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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