Traveling is beneficial to everyone. Some say, “it’s something you just need to get out of your system,” or you travel just to, “find yourself,” but it’s something more. These are the reasons why I want to travel, and why I think you should want to travel as well.
1. To Explore
verb: explore; 3rd person present: explores; past tense: explored; past participle: explored; gerund or present participle: exploring
travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.
I want to explore any destination I have not physically visited.
Back in the day when the world was first unmapped, unclaimed, and wild, people ventured out to explore the unknown. Today, we can Google a location and learn “everything” about it. I would like to skip the Internet search and explore for myself. There is only so much you can learn about a place without actually exploring it in real life.
Having lived in Southern California my WHOLE life, and not moving one place with my parents (I moved about 45 minutes away for college for 3 years, but I hardly call that a move), I have not had the chance to really explore until last year. My first visit out of the country was when I was 22. And to Mexico. On a cruise. Where we spent less than 8 hours on land at the destinations. It was a taste of exploring, but not enough. (I will share my thoughts on cruises in another post.) But the fact that I had to get a passport and travel to another country was exhilarating. I had done so much research online of what to expect, but exploring in person showed me a lot different.
2. To Learn
Traveling puts you in new and different situations every time you go, no matter what. New sites, new people, you are always immersing yourself in something new. If something is new to you, you are learning about it. Through my travels this far, I have already learned so much about myself, others, what to do and not to do when traveling, and so much more. The cool thing is, is that I know that the knowledge that I have obtained at this point, isn’t the end. I know that the more traveling I do, the more I will learn. You know what they say, “Knowledge is power.”
I believe the best thing about learning through travel is the way it opens up your mind and soul. It really broadens your reality of the world and the people in it. When you open up, you are more willing to try new things, accept differences, and become aware. You will constantly be growing, and that will do everyone good.
3. To Meet New People
Meeting new people is an amazing thing. Every person has a different story to tell, different experiences to share, and different views. Not everyone is a listener, but I definitely am one. I LOVE listening to people and hearing about how they understand life, how they grew up, their worst stories. It goes back to my last point, you LEARN! Through new people you will discover new places that you never knew you wanted to travel to, try a new food you never knew of before. Best perk though? Life long friends across the globe. Social media and the Internet make it possible to keep in touch with new friends from your ventures, and keep those memories alive.
4. To Experience
Watching from the sidelines is fun, you see awesome pictures, you learn a bit, and live through someone else’s shared experience. To truly experience anything yourself is so eye opening. BUT, to experience, you must be willing to experience. Sounds obvious, but so many people are quick to say no to trying something new. You can’t kick it till you try it right?
Also, how awesome would it be to look back and say you really did eat snails in France instead of remembering watching someone else do it? It also lets you decide whether or not you’d like to do it again, you now have a reason to say why you don’t like something, or a reason to encourage others to experience it too.
5. To Be Uncomfortable
This may be the hardest thing that someone does, and it’s not for everyone. The majority of people want to live a comfortable life, create a routine, and always know what to expect. But like the name of this site, I want to be spontaneous. If you are uncomfortable (not in a negative situation) you force yourself to adapt and you LEARN what you are capable of. For me, the same routine is really unsettling. Some say it’s a form of indecisiveness, or immaturity, but I like being challenged. You overcome fears, borders, invisible walls you set up for yourself, and inhibitions. You open yourself to the unknown, and then you know.
To explore, learn, meet, and experience things, you will more times than not be put in uncomfortable situations. Embrace it and you will prosper. The most uncomfortable situation I put myself in so far was book by first trip off the continent on a whim, for a solo trip. To travel across the world to explore somewhere I’ve never been, alone. It was the most eye-opening experience and I was only there 11 days. The only plans I had made were my first 4 nights at hostels (another first experience for me), and looking back I wish I only had booked my first night and taken it from there. Every morning was uncomfortable- not knowing where I was going, who I was going to meet, or if I would actually meet anyone at that. But taking the trip day by day, hour by hour, led to an amazing trip, friends made, and new experiences.
With that, I do want to say solo travel, as uncomfortable as it sounds, is something everyone needs to do at least once for all of the 5 points above. I heard somewhere that when you are alone, truly alone- no friends, family, or familiar faces to rely on, is when you truly discover if you yourself are the type of person you would rely on. And it is so true.