The decision to travel can be one of the most important steps in your life. Not to sound too much like a Disney musical, but there’s a whole new world out there just waiting to be discovered. If you have the opportunity to hop on a plane, coupled with a passport and an itching passion for adventure — then go! If you need a little more persuasion, however, check out these top 10 reasons to stop dreaming and start packing.
1. Me, Me, Me!
It may sound selfish, but traveling is all about getting to know yourself and learning to be alone. Nothing screams self-reflection more than a three-hour delay in a closed airport, having lunch by yourself or rambling through the quiet countryside, but rest assured that it’s OK to enjoy solitude. Those introverted travel moments teach you to love yourself wholeheartedly and, when you think you’ve had quite enough alone time, help you appreciate the opportunity to return to society.
2. Meet New Friends
You’re almost guaranteed to meet some of the coolest people on your travels. And not just the typically like-minded peeps you’re used to hanging with back home. Travel is the chance to make friends from all over the world and, whether it's local residents, your in-flight neighbor or fellow dorm room dwellers, your Facebook feed is sure to get a lot more interesting after accepting friend requests from every corner of the globe. Who knows, you could also end up making the most important friend of all if romance is on your itinerary.
It’s true what they say about the best education being taught at the University of Life. While it’s definitely good to get a few years of schooling under your belt, nothing can broaden your horizons or make you conscious of the world more than traveling. Living in a distant land can present the opportunity to explore different cultures, learn a new language and even enhance your résumé with interesting gap-year activities.
4. Abandon Your Comfort Zone
"So, like, the magic happens outside your comfort zone?" Hannah Horvath posed this question in an episode of Girls, to which we reply, “Exactly.” Traveling gives you that very excuse to step into the unknown and awaken your inner child with a slew of first-time experiences. Practice speaking that language. Try the cow tongue. Venture off the beaten path. Surrender to stoking your curiosity or conquering fears and you’ll feel indestructible. Bungee anyone?
Food, glorious food! The singular most important reason to travel can be found on the tip of your tongue. Discovering new cuisines in a foreign city is the epitome of adventure — whether you’re snacking from street vendors or dining at upscale restaurants — thus inspiring your own cooking and opening your senses to new flavors. Who knew Chinese food was so much more than chicken balls and spare ribs?! But just be warned, not all exotic dishes are to everyone’s liking.
6. Get Homesick
Traveling is certainly a great way to find out if the grass is really greener in a different country, but the best thing about leaving behind your old life is missing it. After being away for an extended period, you’ll once again begin to appreciate all those mundane routines. Most of all, you’ll begin to value friends and family, making those crackling Skype conversations even more special.
Fashion, really? Yes, really. Nothing screams style sensibility like having someone ask where you bought your boho skirt/scarf/poncho and replying with, “I picked it up at a flea market in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown district after spilling nasi lemak on myself.” You can’t quite beat wearing clothes that have an interesting story attached. J.Crew who?
8. Live with Less
Then again, there is such a thing as picking up too many kaftans and souvenirs. Since a traveler's life generally involves living from a suitcase, you’ll quickly learn to live with less. This does not mean claiming hardship, but rather appreciating the difference between your real wants and needs. Collect memories, not things, said some wise person at some point in time.
9. Make Yourself More Interesting
It’s a strange but true fact that only one-third of Americans have a passport. With that in mind, it stands to reason that jet-setting to a new locale will put you in the minority of oh-so-interesting people with fabulous tales to tell. Indeed, you could be that Facebook friend who’s always posting enviable status updates, checking in from different continents and snapping photos of stunning scenery.
10. The Sights
Skiing in Switzerland, trekking in Peru, hiking in the Himalayas — you’ve been there, done that and have the photos to prove it. Capturing your most important moments through the timeless medium of a camera lens with Instagram filter optional. Of course, no photo can properly showcase the majestic beauty of the world’s most stunning sights because, for that, you really need to witness it all for yourself. Seeing is believing, so what you waiting for?
Images via Emma Jones/TheFashionSpot