Are you an expat traveller, regular weekend-away-er or full-time nomad? Well it’s likely you’ll have experienced the many joys of travelling at some point or another on your trip then.
Whether it was immersing yourself in a foreign culture, developing a range of practical, social and emotional skills on-the-go, or simply enjoying spectacular sunrises from breathtakingly beautiful destinations -- to travel is to be in a permanent state of joy. Well, almost.
Travelling also involves embracing the new and unknown, which of course can produce plenty of challenges, too. Sometimes you end up doing things that are little more... high-risk, because of a lack of planning or new-found, caution-to-the-wind approach. Other times you’ll end up lost or misunderstood, or end up feeling overwhelmed and isolated.
For me however, having returned from a year of travel around the Caribbean and Central America recently, I know that the down periods were usually fleeting and almost immediately eclipsed by the moments of total, unadulterated joy on the road.
Here are some very compelling reasons you should pack your bags and go on a trip the next chance you get.
Travel changes your world outlook
Day by day, travel slowly changes how you relate to the world. It re-writes and replaces part of your moral and social code the more you see and experience. When you leave your comfort bubble for pastures new, you end up making friends with people you previously never imagined meeting. You end up partaking in activities you never dreamed of doing (hello hiking at dawn and volunteering in Colombia). And, you’ll shift your priorities and life goals in the process, morphing into a person you never imagined becoming. To travel is to obtain the perspective you never thought you needed.
You experience total and utter freedom
As you consider your travel options, you may find yourself having to make choices: where to go? How much to spend? Should you plan for the future or live for the moment? Travel (and especially extended travel or living abroad) can produce a lifestyle far less reliant on material wealth. So, if your idea of true freedom encompasses fishing for salmon in Nicaragua, racing through palm-tree lined streets in a 50’s Chevrolet in Cuba or, relaxing on a polar-white beach in Thailand, then you’ll probably have to reject the restrictions of “normal” everyday life for a while. Once you do it for a while though, you won’t be able to imagine not waking up and doing exactly what you like, when you like, without a care in the world; travel is synonymous with freedom.
Travel is a crash course on self-development
Travelling is the ultimate self-development tool. Why? Because when you find yourself stressed-out or under pressure in a place where the language and social norms are completely different to your own, you have NO choice but to learn and adapt. Picture this: you’re lost on your first day in foreign climes. You need directions back to your hotel but you don’t speak the language or have much money so, you have no choice but to ask locals for advice on getting public transport. You end up communicating through a mixture of gestures, pointing and bad pronunciation, but by the time you find your way back, you’ve managed to overcome a whole heap of major obstacles and are more independent and confident after this experience too. Imagine what kind of person you’ll be after six weeks, or six months...
It makes you appreciate what you have back home
Sometimes a little time away from the monotony of your regular community can help you appreciate it all the more -- should you choose to return, of course. Because once you’ve witnessed sunsets melt into moons behind jagged cities and seen monkeys swinging majestically from jungle vines and, thought long and hard about your purpose and place in the world... it can be hard to re-adjust to the life you left behind. But the joy of travel is that it lingers long in the mind after the trip is over. You’ll never really forget the experiences you had in the past, or the things you saw because it becomes a part of who you are in the present; travel never truly leaves you.
I’m Georgina. I’m 24 and I’m a writer, traveller, good eyebrow enthusiast (when they receive due care on the road that is), feminist and lots of other things besides. I’ve always had a travel bug (when I first started earning my own money the first thing I saved up for was a holiday to the exotic island of Kavos, Greece!) but these past two years have pushed me into living and working remotely around the world.
Georgina is a writer, traveler, good eyebrow enthusiast (when they receive due care on the road that is), feminist and lots of other things besides. She's always had a travel bug and works remotely around the world.