I want to travel the world! Everybody should travel. You should travel; your mum should travel; your ex’s new partner’s grandad should travel! This is a post on why you should travel.
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? Do I have the right reasons to travel? What if, by travelling, my whole life careers headfirst into one giant burning, awesomely-devastating wreckage on the highway of life? (Metaphorically, of course.)
Well, I’m here to tell you that this will literally never happen. I’m here to tell you that you should travel 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, and there are thousands more why you should get your face out of the screen (after you finish reading this, of course), go book a ticket, pack a bag, and leave.
Fortunately, for you, I’m a busy bee and don’t have time to list ten-million-billion reasons why you should travel the world. Instead here’s just ten.
The 10 Reasons Why You Should Travel NOW
Ready for some heartfelt lessons in life and love and pain and trials and tribulation? Because that’s what travel is all about. And that’s why people should travel.
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 you’re hitchhiking 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. Speaking of…
2. 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 but 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. People zoom in and out of your life like there’s a buzzer attached until a special one comes along. Suddenly, you find yourself both going in the same direction. Suddenly, you have a friend that you never would have had you stayed at home.
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 sunrise up over the ocean and hearing the jungle behind you come to life as the light dances on the sand. To find a love that truly reflects the freedom and independence of the road is another reason why you should travel.
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.
4. Volunteering opportunities
If you fancy giving back whilst travelling, there are loads of ways to get involved with reputable organisations. Here’s a quick list for volunteering abroad:
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 kids. Volunteering is about connecting with people. It is about giving back to the planet.
Everybody should travel and everybody should, at some point, volunteer abroad. It is a potentially life-changing experience that will allow you to see another side of the world you have very little knowledge about.
Another reason to travel by volunteering is that you’ll 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 also milk a pretty mean goat!
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5. New skills
You’ll gain other new skills too but not just from volunteering! Whether it’s learning how to drive a motorbike (or manual), 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!
6. You appreciate the little things
Another reason why you need to travel is that it will teach you to appreciate more and worry less. The more you travel, the greater your perspective will be. The more you’ll understand just how truly blessed you are.
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, or the hot water running out mid-shower, really don’t seem like that big of 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 with a finely rolled J.
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.
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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 travelling, 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.
Since taking the next step and becoming an online entreneaur, I’ve also become very aware of how how to use my time wisely. I’ve perfected many productivity skills over the years – one in particular is my new “Two Phone System:”
9. Improved job prospects
Increased confidence, a friendly personality, honesty, charitable deeds, a greater skill-set and the ability to function well under pressure: that’s why you should travel. 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.
Convinced you should travel yet? Here’s some more reading.
Here, before you travel (because now you totally agree that you should travel), have a look at this list. It’s a little summary of some of the best pieces on this site that will get you inspired and started. It’s a kick-start to your brand-new-fan-fucking-tastic life as a swahbuckling adventure!
- Budget Backpacking 101
- The Best Backpacking Gear
- The Backpacking Packing List
- Best Travel Backpacks
- Safety Travelling Tips
- Backpacking Travel Tips
- Guide to Hostel Life
- Travel Jobs – Make Money Travelling
Oh, and seriously, get travel insurance. It’s a necessity.
Reasons You Should Travel #10: Change is Inevitable
Remember before how I said that people always hold themselves back? That they wonder if ‘now is the right time to travel’. I’m gonna tell you a secret.
Right now, you’re dying. Every breath you take is bringing you closer to your timely end. There will never be a good time to travel.
Someone will always be sick. Somebody will always be heartbroken. Work is always going to be stressful and you will always find every reason under the sun to not travel. That’s why you should travel: because time is now.
Ever heard of ‘Rocking Chair Theory’? It states that for every important decision you must make in life, picture yourself 80 to 90-years-old, sitting on your porch in your rocking chair, thinking back at the life you’ve lived. When you reminisce over this decision, which choice will you regret not having taken more?
For me, when I’m that age, I’m starting to learn I will have very little to regret. If you’re reading this now in that state of limbo, on that tightrope, don’t wait. Close this tab, open Skyscanner, and book a flight.
Don’t wait another breath. There will always be another job. Go and travel.
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