We’ve all heard the old cliche, travel will make you a better person, but what does that really mean? Why would a trip to a foreign land suddenly make you any better than you are now? I mean, life is pretty good as it is, right?
Maybe, but this is all about being better, and the only way to get better at something is to do more of it. So, with that in mind, let’s explore why taking the time to visit far away lands will inevitably lead to what’s missing from your life.
We all have a close circle of people we call friends but the people you meet on the road will enrich your life in ways that your close friends can’t. Different cultures will add new levels of interaction and will whet your appetite for more. Quite often locals and fellow travellers alike will become part of your inner and extended circle, and the insights and influences they bring will expand your sphere of thinking.
Learning how to navigate around a foreign city or how to order a beef stroganoff in the native language are skills that you will pick up in no time at all. The same goes for learning how to trek up a hillside or kayak down a river, if you haven’t done it before and it’s alien to you, travelling can lead to situations where learning a new skill fast can be a very necessary and gratifying experience.
Whether it’s ordering cocktails in a rooftop bar in Bangkok or asking for directions to the station in Paris, learning a few key phrases in the native language can be useful as well as very satisfying. Most of the native speakers you will encounter will be impressed that you have taken the time to learn and who knows, you might make some new friends along the way.
Imagine trekking through the Malaysian rainforests or Sailing around the Caribbean. Seeing the pyramids in Egypt or the temples of Angkor Wat, you will have an amazing time. Think of the stories you will have to tell your kids. Whatever it is that takes your fancy is waiting for you right now. So go do it.
Often, you will visit places or meet people on the road who have had it tough. People living in squalid conditions or maybe a war veteran who is missing a limb. Your heart will automatically open up to these people when you realise that your tough life is nowhere near what these people experience on a daily basis. You will start to feel a great empathy towards them and if you reach out to help your heart will fill with joy.
Travelling to a place will teach you more about it than a history class or guidebook ever can. To immerse yourself in a country’s culture and actually be there experiencing it for yourself is a life lesson that only travel can deliver. To realise the history and beauty of somewhere through it’s people and it’s buildings truly expands the self.
Go and lie on a beach in Bali or swim Turtles off the Galapagos. Lie in a hammock under a tree in Vietnam or read a book by a babbling brook somewhere calm and peaceful. Take a yoga class in Thailand or grab a massage from a blind person in Laos. There are a million ways to de-stress while travelling. You could even stay in bed all day if that helps. You have my permission.
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and getting angry about it solves nothing. Zero. Travelling means learning to be adaptable in any situation. Anything can happen, from being caught in a monsoon to being lost in the desert. From losing your money to having your luggage stolen. Obviously these are extremes, but by shifting your focus from the initial anger to focusing on the problem calmly, new solutions will present themselves.
Once you begin to travel and have new experiences you will want to do it more and more. You will want to know the history of a certain building or landmark. You will want to know what the dish on the menu you can’t pronounce tastes like. You will want to know what the next town is like or even how it compares across the border. Travel will awaken a new level of curiosity into your life and for the right reasons.
Once you have travelled you will realise that hey, there’s a whole world ou there just waiting for you to explore. New exotic destinations and new cultures to experience. New sights to see, new people to meet and embrace. You will no longer feel or even be like you used to.
There are many, many more reasons why travelling will make you a better person. The secret is to go and find out for yourselves. Hopefully this article will have inspired you to do so. Nobody ever looks back on life and says “I wish I hadn’t gone travelling”.