he was excited to head to Athens alone with me on a trip to see the sites and everything was much more exciting. He also remembered his visit to the temple of Jupiter in Split, Croatia when it was mentioned in one of his books.
All children experience periods where the trips may be more or less interesting.
However, by creating an environment where we travel and visit different sites, we open the possibility of children’s enjoying the sites without being forced.
New Stories to Tell
At parties and social events, do you sometimes find that you have nothing to discuss?
Perhaps your life is a monotonous series of repetitive actions. Traveling gives you stories and experiences to share.
It is difficult to take a trip to a foreign or new place without returning with stories from the trip. This transforms you into a more interesting person.
Interesting people do interesting things and tell others about their experiences. It is difficult to be interesting if you never push your limits or experience new things.
Better Appreciation for What You Have
“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson
When you travel you experience very different environments. Some of them may be worse than what you are used to at home. This contrast teaches you to appreciate what you have.
I felt this most when going on a cultural excursion in Turkey. We visited the house of a farmer who had almond trees in her yard.
The temperature was 113F (45C) and we were drenched in sweat. We entered her house and sat down on her couch.
The side wall had a huge hole covered with transparent plastic. The lady who owned the house came around and gave us warm cola and sold jewelry to us.
I grew up in Florida in a world with air conditioning. It’s amazing to see the contrast between what I was accustomed to and how people live in other parts of the world.
The woman was very hospitable and seemed happy. If I hadn’t gone on this trip, I might never have experienced the contrast.
My point isn’t to say one is better than the other. Rather, people have different lives in different locations and you never know how much you appreciate air conditioning until you don’t have it.
At the same time, people who have never had air conditioning teach you that you don’t require it to be happy.
Change Yourself as a Person
“Nobody comes back from a journey the way they started it.” – Unknown
You are not the things you own, even though they shape you. It is through experiences that we become who we are. As children, the world was new to us and new experiences were everywhere to be found.
As we moved into adulthood, we stopped experiencing new things and thus we froze who we were as people. Traveling breaks one out of this rut and allows one to continue to evolve as a person.
Increased Ability to Work in a Global Environment
A person who travels is exposed to people very different from himself. Travelers adapt to that environment and add this skill to the set of skills they bring to the table.
The world grows smaller with the increased scope of the Internet and the global market. In your work life, it is important that you adapt to this environment.
When you travel, you are building the skills you will need when adapting to this global environment. It is harder to learn this skill under the pressure of making a sale or finding new suppliers.
It is better to learn it when traveling and expanding your skills through sightseeing and eating out in a foreign country.
You Won’t Get Any Younger
Putting off traveling can be a risky decision. Many negative things can happen in life that can make traveling more difficult. These may include your financial situation, your relationships, or your health.
As you get older, the health and lack of energy can pose a challenge to traveling. However, even if you are older, that is no excuse for not traveling.
Rather, you should see what resources you have now and decide that now is the best time to travel. You are the youngest you will be from this point onward.
Instead of delaying until some future point in time, you ought to consider changing your priorities.
The World Is Better Off With Travelers
This is a point that is often overlooked. Traveling isn’t just about you. It is about the future you. Traveling changes who you are as a person and changes the way you see the world.
The world would be a better place if everyone was traveling and meeting people from different backgrounds. I am amazed when traveling at how positive everyone is. There may be exceptions to the rule.
Traveling gives you a much more positive view of the world, a better understanding, and more empathetic perspective. The people around you also experience this positivity and reap the benefits.
This is why it is so important to recognize that traveling will have an impact beyond ourselves. In this way, traveling has a way of making the world a better place.
Learn To Accept People Different Than Yourself
Mark Twain commented that, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”
Twain is pointing out an important consequence of traveling. When we travel we expose ourselves to different people and cultures. A great deal of prejudice is grounded in isolation from other people.
Often, getting to know other people breaks down the barriers between “us” and “them.” We learn that people in other places in the world are unique and perhaps more like us than we thought.
You may think that traveling is expensive. However, this isn’t the case.
It has never been cheaper to travel. With a host of apps and websites helping us find the cheapest tickets and lodging, the costs are low for what we get in exchange.
The temptation is to look at what we can purchase if we forgo traveling. However, as we will explore later, there is no comparison between the long term value of an experience compared to the value of things we could buy with the same money.
This seems counterintuitive, but the research on this issue is crystal clear about what brings greatest fulfillment between the two.
Expanding Our View of the World
Saint Augustine stated, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
We assume what we consider “the world” is the set of things we experience. The smaller the area of intake, the more likely we are to think of the world as a small place.
Traveling breaks through this misconception. It informs us at a core level that the world is much bigger than we think.
It is essential to have a correct view of the world that isn’t jaded by the small microcosm that is our lives in our home town.
Building Memories With Family and Friends
Nothing builds closer bonds with those close to us than shared experiences. Working through the challenges of traveling together is an excellent way to grow closer.
This is one reason the military puts groups of soldiers under as much stress as possible and then has them work together to overcome obstacles. Teamwork is key to building cohesion and closeness.
Increasing Our Resourcefulness
Traveling to new places requires us to navigate roads and language barriers to make the trip successful. These barriers make us more aware of the environment and the experience.
They push us to think in new ways to overcome these challenges. With time and practice, we experience less stress when adapting to these different environments.
After I moved to Norway, my first trip to another European country was to London. I was amazed at how stressful it was going to a different country and not knowing how everything worked.
I look back on that experience now and realize that it was a good idea to start with London. Being an English speaking nation, it was relatively easy to adjust to the new environment.
Deepening Knowledge of History and Culture
Visiting new places provides an excellent opportunity to read how people live and have lived in those locations.
We gain a much greater appreciation for history and culture when we study them in the context of location.
Helping Us to Unplug
The business of our daily lives makes it easy to get tangled up in thoughts and issues we are bombarded with.
Traveling pulls us out of our daily environment and gives us space to think through the issues of life. We can escape much of the chaos of our lives and give our brains a rest from the ins and outs of daily life.