Travelling is expensive and time-consuming, and yet completely, 100% worth it. I’m a big advocate for the power of travelling to change the way you look at the world and yourself: here are eight reasons you should travel.
1. The scary things you’ll try
I’m terrified of everything. Water, the dark, birds. Travelling gives me the chance to overcome these fears by saying yes to exciting things and no to my nerves. I knew I wanted to try stand up paddleboarding in Antigua, but I was worried I’d chicken out because of the deep water. In Antigua, I thought – what if I never get this opportunity again? So I did it and had an incredible time. I feel like when you’re travelling and there’s something you might only be able to do in that particular place, it’s easier to just do it. Travelling will make you brave and you’ll realize there was never anything to be afraid of.
2. The people you’ll meet
I’m usually very shy. Meeting new people makes me super anxious and I’d rather just stick to the friends I’ve already made: or just hang out alone. When I’m travelling alone, there are some things I’d rather do with friends, like going to a bar or somewhere with complicated buses like the Great Wall of China. It’s almost astonishingly easy to meet people when you’re travelling, especially if you stay at hostels. And I even enjoy it! I’ve met fascinating people from Tunisia who I’m still in touch with, and people from all across Europe from Croatia to Iceland. Meeting people when you’re on the road means that you automatically have something in common – you both love travelling! There’s also the incredible experience of meeting locals, which can be hard to do but unbelievably rewarding. I’m looking forward to meeting young Italians where I’ll be living in the summer, not to mention getting to know my host family.
3. The food you’ll try
I’ve said it before, but I’m a very picky eater at home. If I didn’t want to try a new food when I was little, I just said I didn’t like it, and then started to believe I actually didn’t. Now I have to force myself to try food I thought I didn’t like for nineteen years, which generally has good results: I thought I hated strawberries. Then I tried them and ate approximately 10,000. My picky eating is definitely mental, so all it takes is making myself try new things. When I’m abroad, I have to try new things if I want to eat, and it’s always worth the ‘risk’. It’s incredible how different cultures have developed such totally different cuisines, and getting the opportunity to try new things is one of the best parts of travelling. I’ve loved egg tarts in Shanghai, waffles in Belgium, flying fish in Barbados…I can’t wait to see what foods I’ll try this summer.
4. The sunrises and sunsets you’ll see
I used to think sunrises and sunsets were boring and stupid. You’d seen one, you’d seen them all. Travelling totally changed how I felt about them. Seeing the sky burst into a million different shades of orange and pink over a landmark like the London Bridge or Prague Castle changed my perspective on this wonderful phenomenon. I really can’t put into words the feeling of seeing the sunrise or sunset while you’re travelling, but it’s special. Seeing it with an amazing backdrop like a Caribbean beach or the desert dunes (I can’t wait) is just the icing on the cake.
5. The history you’ll learn
I’ll be the first to admit that museums bore me and I feel like I’m not as cultured as I should be. While I can’t stomach listening to a lecture about the finer points of a battle, experiencing history first hand is the best way to learn about it. I wouldn’t have cared much about the Vikings unless we had visited an interactive site in Newfoundland, and walking down any historic street in Europe transports you back in time. Beng in a place like the Tower of London brings everything you’ve learned to life, and in my opinion is the best way to educate yourself on the world around you.
6. How open-minded you will become
We all have preconceived notions about other people and other places. It’s hard to understand how another culture works or lives unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, and once you do? You’ll feel all of your judgment and all of your stereotypes falling away. China and its people are simultaneously just like I expected and completely different from how I thought they would be. Even after two short weeks in only four cities, I feel like I have an exponentially better understanding of that country. I’m under no illusion that I totally get the country, and of course I don’t believe the whole country is homogeneous,. With that being said, I’d love to return and explore even deeper, seeing smaller towns and talking to more locals. Travelling will change how you think about the world around you and open up your mind to the endless possibilities that the world presents.
7. The freedom you’ll feel
There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and realizing that today is totally up to you. When you’re travelling, the world is your oyster and every minute is your own. If you want to spend the whole day in a cafe, catching up on blogs and drinking macchiato after macchiato, you can. If you want to pack in every site in the city, you can! You can get lunch wherever you want to get lunch and get up whenever you want to get up. If you’re travelling with others, of course you’re going to have to make decisions together: but solo, you really can do whatever you want to do. It’s liberating and exciting and amazing. Travelling sets you free.
8. How confident you’ll feel
I wrote a whole post about why you should be a girl who travels, but it applies to guys too. My favourite reason to travel is the way it changes your confidence and ability to get through anything. I’ve written a lot about all of my mishaps in China and Europe, and I fully expect more issues and roadblocks as I hit the road for almost five months, but now I feel equipped and capable of handing anything that gets thrown my way. From feeling able to navigate my way through enormous cities to feeling more self-confident, travel has changed who I am. And it can do the same for you.
Why do you travel? Did any of my reasons resonate with you?