We’ve all heard it said that travel broadens the mind, and it’s an extremely accurate and descriptive cliché – mainly because it’s true. You can gain far more knowledge from one year travelling the planet than you can in ten years looking at a textbook, which is probably why more and more parents are “home” schooling their children while on a trip around the world. But perhaps the most useful knowledge you will gain when you’re on the road will be about yourself. In this day and age, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings coupled with an over-reliance on western medical principles, has managed to suck the life out of many people – and many of those people don’t honestly see a way out of it. But the answer is as plain as the nose on your face – go travelling.
In today’s blog post, we, as long-term globetrotters and travel buddies, are going to give you our thoughts on how travelling will make you a better person, and why you need it – even if you think you don’t.
Mark Twain said “…travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness…” and he was not wrong! We live in a world that is blighted by racism, hatred and xenophobia – but these negativities are born from misunderstanding and fear – which can be fought with education and courage. Stepping out your front door to travel the big wide world might be utterly terrifying, but it will ultimately lead you on a path of acceptance, serenity and mindfulness. And not only is travelling fatal to the hatred of other cultures, it’s also fatal to your own insecurities, depression, low self-esteem and anxieties. In short, there is basically no disadvantages to travelling – so you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve provided a handy guide below to assist you.
Who would benefit from travelling? Everyone.
Who wouldn’t benefit from travelling? No one.
It’s literally that simple. So, what exactly will you gain?
Travelling, especially travelling solo, is a sure-fire way to improve your life skills. You’ll develop more than just an acute sense of direction when you’re on the road. Everything from timekeeping to understanding currencies, to knowing how to negotiate packed train stations carrying everything you own on your back. You’ll learn how to solve problems, how to think critically and quickly, how to adapt to any situation and how to communicate effectively. You’ll also learn the vital skill of empathy – which is much needed in today’s society. And by the end of this strip, you’ll know how to peel a potato properly – a significantly underrated skill to possess!
Sure, travelling can provide you with its own kind of stress, but with a bit of practice and advice (stick with us) you’ll be hopping around the globe like a pro in no time. And travelling is an amazing stress buster – especially if you learn to let go, clear your mind and enjoy the sights and surroundings you find yourself in. Stepping out of a frantic office and onto a beach somewhere does wonders for your blood pressure, and for your zest and energy for life.
Travel, much like exercise, is the best way to combat anxiety, depression and other negative thoughts that might plague you in your life. Getting out into the big wide world and seeing new things, making new memories and having new experiences will release those all-important endorphins into your brain – which help to beat the black dog and his friends. Keeping on the move keeps the negativities occupied, and you’ll be amazed at how such simple distraction can make you feel. Travel makes you happy.
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, someone once said. There are also books – but the idea is there. You’ll learn so much more from experiencing a country first hand than you will reading a book about it. Learning about new peoples, countries and cultures by actually visiting them is the number one way to destroy xenophobia and bigotry. And you’re likely to be a smarter, funnier, more entertaining dinner guest in the process. Maybe.
Arguably one of the best things about travelling is all the friends you make along the way. You might think that you have friends now, and some of them might very well be with you for the long haul. But there’s no accounting for the characters you meet when you’re moving from place to place, and you’ll discover genuine, life-long friendships from people that you might only get to know for a few days! Such is the power of travelling and the shared experience – you all have something in common, and that’s something you will cherish for the rest of your lives.
There’s nothing quite like the sense of achievement when you return home from a long period of travel or accomplish something marvellous while you’re still on the road. And with that feeling comes a renewed sense of confidence. Whether you were busting with it in the first place or a timid little wallflower, travelling will breed a confidence that will encourage you to achieve anything in your life – and not let anyone bring you down along the way. Go get ‘em, tiger!
Governments and the media spoon feed us all with a skewed sense of reality regarding other countries, attempting to instil fear, control populations and divide nations. The best way to beat them at this game? Travelling! A journey to a country that has a bad reputation at home will often surprise you with just how beautiful it is and how hospitable the people are. Especially the likes of North Korea or Iran. Wherever you go, you’ll be able to return with the truth – and with the ability to speak out against lies and propaganda when you hear it.
An often-overlooked advantage of travelling is how much more employable it makes you. We’re not just talking jobs in the industry – although seeing 65 countries plus is a big advantage there – but in all walks of life and in all occupations. Employers will be impressed by all those aforementioned life skills you’ve picked up along the way, and communication is an essential skill for most companies these days. A boss won’t see a gap year student as a bum, rather someone with a thirst for knowledge about the world – and the skills to go in search of it. That’ll certainly give you an advantage over someone who has never left their hometown!
This is literally all we have time for, but the list is not exhaustive. Travelling benefits you in so many more ways, and sometimes the fun part is discovering just how much you can learn and develop as a person when you’re out there experiencing it. You’ll return a bigger, brighter, stronger, more confident, knowledgeable and understanding version of the person who set foot out into the unknown all those days, weeks, months or years before. And that is absolutely priceless.
What have you learned while travelling? Let us know your best stories!
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