The first time I traveled abroad I was filled to the brim with excitement. I had just finished my last year of high school and I had made plans to volunteer on an organic farm in France.
I had no idea what the next two months were going to look like – I had no idea that I would soon find myself hitchhiking with a Californian in Toulouse, making vegan cheese with a kick-ass caterer. I didn’t know that I would help build a house out of straw and mud near Bordeaux.
Why travel? For the unexpectedly awesome adventures.
Travel makes us better people by teaching us to be flexible and adapt to new situations. Since my first trip abroad I have become so much more comfortable with the uncertainty of it all. I have even come to welcome it.
Traveling has made me a better person for so many reasons. The randomness, the ups and downs, the weird and awesome people I’ve met along the way …. It’s all made me realize how little of life we can control. It has made me more humble, more adventurous, and dare I say a more amazing human.
These days when I arrive in a new city I am a little less frantic at all the unknowns.
But I am still awed by the newness, uncertainty, and excitement that being in a new culture brings. The space is full of new faces and a foreign language. Whether I am in Warsaw or Auckland or Berlin, I have to figure out on the spot how I am going to navigate this unfamiliar situation to get to my hostel.
Travel teaches me how to think on my feet and how to be adaptable. How will I communicate what I need non-verbally if no one speaks English? How can I find a map? Where can I change money? Do I look like a lost tourist? I don’t want to look like a lost tourist!
Travel doesn’t look as perfect as Instagram makes it out to be. It has ups and downs – but there are so many more ups! Here’s why travel makes you amazing.
1. Traveling Boosts Confidence
According to a study written in Marie Claire, 65% of travelers say that their first experience abroad gave them more confidence. Travel is great for self-confidence because it gives us the opportunity to try new things without external pressures. We can feel empowered to push ourselves yet also go at our own pace.
2. It Makes You More Sociable
Many people think that traveling alone can be lonely and isolating. I find solo travel to be the complete opposite. I never feel more extroverted than when I am traveling. Traveling alone pushes me to talk to new people because I know that this is the best way to get insider tips and make the most out of traveling. I ask people if they have any local recommendations, where their favorite destination is, and if they can give me a ride to another destination.
Tips for making friends while traveling.
3. It Makes You Better At Being Alone
Why travel is great (especially solo travel) comes down to the fact that you can be sociable, or just as easily choose to be alone. I often go out of my way to connect with other travelers (because thats what life is all about, human connection). Equally, though, I am happy to exploring a city or enjoying a meal on my own. It’s brilliant to be comfortable with both.
4. It Makes You A Better Conversationalist
When you’re traveling, being able to talk to people just comes with the territory. You’ve got to be crafty and a good listener when talking with people that are a completely different age or and don’t share the same first language as you do. I’ve learned that oftentimes it is better to listen rather than thinking about how awkward this is or what I am going to say next.
This is a real challenge! We are often very focused on how we are going to respond rather than actively listening to what is being said. Being completely engaged makes it easier to ask follow up questions rather than just talking at each other.
5. You Learn to Enjoy No Cell Service Rather Than Dread It
Having no cell service is a relief – I love it. And the more I travel the more I am convinced that the amount of time humans spend on our phones isn’t healthy. Most people spend more time than they’d like scrolling social media and watching youtube videos. I love when there’s no service while traveling because I can’t check my phone, messages, or social media. It’s grounding to know that there is not choice but to be in the moment.
In fact, I often travel without a phone. Here’s why.
6. You Will Become More Well-Rounded
If you’re open and willing, travel will make you a much more well-rounded human being. Try new things like skydiving, rock climbing, or eating squid. You develop new interests and hobbies from eating weird things (that might be delicious), learning about different histories and visiting museums and galleries. And that is definitely a reason why travel makes you amazing.
7. You Will Get Into Better Physical Shape
Trekking around with a backpack, walking for hours exploring new cities, following your nose to the yummiest eats. Just being a traveler means that you are constantly on the go. Being on the move is great for your health, not to mention all the amazing things you’re learning!
8. You Will Get Better At Self-Care
Traveling long-term can take a mental and physical toll. I’ve learned that traveling slowly, mindfully, and taking the time to not be moving all the time is what I need to stay mentally sane. For others, self-care might mean journaling, treating yourself to a delicious meal, or going to the gym regularly. Being far away from loved ones and a routine just means making the effort to bring those things to you, wherever you are.
Check out my best tips for self-care while traveling.
9. You Will Get Better At Managing Your Finances
Traveling long-term means that you will probably need to set up a budget. Some travelers I meet plan to keep going until they’re out of money, but I think it makes for more relaxed travel to know your limits in advance. Learning to spend sustainably and reasonably is a life skill. And, of course, be able to treat yourself once in awhile!
10. You Will Become A More Flexible Person
Flight cancelled? Missed your train? That museum you wanted to visit closed early? Having to deal with the unexpected is one of the ways why travel can suck. This is a part of life, and the more I travel the better I get at staying calm when things go wrong. I usually freak out a little but once I realize everything’s going to be okay, I find a solution.
11. You Will Become More Cultured
Meeting people from other cultures will teach you that the way you’ve been looking at the world isn’t exactly the way everybody else does. You might realize that your perspective has some major blind spots. Seeing the world and interacting with people from different backgrounds is why travel can be so critical for broadening your perspective.
12. You Just Might Become A Minimalist
Sick of carrying so much baggage around all the time? Bring less stuff! The more often (and longer) you travel, the better it will feel to have less stuff. It’s easier to get around and you will feel more comfortable changing plans spontaneously. Other benefits include more mental clarity and feeling happier in general!
Find out why it’s better to travel like a minimalist.
13. You Will Become Happier (And More Amazing)
Why travel make you happier is due to so many reasons. And it’s not just about being on vacation, either. Travel makes you happy because getting through challenges and learning to navigate new spaces is empowering – you can do anything!
Personally? Even just planning a trip gives me something to look forward to and makes me happy!
Why travel? I hope this isn’t even a question anymore! Travel to make memories, to challenge yourself, to learn from different perspectives, and to be able to deal with larger issues in life with more patience and grace. And of course to become a better, more amazing and confident human being.
Check out the blog for more travel inspiration.