Wondering which are the reasons why travel is important? Then you are in the right place.
Rewind the clock 14 months or so and I was just coming to the end of a 10-month trip around Australia. I arrived in Perth, sold my van, and then went to beautiful Bali for two weeks before flying to Vietnam. I’d planned to be there, in the ancient town of Hoi An, for about a month to get some work done, after which I’d join my girlfriend in India and travel there for another 30 days. Then, with the India trip behind us, we were going home to the UK, where a family holiday awaited us.
I’d just made it to Vietnam when the world shut down. COVID-19 hit, borders closed, and I bought the last ticket on one of the final flights out of Vietnam to England. My travel plans?
We’re now well over a year down the line and the ease of international travel I once took for granted feels like a distant memory! As a digital nomad and blogger, it seems crazy to think there used to be nothing but my bank balance stopping me from booking flights to anywhere in the world. These days, it’s literally against the law.
I can’t describe how much I miss that freedom; can’t wait for the time when travel restrictions ease and we’re allowed to hit the road for adventures again. In the meantime, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to reflect. And one question that’s been running through my mind is this:
Why is traveling important?
The old saying goes that “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” and it’s proved painfully correct since travel’s been off the cards! Now I’m keenly aware of what I’m missing, I thought I’d take a moment to give this question my two cents. Want to find out why traveling is important and whether or not you should give it a go for yourself?
Check out these 7 reasons why travel is important.
1. It Brings You Joy
One of the main reasons I love traveling so much is that it puts a smile on my face faster than almost anything else. It’s just exciting. Whether you are immersed on an Altezza Travel safari in Tanzania or chilling in Southeast Asia; you’re having adventures, exploring the world, and seeing with your own two eyes those things most people only witness on the screen.
Travelling isn’t always easy (more on this later), but it never fails to pick you up if/when it knocks you down. I mean, on any given day, you might be sunbathing on tropical beaches, swimming in crystal clear waters, perusing ancient ruins, partying in capital cities, or hiking up alpine mountains! It’s an intoxicating experience; saturated with possibilities.
All told, it’s hard to walk away from traveling without it leaving a deep, positive imprint on your mind. And that leads nicely onto the second reason I think traveling is important…
2. It Creates Memories
There’s a short travel quote from Ibn Battuta that I love, which goes something like: “traveling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”. He was dead right!
Travel’s a memory-making machine like none other.
Everything from leaving the comfort of home and stepping foot in new places to seeing/doing incredible stuff fills your head with unforgettable memories. When you meet people on the road and/or eventually go home, it’s natural to swap stories, share tales from your trip, and recount the things you did along the way.
And that, in my estimation at least, is by no means trivial.
For one thing, it means you’ll always be awesome company at dinner parties! For another, who even are we without our memories? Nothing but squishy, mindless chunks of flesh and bone. Memories make up our very identities, inform our ideas and beliefs, and impact how we interact with the world.
The fact that travel saturates you with new stories to tell, then, is nothing short of a gift that changes everything.
Read more: Tips to turn your pictures into memories
3. It Challenges You
The funny thing about suffering is that life sucks without it.
Contrary to popular opinion, the secret to happiness isn’t complete comfort at all times. It’s almost the opposite. It’s found in moments of hardship and discomfort, where we grow as people, learn about ourselves, develop newfound mental fortitude, and discover what we’re really made of. You walk away from challenge with humility, self-awareness, and strength of character- all key ingredients to a happy existence.
Travel challenges you in abundance. You’re alone on the other side of the world, far from the blissful security of friends, family, and home. You’re out of your comfort zone, with no one to hold your hand, having to forge your own path for what might be the very first time. Naturally, you fall flat on your face (literally and figuratively), make mistakes, get lost, get sick, and experience things that alter your perception of right and wrong.
And you get through it.
And you come through the other side.
And you realize how strong you really are and what you’re truly capable of.
4. It Introduces You to Yourself
That point about self-awareness and how travel helps cultivate it is worth re-emphasizing. Why? Because self-awareness is a superpower!
If we broke it down into the haves and have-nots, un-self-aware people are like ships without an anchor. They’re floating around at the mercy of the wind, buffeted from one place to the next with no say in the matter. Reality happens and they react, with no insight on why they do what they do, think what they think, and feel how they feel. The result? They don’t know how to look after their mental and emotional health; what they need to be happy.
The opposite’s true when you’re self-aware. You have deep roots that ground you in the truth of the world. You understand who you are, what you want, and why you react in certain ways. With that knowledge, you can take appropriate action, accommodate your needs, and recognize where there’s room for improvement.
Thankfully, there are tools we can use to boost our levels of self-understanding.
And I think travel’s one of them.
Those challenges I just talked about hold up a mirror to you and, if you’re willing to take a long, open-minded look at the reflection, reveals your true colors. You learn who you are, what you like/dislike, what you want, what you’re afraid of, and why you are the way you are.
5. It Introduces You to Others
If you want to meet cool people from diverse backgrounds, travel. If you want to make new friends in countries all over the world, travel. If you want to meet people who challenge your pre-conceived notions about life, introduce you to new ideas, and force you to rethink your implicit biases…travel.
Why is traveling important? Because if you don’t go, you could be surrounded by the same old friendly faces for your entire life! Now, they might be the loveliest people in the world and staying close to your childhood friends is a beautiful thing. But it’s a bit like getting your news from Facebook. You end up in an echo chamber, hearing the same ideas, telling the same jokes, and spouting the same values back and forth all the time. In other words, you’re never exposed to anything new.
And new is good. New means learning. It expands your mind and horizons. You realize you might have been wrong this whole time.
Furthermore, it’s usually the people you meet when you travel that make the experience so special! You make friends in an instant- relationships cast in the heat of adventure, where emotions soar and souls expand.
6. It Educates You On Other Cultures
Homelife can be a bubble. You walk the same streets, go to the same places, attend the same events, and see the same people all the time. You’re insulated, protected, and secure; everything’s safe and familiar and runs like clockwork.
It’s nice, but is it enough?
It’s like owning the most extravagant mansion on the planet, with every amenity you could ever want, yet staying in the same room all day, every day. Spend a lifetime in this same old routine and it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole world to explore. You might see exotic places and new cultures on the TV screen, but you’re always distanced from them- both emotionally and physically.
Go traveling, though, and you experience it all up close and personal. You become a fish out of water; an alien in a foreign land! You’re thrust headfirst into new cultures, witnessing strange sights and sounds, smelling unusual smells, and tasting novel flavors. You see how other people live as well, which, in less developed countries, often involves extreme poverty.
Ultimately, you gain an insight into the real world, see how big it really is, and realize that your way of life at home isn’t the only (or the best) one.
7. It’s An Escape (and a Break)
Last but not least, traveling’s important because it gives you a break from the norm. Whether you spend two weeks on a family vacation or 12 months traveling around the world, you get a chance to step back from daily life and relax. You can take time, chill out, do whatever you want, and revel in the joy of having complete control over your day. There’s no boss on your back, no work responsibilities to worry about, and no constant feed of bad news to stimulate a stress response.
To put it another way: you escape. And that’s huge! Especially nowadays, where life can seem so frantic and full-on. Go traveling and you take the pressure off- at least for a while. You can breathe a sigh of relief, replenish those waning energy reserves, and muster the oomph to get back to the daily grind as/when your adventure comes to an end.
Why Is Travelling Important? Now You Know!
So, why is traveling important? For all sorts of reasons! Life-giving, self-improving, and eye-opening, there’s no end to the incentives when it comes to exploring our wonderful world. With any luck, the insights in this post have highlighted 7 of the main ones. Keep them in mind if you’re ever contemplating a trip and need a push to make it happen!
Here’s hoping it won’t be too long before COVID blows over and we have the chance to return to our former jet-setting ways.