At least once a year for as long as I can remember, I’ve travelled to a new place that I’ve never been to before. The journeys I’ve been on and places that I’ve travelled to haven’t always been easy or comfortable, but they’ve always taught me something and I’ve always returned home feeling like something has changed in me.
Here are six things I’ve learned from a lifetime of travel.
1. Travel is good for your health, happiness and overall wellbeing
The first, and most obvious lesson I’ve learned in my 30-odd years on this earth is that travel is synonymous with wellbeing. It refreshes you, gets you moving and exercising, encourages relaxation and a positive mental attitude… There are so many ways in which it increases your wellbeing in fact, that it would be impossible to list them all, but back in March I had a go anyway, and came up with 50. I’m sure you can think of a few that I missed!
2. Travel teaches you new things about yourself
When you’re placed in a new environment that’s outside your comfort zone, you learn new things about yourself: how you react under stress and pressure; how adaptable you can be; how you make friends; your preferences; your limits. Every day is a learning curve, and you’ll always return home understanding a little bit more about what makes you YOU.
3. Travel gives you a new perspective on the world
It opens your eyes to new ways of living and new ways of looking at the world around us. It awakens in us a curiosity that we wouldn’t otherwise have. It increases our humility and ability to be humble. Without travel, you wouldn’t be able to experience all of the good that exists in the world, and would be left to solely rely on negative news reports and what you learn in school or from the internet. Travel awakens you to the fact that there is more kindness and love in the world than evil and fear, and increases your belief in the goodness of humanity.
4. Travel inspires you
Scientists have found that people who integrate a new identity into their culture, through travel, or living and working abroad, are more creative and open-minded. Travel forces you to think out of the box, and to use your mind resourcefully to create opportunities for yourself. Time away from the stresses of everyday life is also essential to get the creative juices flowing. It’s been proven time and time again that time off is vital for inspiration and productivity.
5. Travel breaks down barriers and erases prejudice
Fully immersing yourself in a culture that is completely different from your own gives you a whole new level of understanding. This understanding will teach you some things about the differences between people, but ultimately, it will help you to understand that we are all, deep down, essentially the same.
6. Travel makes you a better person
People who travel are more appreciative, more fulfilled, make friends more easily, are more resilient and more willing to try new things. Most importantly, travel teaches us all to find beauty in the smallest things in life and to find joy and gratitude even when they previously seemed out of reach.