By the time this post is published, I’ll be 30,000ft in the sky over the Pacific Ocean on my way to Wellington, New Zealand. Yes, it’s time for another adventure, to explore, to experience, to make memories and grow. But first, I wanted to share my reasons why anyone should travel.
A little backstory…
When I grew up, I wanted to get out of my hometown. I wanted to do the student exchange programmes in high school. There was something else out there for me, I could feel it. So at 23, I bought a one-way ticket to London. It was going to be my base for all of the European travel I would do. I put myself out of my safety net and made this life for myself in London starting from scratch. Admittedly, the grand European trips in my mind didn’t quite happen, but I had decided that I didn’t want the same snap-bang wrapped up in a Contiki tour experience everyone else did. I didn’t come halfway around the world to go on holiday with other Australians. It suits some but it just wasn’t for me. I wanted to absorb the rich culture and histories of these cities through my own experience.
I would visit Italy (several times), France, Malta, Norway, Cape Verde, Turkey and Thailand in the years that followed. Certainly not the repertoire of some travellers I know, but this was my travel story, not theirs. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel even this much. It wasn’t long before these short escapes led to backpacking for a few months in Myanmar and India. And I’m not quite sure any amount of previous travel could have prepared me for that experience. To this day I can’t quite put it into words, but that travel experience was nourishing, confronting, exhilarating and intimidating all at once.
In 2016, my partner and I took the leap to leave the UK and move to Australia. The next adventure, New Zealand, will be our first international adventure in 6 months.
To Travel is To Live…
I’m no accomplished wanderluster, that I’m fully aware of. But I would like to weigh in on the reasons I believe travel is such a valuable experience.
Travel Will Open Your Mind & Your Heart
Your senses are receiving new information for the first time. You will see things of beauty and of heartbreak. You’ll taste, smell, hear and feel your way through many new experiences that can be enjoyable and unpleasant. The mind is open to all of the new sensory data, processing things that are familiar and unfamiliar, making notes. Your heart will feel enhanced emotions. Compassion, love, empathy, excitement. Each new experience leaving a lasting imprint on how it made you feel.
Travel Will Put Things Into Perspective
You’ll feel small. Standing on the outside of your bubble, looking back at your comfort zone – you will have a contrast in front of you of the world beyond. Those everyday things in your life may lose meaning, or you might realise you take them for granted. Travel allows you to look at your life and consider what is important to you, what really matters. Your worries will feel so tiny.
Travel Educates You
Sociology, geology, geography, culture, politics, religion. It sounds like I’m rattling off my high school class timetable. Travel offers an enormous opportunity to learn so much about our world. Through travel, learning becomes experiential, almost tangible. You get to put aside all the things you thought you knew and experience the reality of it.
Travel Makes New Friends
Creating lasting moments and making new memories with people you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet. You’ll learn more about yourself in the process too. I remember a podcast where Jon Levy mentions that our relationships are enhanced through experiences, especially experiences with heightened senses of awareness. If you do something crazy with a fellow traveller, you’re likely to remain connected through that experience for the rest of your lives.
Travel Helps You Connect More Deeply with Yourself
Through all of this new information, experiencing and seeing the world differently comes the opportunity to reflect. You’ll find yourself, at times, without much to do but take in the moment of where you are. You will find here a moment to reflect on your place in all of this. There’s a new you emerging. A sense of true self may come in this moment. This is one of my most favourite parts about travelling. You can never come home the same person that left.
Travel as Transformation…
I’m currently listening to an audio book titled “Travel as Transformation” by Gregory V Diehl. I am very early into the book and already captivated by it. Although I have mentioned all of the above great things to gain from travel, it cannot be put into simple terms. It’s something greater than my few adventures can even begin to explain. I highly recommend giving it a read if you are interested in travel literature.
“To travel is to enter new worlds, encounter alternative realities and interact with foreign cultures. Think of it also as to travel through times.”
– Taz Liffman, Intrepid Travel