1) Opens Your Eyes
An obvious place to start, travelling opens your eyes to everything, both good and bad. Whether you’re a young person on a “gap year’, working & travelling abroad, taking a year out from the rat race back home or – and this one is becoming more popular – seeing the world after retirement, it will change your life forever. Some of these will be discussed later, but every country and continent is different and you will experience a vast variety of languages, smells, foods, people, cultures and behaviours. The world is, literally, your oyster.
2) Life Changing & Perspective
Whatever your age, travelling and/or working abroad will make you change as a person, and almost certainly for the better. You will see things that are different from your hometown. You will meet people with different cultures and outlooks to your own. And as a result, it will help you with regards how you have been seeing the world all these years. You will also observe some heart-breaking sights, including poverty, which will give you a serious perspective with regards to the country and life you have left behind.
Travelling through different cities, countries and continents can – and will – educate you beyond any textbook or classroom. You will meet different people to the ones that you have been used to seeing every day of your life, and through this, you will see different religions and cultures to your own. You will learn all about different habits, behaviours, foods, tastes and drinks. If you stay in a place long enough to meet new friends ( enough of that later ) you may be lucky to be invited to a religious holiday celebration or even a local wedding or birthday to see how things are done differently.
4) Making New Friends
Whether you are on this adventure by yourself, as a couple or in a small group , you WILL meet new people of all sex, nationality, race and religion ( some may even be “local” to the country you are presently in ) which is a major part of how travel will change your life. And these people will become very good friends and fast, as nothing bonds people quicker than being in a new, strange land together. You’ll quickly learn each other’s languages, experience and habits. You’ll swap stories and travel advice & recommendations and with the power of the internet and social media, you can easily stay in touch forever. Oh, and the nights when travelling can be so much fun with new friends!
5) New Languages
Who doesn’t want to know how to order a beer or coffee in 6 different languages? In 4 different continents? Well travelling through different countries will certainly make you learn new languages. And you may HAVE TO in some places and situations you find yourself in. Yes, it is easier these days with the internet and Google translate, but there will be many times when you’ll have to read, workout and translate that menu or ask for directions or help by yourself, obviously with the guidance of friendly locals. So, yes learning new languages is an excellent aspect of travelling.
Physically, travelling can be very healthy – and tiring! – indeed. As well as travelling it being food for the mind, there will be many times when you are walking, hiking or travelling with heavy bags which is great for those Abs and your stomach line. Sampling the local cuisine (especially in Asia) will be healthier than most foods that you are used to back home. And the new flavours and tastes will astound you. Unless you were a gym bunny back home, you’ll certainly be healthier travelling than you were at home … Just don’t go overboard on those $1 beers and happy hour cocktails!
7) Escaping & Finding Yourself
There can be a million reasons why people choose to travel. Unfortunately, sometimes it is not for good reasons. This is called escaping. Some young travellers may be more than “gap-yearers”. There are many travelling & working ( often English teachers ) who are in Asia in particular due to not many opportunities back in their home countries. Travellers of a certain age can be here due to a marriage or relationship breakup ( or worse ) or may have been made redundant and therefore, in-between jobs. They may just want to escape the “rat race” that can seem so tiring and pointless at times. Escaping is linked in with finding out what you want or need out of life.
8) New or Developing Skills
When travelling you will encounter so many new situations, that often you will have to try – or develop – new skills that you had never thought possible before. Whether it’s map reading, route-planning, learning the basics of a new language, making new friends of an entirely different age or ordering a meal in a Vietnamese village. You may even be involved in building something for a poor Asian town or teaching English to some local school children. Every new skill developed is hugely satisfying and, sometimes, unbelievable.
9) Fun & Adventure
Let’s face it. You haven’t chosen this lifestyle to have a miserable time! The list of different adventure options is endless, whether it’s individually or in groups, on land, sea or even in the air. It can be relaxing or adventurous ….. or even dangerous! It’s up to you. Even the literal aspect of travel itself can be amazing – train or bus journeys through countries that you never imagined you’d be visiting. Travel is not always exactly a long holiday as some distracters think; in fact, it is often mentally and physically tough, But mostly, and importantly, it should all be mostly glorious fun.
10) You Appreciate Home
You can totally appreciate all the things you took for granted back home when you choose to go travelling for a long time. Friends & family, familiar food, your favourite pastimes. Never quite enough to cut your travels short, but there will be many times when you would happily swap that hostel or night bus journey for a hot bath back home in a heartbeat. Maybe with even watching an old episode of ‘Heartbeat’ afterwards. Travelling – and meeting new friends – is great, but sometimes there is no place like home. Don’t worry, you’ll see everyone soon.
About the author: Sally Kirchell lives in Rosalie, Brisbane and helps run small business that specialises in creating personalised push pin travel maps to show off your travels called unsurprisingly Custom Push Pin Travel Maps , she is a mother of 2 lively children, a parent to 3 dogs, a keen writer, traveller and photographer and women that needs a holiday with lots of margaritas after juggling all these things.