There are a billion reasons not to travel. Sometimes it's so much easier just to go home and be with my friends and loved ones. But I have the rest of my life to do that. I'm not in any rush. Now is the time to enrich my soul, make myself better, get to know myself, fall in love (with others, and with myself), meet cool people, try new foods, and learn new languages.
Traveling is Chicken Soup for the Soul. LOL!
Just kidding. But really. Travel is good for the soul. Here's why.
CAUTION: THIS ARTICLE IS FULL OF CLICHES. PROCEED WITH CARE.
1.) You learn who you are.
I've never known myself more than I have in the past year. Being alone and navigating yourself through vulnerable and uncomfortable situations teaches you all about who you are, how you handle struggle, and how to rely on your instincts in tough situations.
2.) It helps you develop skills you didn't know you had.
I used to be horrifically directionally challenged. Now I'm a pro. How? Because I had to teach myself to use maps and gain some directional skills otherwise I'd still be wandering somewhere around Budapest by myself.
3.) The badass stories.
You have cooler stories than most of your friends.
4.) You gain friends from all over the world.
You meet the coolest people while traveling. Fellow backpackers, authors, hippies, students, expats, people who have been living illegally for 40 years, - you name it, I've met them. And not only that, but now you have even more places to crash if you ever visit their home countries.
5.) Everything you do becomes intentional. Especially money spending.
Now, when I spend money, I convert it in my head to how many flights that could have bought me. Also, you become so much more aware of your surroundings and the people/places around you, not just for safety purposes, but for the sake of taking it all in.
6.) It opens your eyes.
It opens your eyes to new cultures, customs, and people. It shows you that there's another world out there besides your own, and what you may think is normal may not be normal to someone else. It opens your eyes to compassion and humanity.
7.) It makes you more employable.
Travel isn't just putzing around. You now have a whole new set of skills that sets you apart - planning, problem solving, flexibility, language skills etc.
8.) It cultivates humor.
Sometimes, things happen that you just have to laugh off. Cultural differences can be funny and easy to laugh at, and most problems are just minute. Learning to laugh at those kind of things makes you more easy going.
9.) You learn how to be alone.
There's nothing that makes you feel more vulnerable than eating in a restaurant by yourself, feeling like you're on display. Traveling teaches who you are by yourself, at your very core, not surrounded by others, navigating unfamiliar spaces.
10.) It makes you more easy-going.
All those mistakes that you made at the beginning make you chill out more now. Miss your train? It's fine, there will be another one. Get desperately lost? S'all good.
11.) It boosts your overall happiness.
Science actually shows that travel makes you happier. By being more carefree, easy going, and seeing the good that the world has to offer, you'll be overall more happy.
12.) It diminishes fear of the unknown.
I'm still hardcore working on translating this one into my non-travel life, but embracing and conquering the unknown is a huge hurdle in traveling.
13.) It makes you more sociable.
When you're in a situation where you're by yourself, you're pretty much forced into talking to people out of your comfort zone. I'm so much more comfortable striking up conversation with random strangers since I've been traveling.
14.) You realize the insignificance of most possessions.
When you live with little for a long period of time, you realize how unimportant most of your belongings are. When I go away, I honestly forget about all the stuff I have until I get home.
15.) You realize who your true friends are.
When you return home from traveling for a long period of time, the people who truly want to be there will be there. The rest will fade into the background.
16.) It forces you to step out of your comfort zone.
Stepping out of your comfort zone while traveling is pretty much inevitable. May as well get it over with sooner rather than later. As you travel more, less and less scares you. If you asked me a few years ago if I would have done some of the things I've done, I would have laughed in your face.
17.) It makes you fall in love with the world, and yourself.
You realize how beautiful the world is, how lovely and helpful and kind humanity is, and how strong, perfect, and resilient you are.
18.) It makes you overall awesome!
You've gained so many new skills, tried new things, met new people, slept on surfaces that you may not be sure about, eaten meats that you're not sure where they've come from, played charades with locals because you didn't speak their language, gotten drunk off of a drink you can't pronounce and stumbled back to your hostel with people who at the beginning of the night were strangers, gone the wrong way on public transportation, were kept up all night by a snoring bunkmate, danced under the Peruvian sky, hiked through the French alps, rode an elephant in Thailand, fed a gator in the Everglades, made fun of the ridiculousness of Stonehenge, and lived.