Everyone, and I mean everyone, says they wish they could travel more. Travel means many things to many people, but regardless of which definition you choose, rarely do people get past the dreaming stage and into the planning stage. Here are 11 reasons for you to start planning your trip of a lifetime now instead of continuing to put it off.
From the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef or the Grand Canyon to the top of Everest or Mt. Fuji, the world is filled with some truly beautiful places than can only really be experienced first hand. Pristine beaches, lush jungles, sandy deserts and savannas teeming with wildlife simply can’t be experienced through a magazine or television program. Get out there and see it for yourself!
While nature is capable of some amazing works of art, so is the human race. Over our brief time on Earth, we’ve managed to create some brilliant works of art. Listen to an opera at the Sydney Opera house, see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris or visit the Taj Mahal. Whether these works are the destination for your travels or merely a stop along the way, see some of what the world has to offer.
In order to develop a deeper understanding of the world, and the people living in it, you have to experience it for yourself. Sheltered in a normal workday, it’s easier to gloss over an article about a natural disaster or tune out of a news report on a conflict half way around the world. After all, how does that affect you?
Learning about how people live and work, their religious and cultural values, and their own views teaches us about ourselves. We gain new insight into our values and we take what we learned back with us. No longer will the world seem limited to your neighborhood, village, town, city, prefecture, state or country.
It would be impossible for you NOT to grow while doing this kind of long-term travel. Dealing with the ups and downs of being a flashpacker for weeks or months on end is an intense experience that will never leave you. A solid break from everything back home gives you time for reflection and lets you set new priorities.
There are plenty of challenges out there waiting for you to overcome them. From the physical (mountain climbing, camel riding, or scuba diving) and mental (culture shock, communication issues, market haggling) to the wild and miscellaneous (gastronomical, social, technological) the challenges that await are up to you.
Getting away for a week or two doesn’t really give you the chance to truly break away from life at home. A few weeks or months, however, gives you plenty of time to reflect. Seek out some time to consider how life is going and imagine how you want it to be. Set some new priorities that will make you happier and bring home a plan.
The memories you create during your travels will sustain you for years and years after you’ve finished your trip. When you finally make it back home, you return changed by all the experiences you’ve had. Try as you might, you’ll never be able to explain to your friends and family what it was like, but I guarantee you’ll be saving and planning for the next trip soon.
Travel is an opportunity to meet interesting new people and make new friends, with locals and other travelers alike. Being a backpacker or flashpacker usually means staying in hostels or couchsurfing, and that means meeting others interested in travel. These other travelers often become the focus of your most cherished memories, and who knows where things might lead with the cute girl/guy staying across the hall?
There are many people out there working the 9-to-5 and living what most would consider a “normal” life. It’s time to give yourself a break and see what other opportunities are out there. Reward yourself with taking back some of your time and spending it on YOU. Take a month or three and explore that place you’ve always dreamed of. You’ll come back with renewed energy, new skills you can use in your business, and more.
There is no better way to gain new knowledge about other countries than to travel within them. Reading a dozen books or a hundred articles won’t give you the insight and knowledge about a country as spending a month there. If you want to understand a country, you really need to spend some time there.
Ultimately, travel is freedom. It is freedom from work, stress, possessions, pressure, and responsibilities. It gives you the freedom to try new things, experience new cultures, see things you’ve only dreamed of seeing and meet some of the most amazing people in the world. Travel is the freedom to do the things you’ve always imagined yourself doing, and what could be better than that?