Traveling isn’t just about spending time on the beach, getting a tan. Or spending hours on a plane, and getting off in a new continent, in a different season on another side of the world. These are just small pieces of the experience of travel, an experience that, if done right, can bring us great benefits.
It’s like the Emerson quote goes: Life is a journey, not a destination–and we couldn’t agree with him more. Because traveling is something that changes us, inside and out, and that fulfills our lives in unexpected, exciting ways. Here’s how:
1 You gain perspective on your problems
Many of us, in our everyday lives, feel weighed down by our problems. Whether you’ve stayed late at the office the last few nights, worrying about the perfect logo design for a new product, or you’re spending hours worrying about what kind of job you’re going to have by the time you’re 30–traveling gets you away from those problems. It gives you perspective, reminds you that there’s a larger way to look at the world, to understand that however large your problems may feel, oftentimes, they’re less important than you realize.
2 You learn about other cultures–and become more open-minded
Especially for Americans, the majority of whom don’t even have a passport, but who are citizens of the world’s most powerful country–it’s very important to learn about other cultures. If only to understand where your favorite food comes from in a small town in Italy, it’s important to learn about other cultures, what their values are, and how, in a strange way, their cultures may not be so different from your own, in the end. Understanding that people, no matter where they are from, experience the same emotions and experiences that all of us do, from falling in love to raising children, makes us more open-minded and able to appreciate the entire world.
3 You get better at socializing
Especially in the beginning, it can be scary to get on a plane, alone, and know what you’re going to do with your life. Many travelers experience culture shock the first time they travel, closing themselves off from the world. But then, something changes inside you, and you start to reach out to the travelers around you. By staying in hostels and connecting with strangers from around the world, you’ll soon start to practice starting off conversations and making friendships fast.
4 Travel makes us more creative
Artists have known this secret for a long time: travel makes us more creative. That’s why there are so many writing residencies abroad, and why so many artists spent years traveling and learning both from their experiences and other cultures. It goes back to the fact that we get more perspective and clarity when we’re traveling, and that we become more open-minded: it helps our imaginations grow. So whether you’re a storyteller, painter, or musician, definitely consider traveling to get inspired.
5 Get out of your comfort zone
You’ll also become more fearless because of travel. More and more, whether planned or not, you’re going to end up in situations where you end up outside of your comfort zone. For example, you may have to book a boat trip from one Grecian island to another using your greatest skills of haggling–without ever having haggled before. The same goes for adventures such as sky-diving, or even the seemingly more low-key (but not low-key) adventure of venturing out and dating locals if you’re spending a long time somewhere on your trip.
6 Get a sense of self–and get empowered
Another benefit of travel is finding yourself. There’s something about putting yourself in new situations and places that somehow simplifies the task of understanding who you are and giving you a renewed sense of self. Away from your friends and family, away from your ordinary life and responsibilities, you are suddenly with yourself alone, and you’ll get to understand exactly who you are. Not only that, but who you want, and what meaning you want to make for yourself. It’s empowering, and it’s life-changing, too.
7 Lower stress
Additionally, travel lowers your stress. Even though the act of traveling has some stressful parts to it–like booking the right flight, and making sure you don’t miss your train–it’s actually emotionally healthy for you because it gives you a break from your everyday life. Especially if you’ve got a busy schedule, spending a lot of your time on learning about a Facebook ads guide to follow for your social media company, having a little bit of time off will give you the break you deserve and need.
As you can see, there are a huge number of benefits to travel–benefits that help you both inside and out, and in many areas of your life. So if you want to improve your life and yourself, get online and see what travel deals are out there–it’ll really make a big difference.
Where was the last place you traveled? Did you experience any of these benefits?