Here’s a harsh reality: there’s someone that is a lot like you who is far better than you in just about every way. Your boss likes this person more than you. Your work friends do too. It gets deeper: your closest friends like this person better. Your siblings think more highly of this person than you. Your significant other and yes, your own mother prefer this person to you. Who is this? This superior being?
This way better person is YOU… after a well-planned, transformational, life-altering trip. Very few things in life are more valuable than smart travel. Quite simply, it must be done. Sooner rather than later it is very important to travel the world. Here’s why:
Travel is one of the best ways to examine your life
It is almost impossible to be objective about your life when you are living the day-to-day of the rat race. If you are distracted by work, traffic, bills, time pressures and all the other realities of life at home, you rarely get to give serious thought to what needs to change about your life. Instead, you hunker down and run faster on the hamster wheel. Life passes and before you know it, huge chunks of it are gone and you’ve lived your life on autopilot. You’ve wasted your life.
If this thought depresses you, plan to go on a major trip. Everything changes. Your schedule is different, your scenery, the people around you and the entire culture around you. This allows you to look at your life with some healthy distance and decide what is working and what really isn’t. This objectivity will allow you to examine your life and make critical, life-changing decisions before it is too late.
Travel allows for forgiveness
The space that travel allows is very healing. It is a time that allows you to let go of frustrations and realize that there are bigger things in life than holding on to grudges and anger – whether directed at others or yourself. This is really healthy. It is almost spiritual. And it is really doable when you are traveling because your dramatically new surroundings help you look at old hurts and problems in a new way. You will be able to see how past wrongs – whether those of others or your own – should in no way be allowed to dictate your future.
Travel is the ultimate adventure
If you dictionary.com the word “adventure”, this is definition #3 “a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome”. If we go by this definition, there is nothing that holds a candle to travel. For those who prefer less “hazardous action” there is always the #1 definition “an exciting or very unusual experience”. However you choose to look at the adventure of travel and regardless of how much risk you want to rack up, travel is a complete from with the soul-sapping dreariness that defines the 9 to 5 grind that most of us put up with in exchange for vague visions of a retirement at 65+ when we can hopefully get some rest from it all.
Travel gives you more to offer the world
Travel is not at all a selfish undertaking. In fact, if you approach it with a service-focused mentality, it will grow you in all the right ways. There is nothing that completes your education quite like travel. It broadens you. It makes you a better person. It sounds funny, but in many ways you are doing those around you a favor by exposing yourself to the education that is travel.
Travel is the ultimate freedom
One of the things we crave most in life is the freedom to spend our time doing what we want with the people that are closest to us. No matter how much money you make, if you cannot spend it on meaningful experiences with those you love, what exactly is the point of it all? Travel can offer a taste of exactly this. I love the way the amazing travel writer/blogger, Rolf Potts describes vagabonding/extended travel: “a privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasizes creativity, adventure, awareness, simplicity, discovery, independence, realism, self-reliance and the growth of the spirit.”
Many of you CultureMutt readers are big travelers. Feel free to add to the above list. Hit me up in the comments!