This little planet contains hundreds of cultures, thousands of beautiful places, and limitless opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re a travel newbie or a seasoned globetrotter, you can grow every time you leave your homeland. Here are some ways travel can change you for the better.
1. You Gain Confidence
When you’re traveling, you’ll run into unexpected situations. You will have to navigate unfamiliar areas, adapt to new laws and customs, and overcome language barriers. Figuring things out is always challenging, but as you do, you’ll gain self-confidence and problem-solving skills, and that can-do attitude and critical thinking will transfer to other areas of your life.
This is especially true if you decide to do some solo traveling. Just make sure you do your research before you take off, so you don’t stray into danger.
2. You Make Friends
Sometimes the people you’re with will take an experience from ordinary to unforgettable. Maybe you want to invite a few of your classmates on a road trip, perhaps you’ll sign up for a group tour in Europe or Asia, or maybe you’ll meet fellow travelers along the way and you’ll continue the journey together. No matter what, you will bond with your travel companions.
You should also reach out to local folks as you travel They will have different perspectives on their cities and the world in general and your cultural awareness will flourish. Plus you’ll be privy to inside information that goes deeper than any tour books can offer.
3. You Learn About Humanity
You can read about other places in books and you can watch TV shows about people across the world, but these don’t compare to personal experience. Whether you visit tribes in Papua New Guinea or get to know people in Myanmar, you will become better at understanding how other people think and feel and live.
No matter how different cultures are, all people belong to the same human family, a fact you will come to appreciate every time you meet someone with a background vastly different from your own but with whom you share a smile.
4. You Learn to Let Things Go and What’s Important
Regardless of how diligently you plan your itinerary, things will change and probably even go wrong. When that happens, you can be totally derailed into a meltdown or you can go with the flow and see what happens. Traveling will help you teach yourself how to relax and when to let go, skills that will come in handy when you’re going in for a job interview or facing finals week.
Traveling will also shift your perspective on material possessions. You’ll learn that packing light and living more simply gives you more time and energy to enjoy the wonders of your journey. You’ll also see how much of the world lives without the things you take for granted and you may even be inspired to reduce your own consumer footprint.
5. You Become More Creative
Whether you’re viewing art at the Louvre or watching buskers on the streets of Bangkok, everything you take in will spark your imagination and inspire you. To capture your memories, you’ll want to write a journal, record everything in photos, or put your experience on video.
Furthermore, according to researchers, “living in another culture and learning the practices of that culture may enhance the psychological processes that make people more creative.”
There are a lot of reasons to opt not to travel (instability abroad, budget concerns, taking time off from work or school). But don’t let these become excuses. Remember that the personal benefits you reap from seeing the world can be transformative and the memories will last a lifetime.