I was bitten by the travel bug when I was 18 years old and driving across the US from Pennsylvania to California. I saw a lot of the country: Memphis, Albuquerque, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Hollywood, the Pacific Coast Highway, and a host of other places on the return. On that trip, I learned why we should travel and knew that in the future, I wanted to explore as frequently as my lifestyle and budget would permit.
In my twenties, I ventured across the pond for the first time and came home a changed person. Experiencing the culture of the UK was eye-opening and only reaffirmed how passionate I was about travel, and how I would continue to visit new places and see new things, whether I was traveling to another part of my own country or globetrotting abroad.
Travel does more for us than we could ever imagine. Traveling to foreign places influences our views of the world, our tolerance of other cultures, and our inherent need to feel connected to people no matter how they look, act, or speak.
Even with the best of intentions, though, life gets in the way for some of us – a relationship, an aging family member or pet, finances, and limited time off from a job are all factors that impact how often we take a trip. Sometimes, we have to put travel, which is often considered a luxury and not a necessity, on hold.
What’s more, the state of the world causes doubt and insecurity, so some of us choose to hang closer to home rather than venture to a new place because we’d rather be surrounded by what feels safe and familiar. Despite the conflict in the world and the notion that travel is more dangerous than say, five or ten years ago, I believe that traveling is more important than ever, and here’s why.
HERE’S WHY WE SHOULD TRAVEL.
Travel encourages us to meet new people.
Whether we travel alone or in a group, I promise, meeting people along the way is inevitable. Making friends is one of the hidden advantages of traveling.
But we also learn about ourselves.
Opening ourselves up to learn about other people and the way in which they live helps us learn more about who we are. We form our belief systems and opinions. We realize that we can do things we didn’t think we were capable of, and become better human beings in the process.
It encourages self-confidence.
I can attribute my independence to taking trips on my own. Whether I was flying home for the holidays, heading to London to meet up with friends, or driving long distances by myself, those solo adventures have given me confidence that I wouldn’t have developed otherwise.
It enriches our world.
Seeing sights we’ve only read about in books; eating foods we’ve never eaten; accepting the cultures of distant places, whether domestic or abroad –– all make us more well-rounded individuals so we can lead richer lives.
Travel forces us to see that people are more alike than they are different.
I believe that no matter where people are born or what language they speak, most want the same things out of life. Love. Family. Friendship. Happiness. Success. Support. Stability. Peace. To quote the great Maya Angelou, “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
Travel is the greatest unifier.
Travel remains the most obvious way to bring people together, whether sharing a meal, learning to speak a new language, or observing and appreciating different customs and cultures. In my opinion, there’s nothing that is a greater unifier than travel. In the words of a dear old friend from Newcastle Upon Tyne, England –– “Darling, we’re all on the same planet.”