When you talk about travel, the first thing that comes to mind is recreation, something that we do in our vacation or free days for fun, most people do consider travel as a leisure activity only, but what if I tell you that it can be much more than that? There are far more benefits to traveling than just de-stress yourself while you enjoy your pina colada in front of the pool, especially if you are traveling abroad.
Besides de-stressing yourself, which is indeed a fact, traveling can also improve your health and help you learn a new language, but the importance of traveling goes far beyond that. It completely changes the way you see the world and interact with other people and the environment, and this by itself is already a good reason why it’s important to travel the world.
If you manage to take the best of your travels, you will see that they can become valuable experiences not only of fun but also of learning. Thinking about that, I have compiled a list of reasons why traveling is important and the benefits of traveling in our lives.
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Why is it important to travel the world
Most people travel for vacation, a chance to be free of the daily life routine, and to spend time with their family. It is by itself good enough.
However, only a few people realize the positive effects of international travel, which are many, from healthy reasons to self-esteem, to personal growth. It changes you as a person, and shapes the way you see the world, and how you react to different situations.
It was never so easy to travel the world as it is nowadays, so if you are living in this generation, you should consider yourself lucky, to begin with.
I know it is not something simple for our mindset, it is not an easy decision to go out of your comfortable and secure house, to see the world, it may sound threatening, and it is, but trust me, it is so rewarding.
If you are still not convinced, take a look at this list of why traveling is important, and please, if you dream about traveling abroad but feel afraid of taking the first steps, maybe you don’t know where to begin, or you don’t know where to go first, why not sending me an email, perhaps I can help you out! 🙂
And if you are already planning to travel abroad, but are not sure of where to go, check this list of the best countries to travel to for first-timers.
Benefits of Traveling
It takes you out of your Comfort Zone
For young people especially, it is hard to leave your comfort zone, you have lived with your family your whole life, have your friends, don’t have big worries, don’t need to pay bills, live in a city where people know you since a kid perhaps. Leaving the comfort zone sounds more like an alien experience that most of us don’t really want to take.
But it’s when we leave our comfort zones that we learn the most, it is in hardship that we grow. It may be hard in the beginning but once you figure out that you are not alone in this world and you can connect to people around you, you will become more confident and with time, more independent.
As I said, it has never been so easy to travel as it is nowadays, everything is so simple, the world is globalized, almost everything is linked, you have access to all the information you want or need in the palm of the hand, this must be enough to decrease in half your worries!
Develop cultural sensitivity
Sometimes you might think your country is the best or has the best culture, but the truth is that your country is just one in the middle of many others, care to feel small here, please. Cultural shock can be scary sometimes, but most of the time it gives you a different perspective about things.
Maybe you will like it, maybe you will not, but you will need to adapt yourself to this new culture, break taboos, and accept a different opinion that can be the opposite of yours.
But in the world of culture, nothing is really right or wrong, it is just a matter of perspective, and we need to deal with it.
Perhaps you will come across a different way to look at something, and it will change your life, maybe you will find out that something that is such a big issue for you, is just a simple matter that shouldn’t be taken as a problem in other cultures, and it will make your life so much better!
You have contact with different people from a different country and get to know other cultures and costumes. All this gives you a sense of existence, making you realize the world is not summarised in yourself or your city or country, helping you to understand your place in the universe.
It breaks egocentrism and makes you think more about others. Teaches you to respect other people and cultures and makes you less selfish. It breaks taboos that you may have with this or that people, and change your point of view towards someone.
Maybe you think that these people are weird, or those people are harsh, but after you finally get in contact with them, you will notice that your thoughts were just stereotypes.
While traveling you have a big chance to learn another language, at least the basics! English is almost an international language and very dear for those who travel but only because you have the means to communicate, doesn’t mean you can’t learn the local language!
Having to contact full time with people who speak other languages is the easiest way to learn it, better than only taking classes.
Of course, classes are great as it is how you will learn the grammar rules, etc., but to be fluent and develop conversation skills in this new language, nothing better than going out, trying, failing, and trying again!
And don’t worry about learning a language that you “will never use again in my life”. You never know when it will be useful. People used to tell me Arabic was pointless until I found myself lost in Brussels and the only person around was a Somali woman who didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak French, BUT AAH HAAAM, we could speak Arabic, the lady showed me the way, BAM! no lost anymore, now tell me Arabic is pointless again!!
Especially for young people, again, we can become pretty insecure with things sometimes, we are insecure to do things alone, to go places, to speak to people, to solve problems, to look for a job, to start in a new job, we are insecure about getting lost and asking for help!
Plus we can say that this is an anxious generation, I have never heard about so many people having anxiety as we have nowadays.
When you start traveling, you will be taking most of these things as a normal routine, we lose fears, we get used to things, we learn to live by ourselves and with time we start building confidence in ourselves.
We learn that it is not such a big issue talking to people, as this is the easiest way to get help if you are lost, for example. If you are a solo traveler, you will have to start making new friends, or over time, you will have to do things alone, and you will see it is not that scary monster you thought it was once.
Life experiences are what defines you
The first time I heard that it made so much sense. I totally clicked! Your being is defined by what happens to it during life, the situations you put yourself in today are what will define you tomorrow, it is from the experiences that we learn, we change.
Traveling will provide you with so many different experiences that you wouldn’t have if you keep your bum on the sofa for the rest of your life, it will open your mind, and again, make you adapt to different situations.
Observe wildlife in their natural habitat
Remember when you were a kid and used to go to the zoo to watch animals locked in their cages doing what they probably wouldn’t be doing if they could choose?
Traveling allows you to watch those same animals in their REAL habitat, you can observe them keeping on their daily lives, living just like they would if humans didn’t exist. The sense of dividing your own space with a wild animal is just surreal.
Few people have the chance to admire them in their real habitat, and those that do, don’t want to go back to the zoo, ever!
It is so rewarding to be part of their habitat, even for a few minutes, and have the conscience of so.
Bring to the reality everything you watched on documentaries
Watching a documentary on TV is always interesting. I have always loved that since I was a kid, I used to spend hours watching Discovery Channel or Animal Planet. But seen from the distance it is hard to acknowledge the reality is all this.
It is just like a movie, something that perhaps even happens, but somewhere far away from me and that is not interfered by me.
But when you finally travel to a destination that you watched the documentary about, that’s the moment when everything becomes tangible.
Learn about the history of the world and civilization
Reading books and watching documentaries are always very educative. But nothing is more educative than going to the place yourself and learning about the history, culture, and all the rest, from the source! You will not only learn in your own experience but also get the proof with your own eyes!
Needless to say that seeing history and culture firsthand is way more immersive, than watching it from a half-world distance right?
This text was originally written and posted in December 2017 and updated in February 2022. New information has been added and links have been updated so that it could offer a better experience to the reader.