Travel can transform people, make them brave, happy and full of life. Here are just some of the reasons why travel should be part of your life.
Nothing boosts confidence quite like travelling. It can take some bravery, especially if you are travelling far from home to an unfamiliar culture, but it’s worth it.
Realising that you are capable of more than you thought can do wonders. Whether it is a weekend in a city a few hours from home, or 6 months backpacking through another continent, seeing new places trying new things really can change your perspective.
At university my self esteem was pretty low, but after living abroad for a year on my own, I finally realised I had a lot to offer other people. It was no longer a surprise that people might want to be friends with me. I believed I had something to offer, stories and experiences that would interest others.
Travel was a revelation for how I thought about myself. It can transform you in more ways than you would expect.
Experience New Cultures
Many cities these days are multi-cultural and so it is easy to get a taste of other cultures. That, however, will never compare to immersing yourself in a different country.
Looking for the cafes and restaurants that are not to be found in a guidebook, finding a shop where you can buy things you would never get at home, working out the local transport system. All this can lead to an appreciation of a culture and country that goes so much deeper than the taste you might have gained in the past.
Even countries that have similar cultures can be surprising. Canada and USA are not all that different on the surface, but it wasn’t until spending a few weeks in Toronto having visited San Francisco a year before that I saw differences that went beyond a border line.
Being away from home can make it easier to try things you might not otherwise consider. Whether it is food you would never eat at home, or activities that are more adventurous than your usual hobbies, being somewhere new can open up a world of possibilities.
I am at my most adventurous when travelling. I wouldn’t have considered skydiving at home, but doing something a little extreme as part of an adventure seemed much more possible than it would have been in midst of my London life.
Challenging yourself will often push your development in ways you didn’t expect.
You never know what you might find a taste for, and surprising people with your tales of experiences they never knew you were capable of is always fun.
From booking tickets and hotels, to getting your self from one place to another in a foreign country with a different language, travel is great for developing independence. This is especially true if you are travelling alone.
Planning something just for yourself, relying on yourself to make all the arrangements can show you what you are capable of. You don’t need anyone to do it for you, you are more than able to turn a day dream into a dream holiday.
Any change of scenery can be refreshing. It can be a weekend in countryside just two hours from home, or two weeks in the south of France. Anything that puts you in a different mindset can re-energise you when you return to your normal pace of life. Even a fast paced holiday can refresh you – it doesn’t have to be relaxing on a sun lounger on a Mediterranean beach.
Sometimes you just need to escape from home and, whatever form it might take, just BE somewhere else. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your everyday experience, just that sometimes change is good for the soul.
Make friends (even if just for a day)
It’s hard if you are, like me, a shy or introverted person. I’m perfectly happy in my own company and usually travel alone, but even so, sometimes I need people. Day tours can be great for this. You have the flexibility of your own itinerary for the majority of your trip, but a day when everything is planned and organised for you, and you can just enjoy a common experience with other people.
If I am anywhere even remotely near a wine region I’ll often do a day wine tour. A common interest plus a little alcohol (just be sensible, especially if you are on your own), generally equals a happily bonding bunch of strangers.
You may never see them again, but that is part of the beauty of travelling. Enjoying the company of strangers for a short while, parting with smiles and perhaps a photo, and then looking forward to the next experience.
Alternatively, you may make long term friends. You never know who you might meet in a hostel or hotel. Travellers are often looking for company and it’s always a possibility that you could encounter someone whose friendship will last for far longer than a day.
Learn about yourself
I love the occasional adrenaline rush (I’m always a little gleeful when people express surprise about this element of my personality). I enjoy trying local wines and food, especially when they aren’t easy to find in the UK. I feel more like me when I’m exploring a new city. I wouldn’t know any of this without travelling.
You might discover a passion for skiing, European architecture, Greek food, salsa dancing or any of the endless possibilities out in the wider world. You won’t know until you try.
Your memories are unique. No one else will have exactly the same experience, and while seeing a famous landmark, piece of art, or natural wonder can be beautiful it pales into comparison to being there.
Feeling awed as you stand watching the light filter through coloured glass at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Eating gelato by the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Looking down on Toronto through a glass panel at the top of the CN Tower. Seeing the Mona Lisa in person (it’s much smaller than you expect).
Those memories last as you return to work and normal life. They’ll reappear vividly when people ask you what you did on holiday. And although millions of others have seen those same sights no one else has your individual memory of that place.
There is a world of possibility out there. Travelling can make you nervous, but it can also make you brave.
Don’t wait for someone else to suggest it. Explore the world we live in, and love every moment of it.