image by alanenglish
Whether you have travelled a bit already, or not at all, now is the time too start. No matter how old you are, no matter what job you do, no matter what are your personal circumstances, there are ways – often cheap ways – to be able to travel.
Yes, maybe you like your lovely home, and your comfortable life. That’s fine. You can always get back to it. Travelling is not about being a vagabond, or selling all your stuff and wandering around with a backpack (though that is also a legitimate option). Travelling can be as personal as keeping a journal. No matter who you are, you will have your own unique travel style. And that’s fine. As long as you give it a shot.
Here are 5 Reasons why you should go travelling:
1) Appreciate the differences, and celebrate similarities
In the words of St. Augustine:
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page
Planet Earth is a big place. There is more to the world than your town, city, or even country. The differences will sometimes shock you, and the similarities will sometimes comfort you.
For example, did you know that people eat Guinea Pigs in Ecuador? They are cooked whole, and as you walk down the street, you can see them being roasted, their faces frozen in an eternal scream.
Travel gives you an opportunity to know yourself better. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. Just the act of being away from your routine gives you time to think. You can reflect on your life, and whether the way you are living it is what you want.
Also, as you come across different cultures, different people, and different situations, it will give you more awareness about who you are, and more importantly about who you want to be.
3) Get out of your comfort zone
You can’t grow unless you do something you haven’t done before. If you are not growing, you are stagnant, and that’s hardly the way to live. Travelling is a perfect way to stretch your boundaries and learn something new. You don’t have to do the things you hate. I’m terrified of heights, and not actually interested in “facing my fear“, so I don’t go bridge jumping or on a cable car ride. But I did started talking to the locals in Ecuador even though my Spanish was dismal. The world didn’t end. No one laughed at me. And I ended up making some great friends.
4) Be cultured and sophisticated
There are some people who travel, and come hope completely unaltered, with a bag of sparkling souvenirs. They are a minority. For most people, travel changes you. Not always in a big way, but you see new things, experience new things and your boundaries change. Being sophisticated is not about mingling with the rich or the bohemians. Being sophisticated is about being world-wise. Travel gives you that. Exposure to different cultures, first hand, is more educational than going to plays or operas every week.
5) Gain Perspective
Travel gives you a chance to evaluate your priorities. When you find yourself living comfortably in a modest accommodation without any of the mod-cons, your gadget-filled house back home may feel excessive. When you find yourself enjoying evenings with friends you’ve made on your trip, or just enjoying some solo quiet time, you may find that the daily episode of East Enders is really not that necessary to your sense of happiness.
You are not getting any younger. It’s one life, and for now we only have one planet. We are fortunate enough to live in a world where travelling across the planet is easier than it’s ever been before. Travelling gives you an opportunity to explore this world, learn everything you can and then keep the best bits from everywhere you go. That alone will make your mind and your life unique.
I met a girl, Sarah, while I was in Ecuador who wanted to get a tattoo on her foot with the words: Por qué no?
Translation: Why not?
Those are the two words you need to remember. Why not? Why not just do it? Why not just go to that one country you always wanted to go to? Why not break up the monotony of life? Why not?
What is your answer to “Por qué no?”