Staying in one place and sticking to your roots can be exhausting. When you feel the ennui of everyday life set in, it’s time for a new travel experience. There are beneficial lessons that you learn when you start traveling the world.
There’s a reason why everyone, at some point or another, calls everyday life “the daily grind.” The safe, predictable routine that you rely on can start wearing on you, sapping your motivation and dulling your spirit. Sure, everyone needs structure, but there’s a difference between following an optimized schedule and getting stuck in a rut. Humans are multidimensional beings, who need to grow and stretch in different directions. And there’s no better way to do that than to literally head in a different direction by visiting new places. Here are some of the things you discover when you decide to start traveling, whether for the first time or after a long hiatus.
1. How to act on curiosity
Why do we stick to routines? It’s because in our everyday life, we have to stick to what works. Mistakes cost time and money, neither of which we can afford to lose as adults who worry about things like our careers, our businesses, and our reputations. Sure, all of those things are important. But in the greater scheme of things, isn’t it more important to aim for self-growth? Isn’t it important to always be open to learning? Being a tourist is like being a child: you’re looking at a corner of the world that you know nothing about, and that gives you license to be innocent and amazed, to poke and explore. Curiosity is an attitude that most people give up in adulthood, and it’s something we need in life.
2. The art of appreciating people
If you keep interacting with your loved ones in the same situations over and over again, always sticking to the same scripts, then you’ll start to get bored. You’ll probably think of your friends and family as “them again,” and you’ll forget the things that make them beautiful and awesome. Traveling together helps teams, families, and friends remember why they’re so close, what emotional glue binds them together through thick and thin. Traveling alone? You have the chance to meet new people and form new connections. It doesn’t matter if they don’t develop into lifelong relationships: there’s value in talking with strangers, even if it’s just to ask for directions or advice, because it can let you see people at their best. Travel is a trust exercise that can only strengthen your faith in humanity.
3. How to cherish the moment (however long it takes)
When you’re constantly rushing to meet deadlines or get somewhere by a certain time, you forget what it’s like to cherish the present. The truth is, you can get a lot of benefits from living slow, and many great things take time. Some of the best food takes hours, not minutes, to cook. A good book can take a whole day to read. And who knows how long you have to stand in front of a painting in a museum or in a sun-drenched scene before you appreciate its true beauty? There’s a lot around us that’s awesome: you don’t always see it right away, but the moment you do is often worth the wait.
4. The courage to commandeer your life
The beaten path provides security: it’s reassuring to know you’re not making decisions alone. But in the end, your life and your destiny are yours alone. As a traveler, you put yourself in uncomfortable situations: you might butcher a foreign language or struggle with chopsticks, get frustratingly lost, say “I don’t know” and “I’m sorry” more often than you’re used to. But that’s what exploration is all about. You’ll make mistakes and make wrong turns, but the important thing is that you decided to move on your own.
5. The beauty of diversity
When you get all your information from the Internet or mass media, there’s a likely chance that you see foreign people in only the broadest of strokes. Seeing news segments and movies doesn’t really show you what people from a certain country are like, and you don’t get to see the whole truth most of the time. So if you have certain biases against certain places or races, it’s probably because you haven’t seen their true nature. Immerse yourself somewhere new. Expose yourself to its history, traditions, and culture. Visit the locals: try their food and hear their stories and opinions. Traveling can show you, with the most refreshingly pleasant ways, that you’re wrong.
6. Healthier places than home
Going to other places is good for you spiritually and socially, as shown by many studies on the health benefits of beaches and other natural places. Whether it’s because of a natural environment that’s less polluted, a society that delivers better health care, or a culture that fosters a more stress-free lifestyle, some places are just better than others from a health perspective. So if you feel run down or under the weather all the time, maybe that’s your cue to put yourself under another piece of the sky.
7. Who you really are
Schedules and reminders provide valuable structure, but a lot of people don’t realize when they become security blankets—placebos that make no real effective difference in your life. When you cast off your routines, you open yourself up to a whole new world. As a traveler, you can tune out alarms and emails; you can ignore impositions and expectations. You start listening to your own thoughts again. You hear your own inner voice, as well as other stimuli from your new environment. A new situation gives you a shot at discovering what really matters to you.
8. How to count (and protect) your blessings
Believe it or not, there’s a good chance that you’re actually living a pretty good life, and the world we live in is actually amazing. Stay long enough in a foreign country, and you’ll start to miss home. You’ll start to yearn for the food that you can buy just around the corner, or the music that you can hear on any street. You also appreciate our planet’s natural resources—its beaches, its forests, its mountains—and you’ll want to find out what you can do to preserve them. Traveling the world gives you a valuable frame of reference, a way to see things in a more positive and hopeful light.
We live in an amazing time. Technology has made it much easier for people to cross borders, making travel arrangements is much easier, while advances in transportation have enabled people to visit places they could only dream of before. So if you feel like you need a break from the daily grind, there’s literally a whole world of opportunities for you to explore. Simply staying at home is okay, of course, especially if you’re concerned about travel expenses, but consider what life lessons you may end up missing out on.
Thankfully, StudentUniverse has exclusive, cheap flight deals that give every student the opportunity to get out there and see the world, and start learning these valuable travel lessons. What are some things that you’ve learned from your travels? Share your knowledge with other expert travelers in the comments.