Traveling is about more than checking stops off your bucket list. It’s about seeing the world, both the good and the bad, and learning from it. It’s about waking up early for flights and staying up late with new friends. Travel doesn’t just give you stunning photos to take on Instagram! It makes you an awesome person!
I know this firsthand. When I was 18, I took off on a whirlwind tour of 19 countries. It was my first time traveling alone, meeting new people, and experiencing cultures vastly different than my own! I returned home half a year later a changed person. I hardly recognized myself. I felt like if I ran into that girl from before on the streets, I would think she’s a friend, but I wouldn’t know from where. I was a new and improved me!
So why does travel make you an awesome person? It’s deeper than you think! While you might leave for a trip excited about the places you’ll see, you’ll likely return missing the people you met and with a longing to keep exploring. Travel isn’t just something you do once and never think about again. Travel is a lifestyle, and all travelers know the awesome changes that happen once you commit to a life of jet lag and new food! Let’s explore all the ways travel makes you an awesome person!
There’s something so freeing about immersing yourself in a completely new culture. It makes you reevaluate not only another way of living, but the way you live back home. I first experienced this when I visited Thailand. It was the first time I felt like such a foreigner! I didn’t look like anyone else, and I didn’t know what to do half the time. Finally, once I let go of my fear of standing out, I realized what a friendly and warm place Thailand can be! I’ll never forget my late-night dinners with friendly locals and the busy streets of the daily markets.
Exploring new cultures helps you examine your own. There’s a saying that goes “A fish can spend its whole life in water but never know what it’s bowl looks like.” Once you take that fish out of the bowl, suddenly the world is different. The same is true when you travel. Once you return home, things won’t feel the same. You’ll start to question your own cultural constructions and the ways you and your family behave. Most importantly, you’ll realize there is no better or worse when it comes to culture. Everyone’s different, and different is good!
It’s hard to see just how little you can live on until you’re pressed to live on less. When you’re traveling, you don’t have the luxury of extra space! If you’re backpacking that means staying in tight-spaced hostels or small inns. Even if you’re traveling normal you’re still limited to your suitcase! Learning to live on less is a necessity, and you might realize it’s freeing!
Having only a few outfit options to choose from and only a section of cosmetics makes getting ready simple. It reminds you that the important things can only be experienced, not worn. Similarly, you’ll realize your favorite souvenirs are your memories! Do you really need another keychain or oversized hat? These things might be great in the moment, but they’re hardly valuable in the long run.
When you travel, you can’t always be prepared. No matter what kind of traveler you are, whether you prepare everything in advance or you wing it, things happen. When you’re traveling in a new place, you’re going to get lost. When you’re trying to make several flights, you’re going to miss them sometimes. Being a traveler means knowing how to react in any situation. You don’t stress because you know you’ve got it under control.
Travel teaches you confidence. Asking for a raise back home is no problem once you’ve mastered the Parisian Metro or you’ve taken a ride on a camel in Morocco. You’ve done harder things, and you learn not to sweat the small stuff. Better yet, you’re down for anything. You aren’t afraid of trying that new sushi restaurant downtown or hiking and reaching the old tavern in the mountains of the Balkan! You know you can take anything that comes your way!
There’s also a new trend of getting married while on the road. For the adventurous travelers who are greed for love and exploring new destinations, couples do their research for the legal regularities, pack their bridal dress and go to the deam spot to tie the knot. This might be the crown on their love, but also for the what traveling actually means to them.
Ever since my big world trip 5 years ago, I’ve been unstoppable. I’ve been to over 10 additional countries since then, and I’m not slowing down anytime soon. Travel inspired me to live life on my own terms. I know there are more important things than material objects, and I value my experiences. Travel makes you an awesome person because it prepares you for everything. It gives you the confidence to live life as you want, and it gives you the freedom to define your own limits!