I get it. You live in an amazing city, love your job and your social life is actually, well social. You’re also insanely attractive. No seriously, you’re gorgeous. Keep up the good work. All things considered, you’re the human equivalent of a Rolls Royce. But here’s a secret, you can be even better, and traveling is how you’ll make it happen.
Expand Your Comfort Zone: Very few things can push the boundaries of your comfort zone like touching down in a foreign place. Everything is different; sites, sounds, smells. Everything. When you’re in a new place, you’re getting a hands on crash course on how people live outside of your little bubble, no matter how big said bubble actually is. When (if) you go back home, you’ll notice and appreciate things you took for granted just a few weeks earlier. You’ll also have a much better understanding of wherever you visited. Whether you fly solo, with a partner or with a group of friends, travel develops you. Don’t settle to the confines of your neighbourhood.
Improve Your Social Skills: Meeting new people is arguably the coolest part of travel. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most socially awkward person on the planet, traveling forces you to meet new people. And this is good, because like anything else, practice makes perfect. The more strangers you meet, the easier it gets to meet more people and refine your social skills. Humans are made to socialize. Contrary to what popular media would have you believe, people are inherently good. The next time you’re out, strike up a conversation with a complete stranger — On a bus, train, plane, walking down the street, you name it. Odds are, if you’re cool, they’ll be cool, and even more willing to chat. Don’t be shy. You may even meet a life partner or life long friend.
Become Motivated & Organized: I’ve always found that the best way to get things done is to write them down. Make yourself a list of travel goals and the ways you plan on crossing them off your list (be specific and realistic). This gives you something definite to work towards and will keep you focused on your endgame. Your list can include the amount of money you want to save before you travel places to go, friends to see, dishes to try and more. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Learn New Languages: In a previous post, I stated that the traditional (socially acceptable) approach to life is not for everyone. Education is no exception to the rule. Flat out, some people don’t learn well in an overly structured academic setting. There’s no better way to quickly learn a new language than to fully immerse yourself in that language and the culture that comes with it. If travel were a person, it would do this for you with its eyes closed. The upside to speaking more than one language is evident, better CV, better communication with foreigners, less difficulty ordering your favorite food or white wine at that Italian restaurant you love. Take a leave of absence from work. Take some time off school. Go learn a new language.
Reduce Anxiety: Unless you’re traveling for work purposes, travel is a great way to lower anxiety. Don’t get me wrong; the occasional “staycation” can do you some good. Fix that leaky faucet, mow the lawn, yadiyadiyada (no offense to plumbers and landscapists). The benefit of travel is that you really get to create separation from your daily life, a change of space can do that. Preoccupation with your day-to-day routine goes out the window, along with stress and all things anxious. You become the star of the show. Worry about things back home, when you get back home. You’ll have some extra bounce in your step from your time away.
Increase Patience: Lets face it, sometimes, not so amazing things happen. Perhaps a torrential downpour delays your flight, hurricane (insert middle aged person’s name here) strikes just as you’re about to hike to the top of an inactive volcano or worse, you have the only seat that isn’t occupied by a high school’s end of the year field trip to Europe. All of these things, though potentially frustrating, teach you that things do not always go as planned. Here’s the good news, there’s always a next time and if you’re creative enough, there are usually plenty of other things to do. It’s as easy as speaking to a local or a quick Internet search. Waiting is a part of life that can’t always be controlled. Why sweat it? Travel is teaching you patience. Pay attention.
Travel is about discovery of self. It’s not about leaving a location as much as it’s about leaving the boredom of routine and bad habits. Maybe you’re on the verge of a burnout and you just need some time off from your 9-5. Maybe you’re going through a personal crisis and need to do some soul searching. Whatever the reason, travel can probably help. Pack a few things. A better version of yourself awaits.