People have been traveling for thousands of years, but if you look into the origin of the word travel, it has nothing to do with pleasure. On the contrary, it derives from words like: torment, labor, struggle, or even torture! If you ever got stuck on a highway or at the airport, you can easily relate. Let’s face it, going to places is often far from fun, even with today’s modern means of transportation. So what are the reasons we travel? What are the benefits of travel that make us leave the comfort of our homes? Let’s take a look and analyze the forces behind human’s need to explore.
BENEFITS OF TRAVEL EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
I am officially a travel addict. It probably has to do with the fact that I grew up in communist Poland and hated the idea of being cooped behind the iron curtain. I wanted to see the world and was afraid that would never happen if I stayed. That feeling of being trapped, was one of the reasons I decided to leave Poland and jump into the unknown. Since I arrived in the USA, I truly made the most of my newly gained freedom and traveled extensively ever since. Because I travel so much, I often ask myself, why? It is so much easier to stay home and of course so much cheaper! Here it is what I figured out so far from my own experience.
The benefits of travel:
Travel gives you a break from the ordinary
Life gets boring sometimes. Same schedule every day: breakfast, work, chores, dinner, sleep, and again, breakfast, work, chores….We meet the same people, see the same scenery, and stop at the same stop sign on the way from work ( or at least some of us do). Even if you are happy with your life, the monotony is there. Nothing breaks it better than even a short trip. When you travel, the world you left behind seems far far away.
Travel lets you live in a moment
Our daily life is more about waiting for something good to happen than enjoying the moment. We wait for a workday to end, then we wait for weekends to come, and we wait for vacations to start. When we take a trip, the waiting is over and our life starts to happen. We are finally living a scenario we created and we are doing it in real time.
It is an easy way to fulfill your dreams
We all have dreams, but they are often distant and most likely they will never happen. With traveling it is different, these dreams are doable. Even if money is short, you can find a way to go around it. See how I do it: Basics of Traveling Hacking – How to Travel for Free. What we call the bucket list, is actually a list of places we dream to visit. I have to say, I am doing very well checking things off from that list. I feel a need to rush. Learn How I live and Travel with Cancer.
Escape to nature heals your body and soul
Nature makes us feel energized and alive. No one can express this feeling any better than John Muir, “The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
Traveling satisfies your need to play
It is sad that when we get older, we need to behave all the time. Playtime is important not only for children’s development, but also for us adults. Benefits of playing for adults include increased creativity, productivity, and feelings of well-being. When traveling, we tend to let ourselves get more fun and even get foolish on occasion. How liberating!
Travel makes you feel less significant
We are all egocentric by nature, this is why we are able to survive and develop, but paying too much attention to ourselves makes our problems bigger. We need a distance to evaluate them. When traveling, you see hundreds years old trees, ancient monuments, different cultures and all types of struggle. It all helps you to put your own existence in perspective. Read my thoughts about Travel Experiences that Make us Feel Insignificant.
Makes you see the world differently
In general, if you spend your life in one place, your view of the world is rather narrow. You can learn in some degrees from books and TV, but it is not even close to in-person experiences. When visiting other countries, you can see how other people live and what problems they are facing. You get a better understanding of local culture and become more tolerant of differences.
Traveling is a learning experience
When traveling, we are creating our own learning experiences. There is a lesson in everything we see and do, and it comes naturally without pressure or a fear of failure. Many studies show that children exposed to traveling through their lives become more well-rounded people compared to those who stayed put. Learn more Why Travel is Important in Child’s Development.
Traveling elevates your self esteem
That applies mostly do those who take action in their own hands. So far, I organized almost every trip I took, and I am not talking about flying to one place and just staying there. I traveled with my family since my son was 7 months old, I organized group trips, and I traveled solo many times. It makes me feel that if I put my mind on something, I can do it. It is a good feeling!
Helps you make new friends
Even though I am naturally shy, I always had a huge desire to meet people. With each person I meet, I feel that my horizon are getting broader. I made a lot of friends through travel and hope this trend will continue. I especially love to meet the locals when traveling abroad.
When traveling you create life lasting memories
This is number one benefit of traveling. Because taking a trip is such a extraordinary event, it creates unforgettable memories. It is especially important for families. Your children will not look back to time you spend watching TV together, but they will certainly remember each of the trips you took. Reason? Because this is when they got your uninterrupted attention out of your daily routine. For the best memorable family adventure, I recommend camping. Yes, this one sounds more like a torture with all the packing and unpacking, but your children will be grateful, and in retrospective, you will be too. See How to Make a Camping Trip a Success.