“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” –Anthony Bourdain
We all travel for different reasons. Some to escape reality, while others go to create a new one. Many will leave for the sake of seeing new places, while a few aims for a new beginning. But most of us will go for the same reason– to succumb to our desire to learn new things.
In my 28 years of life, I can wholeheartedly tell you that the best things that ever happens to me occurs whenever I decide to step out of my comfort zone. From learning things about myself, discovering new places, to meeting the love of my life, if it weren’t for my love of adventure, I may have just missed out on making this the best decade of my life by far.
Ever since I discovered my chronic obsession for travel, I couldn’t wait to tell the whole world about it. Not necessarily to gloat, but to encourage others to get up and go. Because, oh, the things! The places! The people! The encounters! The experiences are so inexplicably sublime. It brings me joy whenever I find out that I have inspired someonee to actually go out and venture somewhere. To me, it’s a huge privilege to inspire– it’s an honor, really. It’s such a rewarding feeling to be able to make a difference in someone’s life simply by sharing knowledge about what I’m passionate about. It’s even more amazing when they realize sooner than later that it’s true– travel is incredible. And with this article, I aim not only to justify that, but to inspire you as well. I urge you to travel, and let me emphasize why.
With the amount of inspirational travel articles that’s been circulating the internet the last couple of years, I noticed one common response and misconception: that travelers are condescending bastards for thinking they’re far better people than non-travelers. And the truth is, there are people like that. I’ve met those travel snobs and princesses that validates their life with their travel experiences. However, not all of us thinks that way. The sad truth is that the issue of inferiority vs. superiority will never die down in this world. But let’s put it this way and look at travel as a way of life, if you’d like to call it that. Just like raising a family, or building a stable career, travel WILL change you, whether you like it not.
You don’t one-up others because you’ve seen more places. The same way your best friend doesn’t one-up you because she chose to start a family instead. One thing remains the same though, no matter what path you choose– it broadens your horizon and it makes you a better version of YOU. And when you travel, you’re bound to one-up the most important competition of your life— yourself.
First of all, the fact that you’ve managed to trick your brain into jumping out of your comfort zone is already a few steps up from your past self. We all know how difficult it could be to just take that leap. But as you go and discover different places, talk about meaningful things with strangers, learn others people’s way of living, the beautiful perspective you once thought you already had about life becomes even more vibrant. Or what was once black and white suddenly becomes a colorful kaleidoscope. And it might just be the most significant way you’ll ever learn.
Reacquainting with yourself
Besides the fact that you learn about other worlds and other society outside your own, travel also opens a window for you to get to know yourself on another level. Although my husband makes the best travel companion and I love having him in my adventures, I also do have a penchant for wandering to places by myself. There’s just something so free about it that I can’t explain. Somehow, regardless of the loneliness and the emptiness that solo travel can inevitably bring, there’s something so peaceful about it that no matter how much imbalance your life may have, everything in that moment feels like it’s in complete harmony. You can be in the midst of chaos, yet that’s when epiphanies after epiphanies starts pouring in.
Even when you’re not traveling alone though, you’re still bound to get reacquainted with yourself. You’ll learn about your capabilities and weaknesses, and you’ll develop your resiliency like you’ve never had before. There will be times that you’d think you’re over it, but it will keep you challenged. Most importantly, you will face your fears and you will overcome them.
Others call it soul searching, I simply call it living.
Humility at its finest
Travel is truly humbling. Anything that forces you to see the realities of other worlds will instantly trigger a button that will quickly make you appreciate what you have back home. Whether it be the access to wifi 24/7, a job, clean drinking water, a comfortable couch after a long day, food on the table, or a family to come home to, it will remind you not to take things for granted. You don’t need to go to a third world country to realize that, because it’s not just about hardships and poverty. You can be on top of the Eiffel Tower for all I know when you suddenly realize what a wonderful life you have. It isn’t just about the realizations of your fortunate lives that makes travel so humbling. It’s the fact that it reminds you how small you are in this big planet. No matter how successful you may be, or how loved you are, you’re still just one tiny vincible mortal living in this world. And whatever difference you think you’re making, you’ve still got a big portion of the world waiting, darling.
Faith in humanity: Restored
I sincerely think this is one of the highlights of the many perks of traveling. You get to witness how generally kind people are. You’ll see it in your own eyes that there are MANY people who would go out of their way to help a stranger in need. Seriously, you’ll be surprised at how compassionate people can be. Sure, you’ll experience the bad ones– the one that will rip you off, taking advantage of the clueless traveler, etc. etc… but then it occurs to you that some people are just trying to make a living. Put it this way, you may be short $15 now, but you were able to feed someone else’s family. Now doesn’t that restore your faith in your own goodness too?
The beauty of travel is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Travel lets you be who you want to be– it’s your freedom handed to you in a silver platter. But with that said, please, I beg you, if I have somehow convinced you to travel– do it for the right reason. Don’t do it for Instagram. Don’t do it to prove others something. Don’t do it because it’s a trend. It’s travelers like those that gives traveling a bad name, making it so unauthentic. Travel for yourself. Travel to grow. Travel for the sake of adventure. Travel for your love of it. Otherwise, why even bother?
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