9 Ways Travel Will Make You A Better Person

backpacking southern France

I want to travel the world. Everybody should travel. You, your friends, your family, your colleagues, your grandmother – it is never too late to hit the road on a life-changing adventure.

Many people are scared that they are not quite cut out for a life on the road or that travelling may somehow damage their career prospects. Is now really the right time to travel? What if, by travelling, you screw up your career and can’t find a job when you come back?

Well, I’m here to tell you that this will literally never happen.I want to travel the world and, frankly, there is nothing else that shall do. There are thousands of reasons why everybody should go travelling, at least once in their lives, but here are ten of the best reasons why literally everybody should travel.

The Broke Backpacker in San Blas Colombia

1. Increased confidence

Whether you’re a shy kid or accustomed to being the centre of attention, travelling the world will increase your confidence. You will meet new and exciting people every day, conquer perilous peaks and confusing bus routes, eat strange foods and haggle for enchanted lamps. Travelling, whether your hitching through a war-zone or admiring cathedrals in Europe, will develop your confidence in both yourself, your ability to problem solve and your ability to make new friends.

Backpacking in Sagada Philippines

2. New Friends

Speaking of new friends, some of the best people in my life are folks I randomly bumped into upon the road. Many newbie travellers worry that if they head off by themselves then they may be lonely, this simply isn’t the case. There are so many solo travellers and so many different ways to meet people that you will never truly be alone. I backpacked around India for over a year, all by myself. I was very rarely alone. I made lasting friendships with other backpackers and with locals. Travelling is kind of like speed-dating except with friends, if you don’t like someone, you don’t have to see them again. If you do like someone, you go in the same direction. It’s pretty neat.

 The Broke Backpacker on a beach

3. Falling in love

Love, or lust, is always around the corner when you’re on the road. The connections you make with people, especially romantic ones, are heightened whilst travelling. There is nothing quite like holding the hand of a new lover whilst watching the sun rise up over the ocean and hearing the jungle behind you come to life as the light dances on the sand. I know many couples who have met on the road and in my opinion, a relationship formed with somebody else whom you meet travelling is the strongest relationship of all. Go, travel, explore, let down your guard and let someone in. Travellers look out for each other, it’s kind of like a tribe and in general, on the road, away from Facebook and all that other crap, people are more honest with each other.

The Broke Backpacker Volunteering in Israel

4. Volunteering opportunities

If you fancy giving back whilst travelling, there are loads of ways to get involved with reputable organisations. Volunteering obviously looks great on any CV but it’s not really about that and it’s certainly not about getting a new Facebook profile picture of you and a bunch of school children. Volunteering is about connecting with people. It is about giving back to the planet. Everybody should travel and everybody should, at some point, volunteer. It is a potentially life-changing experience that will allow you to see another side of the world you have very little knowledge about. Volunteering is also a great way to hone new skills; I’ve always been handy with a pick-axe but after volunteering I can lay water piping and work with cement with confidence. I strongly recommend checking out Workaway. 

Surfing in San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua

5. New skills

Whether it’s learning how to drive a motorbike, practising your Spanish in deepest, darkest Venezuela or simply getting the hang of haggling, travelling offers plenty of opportunities for those seeking to widen their skill-set. Whilst travelling, I have learnt how to write, how to pitch, how to take decent pictures, how to haggle, drive, make new friends and how to play beer-pong. I’m particularly proud of that last one. Seriously though, before I went travelling, I was pretty good at Squash. Now, I can speak three languages, I can design an entire website from scratch, I can survive in the desert with little more than a compass and a packet of sherbet lemons, I can read a map, I can barter for a group discount and I can function on just two hours sleep!

Trekking in Annapurnas Nepal

6. You appreciate the little things

When you’ve survived arduous bus journeys, wandered through slum communities in Colombia and seen the sorry state of hospitals in developing countries, you learn to appreciate your ‘normal life’. Suddenly, first-world problems, such as your iPhone charger not quite reaching the bed, really don’t seem like that big a deal anymore. When you’ve met with some of the world’s poorest people and see how they are happy with a simple existence, it really does change how you feel about material possessions. Travelling taught me to not worry so much about what other people think of me and to instead take joy in all of the amazing little things that happen to me every day; whether that’s stretching out in the morning or sipping on a piping hot mug of chai.

Festival in Pushkar India

7. Increased awareness

No matter how you travel you will be sure to find out more about how the world really works. You may have only a basic understanding of history or politics but when you actually delve into a country, meet with its people and get a first-hand view of what’s actually going on you will develop an increased awareness of just how the world works. I knew almost nothing about history, politics or world trade agreements; Now, I’m kind of an amateur expert. I can give you a full-breakdown of why Venezuela has the worst inflation in the world, I can explain both sides of the coin to the two-state solution in Israel and Palestine and I understand how moving goods from one country to another drastically increases their value.

Samurai lessons in Japan

8. Self development

Travelling develops you as a person. When I first went travelling, I had no idea who or what I wanted to be. I’m still figuring it out now but it’s going pretty well. I personally have become a much kinder, more patient individual who is willing to give pretty much anybody the benefit of the doubt. This is true for most travellers, your social skills develop much faster whilst traveling and if you don’t like something about yourself, this is the perfect time to test-drive a new personality. Travelling offers you an unparalleled opportunity to reinvent yourself.

The Broke Backpacker in a giant hammock in Casa Elemento Colombia

9. Improved job prospects

Increased confidence, a friendly personality, honesty, charitable deeds, a greater skill-set and the ability to function well under pressure. Everybody who wants a decent job should travel. Travelling turns you into the ideal candidate for pretty much any role. Not only will you come back with some great stories to tell, the kind of ice-breakers most people can only dream of, but your increased confidence and ability to remain cool under pressure will shine through in any interview. On paper, you stand out. If there are two candidates for a job with identical qualifications, the one who has spent six months volunteering abroad and now speaks Spanish is the obvious choice.

Do not be afraid, take the plunge, the right time to travel is before you get sucked into the working world. If you have already got a proper job, never fear, even three months abroad will give you the opportunity to learn more about both yourself and how the world works. Ask for a career break, it may be the most valuable decision you ever make.

I want to travel the world until I am satisfied…

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  • Avatar Travelwaka says:

    This is really mind-blowing, the advantages of travelling far outweigh the disadvantages. Travelling gives you a better perspective about a place, people, culture, way of life and most importantly allows you create your own experience

  • I was really intrigued with your blog. You are correct about most everything. I am one that has a fear of traveling outside of the United States, but knowing all the people I could meet and all the stuff I could learn about a different area, makes me want to venture out of my comfort zone. Thanks for you blog.

  • absoulity inspiring… really love your articles specially “10 WAYS TRAVEL WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON”

    I want to keep this article on my website to Inspire people…

  • Avatar Rajat says:

    What a wonderful post it is… Truly inspiring

  • Really inspiring and motivating post. Thanks to you and many other bloggers out there I started traveling in April and don’t plan on stopping soon! Thank you 😉 http://www.lucidlucas.com

  • Couldn’t agree more! Travelling is a good excercise on 360°, it helps you see things clearer, develop as a person, head towards the right direction, take decisions and finally shape your life. I enjoyed the read.

  • Avatar Thirumal says:

    I couldn’t agree more on volunteering while traveling. I volunteered at a turtle camp in Mexico last year. It was definitely a life changing experience. I learned a lot about conservation of wildlife and also made some everlasting friendships through the camp. Your post is very inspiring Will!

  • Avatar Patrik says:

    I just got back from an eight-day and tri-city solo travel birthday escapade in Thailand and I couldn’t wait to book my next ticket! Haha. In fact, I have been researching every now and then for my next travel destination.. solo for the second time around!

    I agree with everything in this post. Traveling proves how there is sooo much to see in this world. Great blog post!

  • Avatar Charles McCool says:

    Love your reasons why everyone should travel. Spot on and great job!

  • Avatar Abhishek says:

    Couldn’t agree more Will. I was 18 when I first set out back-packing in the UK by myself. It was an amazing experience. The hidden gems like Norwich and Bath were something else. Haven’t traveled in the past 2 years as I moved to the USA to study. But I’m really itching to give it a go again !

  • Avatar Mary says:

    What an inspiring post! I absolutely agree. I travel, but I have not traveled for more than 2 weeks and I really would like to. My constant worry was, “what if I can’t find work?” All of your points are valid and made me realize that I would come back more qualified than when I left!

  • Damn right these are all true.

    I’m actually volunteering at a local yoga studio, three hours per week of my cleaning services in exchange for free drop in classes. I very much doubt I would have sought out this opportunity back in Scotland!

  • Avatar Anna says:

    Can’t agree more, currently thinking of leaving my tech job temporarily to travel more.

  • Avatar Will Stephenson says:

    Fantastic Post!

    The best one and the one that gives me the most confidence is the idea about getting better job prospects after travelling.

    A lot of people give up their ideas of travel because they think it might hinder their progression in their career and this just isn’t true. It might even find them on a career path they enjoy more, who knows?

    • Avatar Hannah says:

      How do you find work abroad and what do you do if you run out of money? I know it varies obviously but money is the only challenge right now especially having third world currency value mehh, i really wish theres hope for me, I’d love to just see and learn everything before that spark dims out

  • Avatar Stephen says:

    I love your blog dude and I’m inspired by your advice but just one constructive criticism you need to be careful with the word “your”
    Whether your a shy kid or accustomed to being the centre of attention, travelling will increase your confidence. You will meet new and exciting people every day, conquer perilous peaks and confusing bus routes, eat strange foods and haggle for enchanted lamps. Travelling, whether your hitching
    Should be:
    whether “you’re” a shy kid
    and whether “you’re” hitching…
    Noticed it a few times. Just a heads up

  • Well said. Couldn’t agree more! 🙂

  • Avatar vidyarth says:


    Loved your idea on travel and how good it is for everyone to travel once in a while. I love travelling as well, but I am afraid to leave everything behind and taking the plunge. Any suggestions??

    • Avatar Will Hatton says:

      Well man, the answer to your question is within the question… you need to just leave everything and take the plunge. Perhaps experiment by simply stepping out of your comfort zone for short periods of time, a few weeks maybe, first..

  • Avatar Alex says:

    I’ll be heading to university next year, and I want to go backpacking during the summer of 2016. I was just wondering what sort of preparations I will have to make beforehand, such as cost and where would be a good place to start?

    • Avatar Will Hatton says:

      Make sure you have a decent pack and a good pair of shoes 🙂 Prep wise – really, all you need to do, is book flights a while in advance so you get them cheap. Decide on how long you can travel for and go for the maximum length of time, the longer you travel the cheaper it gets (per week) – if your new to the game, choose South East Asia; it’s the best place to start 🙂

  • Avatar Tine says:

    This is so true! But somehow I still find it hard to convince (some) people to travel. They don’t know what they are missing 😉

  • Hi Will,

    Agreed 1000%. On every one.

    I am a different dude from the guy leaving NJ 4 years ago. From depressed security guard to globe trotting, blogger/author, and pro entrepreneur, life is a 180, and all because I hit the road. Nothing to add dude, fab post and a serious call for homebodies to hit the freaking road!


  • Avatar Amanda says:

    Pretty much agree! There are more reasons to travel than not! I travel with my kids and I love that I am teaching them about the world in a way that they will never learn in a classroom alone. I love how they appreciate their home and family after travel.

  • Avatar Tim Hirtle says:

    I find the increase awareness I get from traveling often leaves me disappointed with friends and family at home. They will state some one-sided opinion about a place/culture/people they’ve never seen. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve been there or even lived/worked there, the opinion they’ve formed from watching TV (etc) is the only opinion they want to believe.

  • Avatar Anna says:

    I see! Maybe not the right thing for me but I always admire people who just go and leave the life they had. 🙂

  • Avatar Anna says:

    Your post is pretty inspiring and you brought some ideas to my mind. 🙂
    From my point of view one needs to have some savings to travel the world and quitt the job. So far I am fine with travelling through Europe, but I am missing a lot of pins of many places. So I save money for a next big thing.
    How did you started? Directly travel the world or taking vacation for travelling?


    • Avatar Will Hatton says:

      I pretty much just went for it with a couple of hundred bucks in my pocket, I ran out of money quickly but got good at picking up work when I needed it.. I’ve had a couple of ‘real’ jobs but always casual and never for very long – the road is my home 🙂

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