We all have things we do that other people don’t understand. I have had more people than I can count tell me I’m nuts for all of the traveling I’ve done and the way I choose to live my life. I understand that they don’t get it, but quite frankly, I don’t get staying in one place all your life, so we’re even. If you aren’t a traveler, here are 10 reasons to travel that will hopefully change your mind.
My History with Travel
I have always moved around. I was born in Germany, because my dad was in the U.S. Air Force. We moved around enough that I didn’t go to the same school two years in a row until I was in high school. After high school, I too joined the U.S. Air Force, so I continued moving around. In 1997, my husband was looking for a new job opportunity and found a job that required constant travel. It was a job where our whole family could move with him wherever he worked. I was all over that, so off we went. He is still at that same job and one of the biggest benefits to me is all of the places we have been able to travel.
Something that also baffles my friends is that I don’t get afraid when moving to a new place, especially another country. I can honestly say the only time I moved that I was afraid was when I moved to South Korea on my own, when I was 20. It was my first duty station in the Air Force and I had never moved on my own before. Really, I shouldn’t have been afraid. I loved it there! Now when I move or visit someplace, I look at it as a new adventure that I’m excited to start.
Learn Other Cultures
This is huge to me and probably one of the most important reasons to travel. I have friends and family who have never been outside of their place in the world. Some have never been more than 4 hours away from their town. They are happy there and that is great for them. However, we live in a great big world, full of different cultures and traditions. My personal opinion is that the more we learn about the people outside of our circles, the more we will appreciate and accept others. That does not mean you have to go out and join someone’s church or eat the way someone else eats. I do think it will make you more tolerant and knowledgeable of other people. Opening your eyes to the different and good world is an excellent thing in my book.
Discover New Places
You’ve done your research. You found the place you want to go and you’ve read all about it. Does that mean there is nothing new to discover? Absolutely not. No matter how many posts and articles you read, your experience will never be exactly like everything you’ve read. I have been to places that other people have absolutely hated and had the best time. Remember, attitude is everything in life, but especially when traveling. Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path and plan your own route. Also, make sure you don’t over plan because often times the things that aren’t on your list are the very best things.
Meet New People
I am not a people person. It’s true. Crowds make me very uncomfortable. I like my own company too, so I don’t crave time with very many other people. That being said, I love being someplace new and having a conversation with a complete stranger. When you’re traveling, it’s often the best way to learn things about a place. Talk to the local people and find the best restaurants, beaches or places to visit. Most of them probably won’t be in your guidebook. Ask about their lives too. You will find out a lot about a place by how the people live. Who knows, you may even made a new friend.
Try New Foods
When you are traveling around, try new foods, cooked the way they were meant to be cooked. Believe it or not, food in China does not taste like we think it does in the United States. It’s true. Also, not everyone in China eats rice. I know. I was shocked! Knock down those stereotypes and learn the way things really are in your travels. This will not only apply to food, so keep your eyes and ears open.
Do New Things
One of my reasons to travel is to do new things. Now, I’m going to say to do them within reason and keep your safety in mind. This does not mean to try some crazy drug or drink a crazy amount of alcohol. That’s not keeping your safety in mind. I’m talking about adventures and activities here. For example, I went parasailing in Martinique. I was super nervous, but my daughter really wanted to go, so we and our friend went. We loved it too. Other options to try might be zip lining, hang gliding, rock climbing or SCUBA diving. I haven’t done all of those things, but I might. Give it a try!
Recharge Your Battery
We all need to recharge our inner batteries sometimes. What better way than to take a vacation outside of your normal life. Go somewhere to be pampered or somewhere you can go on lots of beautiful, peaceful hikes. Stroll through some museums and discover a land’s past. Sit in a café, sip your favorite beverage and watch the people of that area. My personal favorite it to pick a beautiful beach and snorkel for hours on end. There are loads of ways to recharge. Pick one and just do it.
Get Closer to Your Travel Companion
This is especially true if you are a couple with children. My husband and I have been married for 26+ years and always tried to get away once a year, for at least a weekend, without our kids. It’s not that we have bad kids, because we so don’t. However, when you don’t take time for each other, you lose what brought you together. If you don’t have a lot of money, how about traveling someplace great for camping and hiking? We’ve done that loads of times. Wherever you go, try to get involved with something fun going on. We went to Carnaval in Martinique. It’s the same as Mardi Gras in the U.S. It was a fun experience to do together. Whatever you do, have fun with it!
Appreciate the Life You Lead
Traveling to places that have fewer or different privileges than your country or that maybe makes you a little uncomfortable, will help you to appreciate the life you lead regularly. Go to a far away place to volunteer or when you travel somewhere, don’t stay in the fancy, five star hotels. Find a clean, safe AirBNB in someone’s home to take in a little bit of how the people live where you are visiting.
Learn About Yourself
What do I mean by learning about yourself as one of my reasons to travel? Simply, by getting out of your comfort zone or not having all of your normal modern amenities, you will learn what you are capable of doing. This is also true when you do things you have never tried before. About 12 years ago, we were on a family cruise for my dad’s birthday. On one of our stops, my girls wanted to go rock climbing. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but decided since they wanted to go, we would. I was so afraid, but I did it and I loved it. Now I know I apparently don’t mind relying on strangers and a rope for my safety. I also learned that my girls are really great at rock climbing.
Don’t Regret Never Going
I read this quote once: “In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” and I think about it sometimes when I’m deciding if I want to do something or not. Usually if I want to do something, I just do it. Unless, of course, it involves a lot of money or might affect someone else. I don’t want to go through life wishing I had done something when the time has passed. Plus, I’m getting older and have loads of stuff to cram in before I can’t.
What are some things you want to do and what is holding you back. I hope after you’ve read all of this, one thing is to travel. If it is, don’t let time pass you by. Plan a trip and go. Check out the posts below to get you started.
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