If you’re anything like how I was, you’re at a point in your life where you don’t know where to go. You’re scared of trying anything new, but you’re also terrified of being stuck in the same place. However, taking that leap to book a plane ticket to a new place seems almost impossible so you’re tempted to do the responsible thing; which may be go back to school, get a job, and start a family. By all means, there is nothing wrong with that, but it is not what I wanted, and maybe it’s not what you want either. I am going to give you a list of reasons why you should re-consider your options as well.
But wait, you have student loans, you’re working too much and can’t get off work, but despite working so much you’re money seems to disappear quickly between spending it on material items and nights out rather than spending it on something more sustainable. Traveling is achievable for everyone, but it does come down to priorities. About 6 months from graduating college, I realized it was definitely a priority for me and I took the steps to make it happen. By traveling, you open the door to a world of possibilities and personal growth/development. I will tell you from experience that travel is the most rewarding thing you will ever spend your money on. It’s not only about seeing new places, but it’s about investing in yourself. Once you make that investment, you won’t be able to stop and you’ll always want more.
8 Ways Travel Makes You an Overall Badass
1. Gain “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences
Let’s act like your bucket list is more than some writing on a piece of paper and it actually full of goals that you are passionate about and that you are determined to make happen. This takes a lot in itself, but it is so worth it! Going after your dreams, conquering fears, and trying new things can be intimidating, but it is the only way out of your comfort zone. When traveling, you learn to say “YES” more and that is how you fulfill your “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences. It allows for you to try things that you never dreamed of being able to do and that’s pretty awesome. Just in this last year I have done so many “firsts” during my travels and it is so rewarding to look back on and see that on top of conquering fears that I am doing it in the most unbelievable of places.
2. Learn to exhibit gratitude
My favorite part about traveling is definitely taking in the beauty of a new place. Learning about new cultures, observing the colors and patterns of a city, and taking hundreds of photos to capture the beauty of it are just a part of the travel experience. However, travel isn’t always pretty. Sometimes you find yourself in places where you really start to see your personal privilege, especially when traveling through poverty stricken areas. You learn to appreciate the little things. When traveling you begin to grasp how little is actually needed to be happy. As long as you have a roof over your head and food in your belly, you realize that you have the world.
3. Start to break stereotypes
You learn about cultures. You learn that we are all humans on this earth trying to be successful in the pursuit of happiness. Each culture and country has it’s history and it’s your job when traveling to learn it. For example, after living in Spain for a year I can tell you that there is a lot more to the country than Flamenco and chasing bulls. Each region in Spain is so beautifully unique and has it’s own history that is worth knowing about. The stereotypes that society are build are not real.
4. Develop problem solving skills
Traveling always seems perfect, but sometimes there is a disaster waiting to happen, whether it be dealing with a super delayed flight and missing your next one, or getting (actually) lost in a new city, whatever it is, traveling teaches you to go with the flow and handle the situation like a pro. You let go and realize that the world is out of your control. Babes, it’s just life. While these things may be a nightmare at the time, they prepare you on how to handle uncomfortable situations with ease and without too much thought. Being able to navigate yourself out of a bad situation is a very beneficial characteristic to have. You also become very self reliant and understand that you are calling the shots. You learn to make decisions quickly and intelligently without putting too much thought into them.
5. Running away from your fears is a thing of the past.
For some reason, climbing that huge mountain in Europe or navigating a whole country alone without problems will give you a huge sense of feeling invincible. The truth is that in our current world there are scary and unfortunate events happening everywhere and it is completely out of your control…but it isn’t worth putting your life on hold for. You are limitless and unstoppable. Bad things can happen at literally anytime, whether you’re alone in a new country or sitting at home; all you can do is prepare yourself as best as possible and go for it. Traveling will teach you that your fears are so much smaller than this life we are all living.
6. You see the bigger picture
This one is very important. It is so easy to get caught up in our social, family, and work lives to the point where it feels like the world revolves around us. But with traveling, you see things. Things that knock the breath right out of your lungs and make you realize that there is so much out there. A world that is so much bigger than we can even imagine.
7. You boost your social skills
Solo travel doesn’t mean lonely. When traveling, you meet people from ALL parts of the world. People that have had completely different life experiences than you. They may speak another language, have grown up on a different continent, or maybe you just have different interests. By meeting these people, you learn how to communicate and really listen to someone; and they might even say something that really inspires you. The people that you meet each trip are what make it so great.
8. Lastly, you grow as a person
Traveling leaves you with (usually) a lot of quiet time, whether it be on trains, in a hostel, or coffee shop; maybe even on top of a mountain or relaxing on a beach. These moments are some of the most cherishable of your trips because they allow for countless moments of self-reflection. Traveling will teach you a lot about your strengths and weaknesses and you learn how to build on them. You also learn about what you want out of this life. You find passions that drive you and that keep you going everyday. Passions that make it worth waking up in the mornings.
Thank you for reading this post! I hope it inspires you to step outside of your comfort zone and realize what opportunities are waiting for you. What have you learned from traveling? Have you noticed any personal growth? What are your experiences? Comment below! I would love to hear your feedback.
Cover photo by Sebastian Voortman