Lately on my Facebook feed I’ve been inundated with images of my friends catching the sun in Greece, strutting the cobble-stoned streets in Italy and eating their way through crepes and croissants in Paris. And I’m sad. Really guys, I’m sad. I’m itching to get away again, to explore life and this beautiful Earth of which we inhabit with so much beauty, culture and absolute wonder. I can’t travel right now. But when I can, oh how I will see the world.
So I’ve written a list of why you need to travel. Yes, need. I’m sorry if this causes you to experience painful wanderlust and the desire to throw away all your savings and get on the next plan out of your country.
Actually, I’m not sorry at all.
Helps you grow
Sorry if you’re a tad on the short side like me and just got a little bit over-excited at the prospect of adding a few extra centimetres to yourself. I don’t mean physically grow. I mean grow in every other imaginable way. Spiritually, internally, maturity and in every other way. Leaving a place of familiarity to seek a great perhaps in a culturally unfamiliar place is difficult. I shall not lie. Yet it is also incredible eye-opening and changing experience.
Makes you smarter
Again, it will unfortunately not give you any extra IQ points unless you plan to go on Eddie McGuire’s Hot Seat one day (here’s looking at me, kid) – but it will provide you with a sense of world-smartness. Yes that’s a word. To witness new cultures, new people, new lands, new everything, opens your been-closed-for-too-long-despite-what-you-previously-thought eyes. You truly become aware of the world in all its beautiful bright glory and also dark corrupt nature. The world is a paradox. Understanding that paradox and experiencing it can only make you smarter. It would take someone really special to become dumber.
Pops your bubble
What that means is you, right now, sitting in front of your computer screen in your pyjamas eating ice-cream out of a tub have this invisible and impenetrable bubble surrounding you. This bubble, for lack of a better word, is toxic. Just like Brittany said. Who knew she was so smart. To make yourself healthier and happier, this bubble must be popped. As soon as possible. How does one pop it? By travelling of course! Each time you experience something exotic and new, the bubble earns a little hole. As you see more of the world and humanity, the bubble eventually begins to deflate and disintegrate. Such a poet. Everyone needs to have their life bubble popped. You can’t go living life in it. Trust me.
Makes you happy
Why wouldn’t it make you happy? Leaving home, leaving familiarity and discovering what this small yet so incredibly large and rich world has to offer can only spark a sense of wonder and ignite a deep passion within you to explore it and understand it. Seeing humanity connecting, breaking down language barriers, living, laughing and loving together is the purest form of happiness there is.
Makes you sad
And why wouldn’t it make you sad? Sometimes (read: always) leaving home is hard. Leaving comfort is challenging. It must be done, my friends, there is not argument about it. It also makes you sad in different ways. Seeing poverty, seeing how other humans, the people who share 99.9% of your DNA live, can be stifling and heart-breaking. It makes you want to reach out and change the world. Of course, alone you can’t change the world but every hand and heart helps.
Fills in a hole in your heart
I suppose in a way travelling is kind of like finding a soul mate. In your heart, there is a hole. Each country you visit helps seal that hole. I think the correct term for this is wanderlust. It’s perhaps my favourite word. The word itself is beautiful, the meaning even more so. I think (I hope) everyone at some point in their lives feels this hole and fills it. Even if you don’t ever feel it, it will always be there. Although I don’t really think it’s physically possible to not feel that hole and have an intense and overwhelming desire to fill it.
Makes you stronger
You will get lost when you travel. You will find it frighteningly hard to communicate when you travel. You will potentially break a bone when you travel. You will cry when you travel. You will be sad when you travel. All of these are fleeting moments which only make you happier in the end. Except for a broken bone. That stuff takes forever to heal up. Just like my motto, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You will be overcome and overwhelmed with so many different emotions, equally deliriously happy emotions and downright heartbreaking emotions but it’s all part of the journey; both the particular travel journey you’re on and the (oh dear, so cliche but I’m going to say it anyway) journey of life.
Broadens your palate
You have not tasted food till you’ve tasted a lot of it. Travelling helps you do that. The spices and aromas, the tang and the sweetness, the different textures that you can find in food all over the world is somewhat enchanting. To taste the foods of the world helps you realise how incredible Earth is to be able to produce and provide all these delicious meals that go into our mouth and out the…yeah you know what happens next. When you travel, try everything and anything. Even meals you can’t pronounce. Those are often the best.
Brings people together
Travelling a planet that has over some number in the billions of people living on it allows you to encounter a variety of cultures and people. There are so many people. So many cultures. All so different yet all so the same as well. Understanding and learning about other people, other cultures, not only makes you realise how similar all people are but also how beautifully different we can be in such a small world. It provides you with empathy, love and understanding. Everyone needs those things. And more.
I hope you see now why you need to travel. I could give you so many reasons more but this is enough for you to start with.
It’s not a matter of maybe, possibly in the future when I have time. It’s here and now and a definite. You’re supposed to travel. Yes, supposed to. Even if it’s travelling outside your front door. It’s a human necessity. A human need. So stop waiting and wanting.