I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, about how travel can change your life. But that’s simply because it’s true. I look back at the things I said, did, and thought back before I was a traveler, and frankly cringe! Travel has opened up my mind to so many different ways of thinking and most importantly, realizing how big the world really is. Getting outside of your comfort zone has many benefits, so here are just a few of them.
There’s an instinct in us all to regard food that another country eats that we don’t as weird, strange, or immoral. But, travel teaches you to check your own standards and open your mind to many different foods. From fried insects to pork spine soup and dessert made from chicken, the world is a diverse place, and if you don’t open your mind to different cuisines, you’ll miss out on a lot. A lot of new travelers have issues with eating dog or goat or bat, while they happily eat chicken, pig, and cow in their own country, and you soon learn that an animal is an animal, and the morals of eating meat aren’t specific to certain species.
Learning another language automatically increases your intellect, and the more you know, the more you know. If you’ve ever seen the movie Arrival, then you also know that a new language can change the way you think! Language is pretty magical and opens up a whole new world and way of thinking. And in the most obvious way, learning anything from a few phrases to becoming fluent makes your time overseas a lot easier, being able to communicate with the locals and find your way out of tricky situations.
One of the best things about traveling is undoubtedly the people I’ve met along the way. Getting to know the locals in each place can provide you with a unique perspective that you simply can’t find in a guide book. How do others perceive your home country? How do they perceive they own? What do they like and dislike about it? What other religions do people practice and how? Are local people welcoming, funny, hard-working? One thing that I discovered is that people across the world are a lot more similar at their core than you might think.
Not everyone lives the same way you do. There are so many different cultures, from religion, and beliefs to everyday practices, clothing, cuisine, and social cues. I discovered that blowing your nose in Asia is considered rude, but hocking and spitting is not, that people don’t smile at strangers in Poland and Russia, that people respect rest and time off in Europe, and that a head bobble is more common than a handshake in India. Learning that cultures are different rather than them being wrong or weird is an important element of traveling, and one that can take a while. It will definitely make your travels more enjoyable once you embrace this way of thinking too!
It may sound strange, but one thing I really love is to solo travel. Of course I love traveling with friends and having a good time in another country, but there’s something about traveling alone that really gives you a new perspective. You can travel at your own pace, do whatever you want to do, and let your mind wander and take everything in without the need to be constantly chatting. There’s something incredibly introspective about this, and I’d highly recommend it to everyone. Traveling in general gives you a sense of freedom and independence that you simply don’t get staying at home. I’ve learned that I can do so many things that I would never have thought I would be able to. It’s the most liberating feeling you’ll ever have, I promise.
So, I hope I’ve convinced you about the wonders of travel and inspired some of you to book your next trip. What do you think about this list? Is there anything you agree or disagree with, or would like to add? Let me know in the comments below about what travel changed in you.