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Counting down the days to a big trip is a period full of anticipation and excitement. I look forward to the place I’m going to visit, the things I’m going to see, and the people I’ll get to meet. But aside from this natural feeling of joy and happiness, travel has given me back so much more.
In fact, here are five powerful benefits of travel that will make you book that trip you’ve been putting off.
1. Travel Connects Us with Ourselves
When we travel, we leave the comfort and familiarity of our life at home and trade it in for an experience we don’t always have control over. My fourty-something-year-old self could never have imagined the hurdles and obstacles I have come up against as I explored the world and pushed my limits. In fact, as you come up against situations outside your comfort zone, such as language barriers and missed travel connections, you’ll surprise yourself at how you handle them. Being able to work through these is a valuable life experience.
It builds confidence in our independence that you can translate at home to make you more resourceful, creative and more confident in your independence. To change your life for more happiness.
2. Travel Motivates and Inspires
An incredible trip can give you pause for thought and lead you to a turning point in your life. Are you happy in your career? Do you have other big ambitions? Perhaps a trip gives you the creative burst you’ve been waiting for.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Glinsky, Columbia Business School and author of many studies on the relationship between creativity and travel. Who doesn’t come back from a trek or adventure with a renewed sense of energy and focus? Capitalise on that feeling and apply that motivation to life back home.
3. Travel Connects Us with Other Cultures
It really is true that travel is the best education. It gives us a new-found appreciation and respect for people and their practices. You don’t need to agree with a cause or tradition but embrace the opportunity to understand. The sharing of culture could be as simple as sharing a favourite meal with somebody else.
I tried Ema Datshi, a dish of chillies and a local cheese in Bhutan was a rich taste like no other, and something I wouldn’t know of if I hadn’t visited. When I visited Nepal for the first time, I learned that leather objects are forbidden in Hindu temples; cows are sacred animals there. Shoes and leather belt stay outside!
These shared moments of culture not only benefit a traveller though, they also help people you encounter work to preserve their ways of life.
4. Travel Changes Our Perspectives
How we view countries and how we view people is very often from the comfort of our home behind a book or a screen. Only through travel can we quash our preconceived notions of the world and discover the truth. And it works both ways. As a visitor to another country, you have the chance to show those that live there to look past your country’s stereotypes.
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5. Travel Reinforces How Similar we are
We may all be human, but often than not we tend to zoom in on what differentiates us. However, when we only see differences in language, habits and appearance, we are blind to the things we share. Take proverbs. Did you know that the phrase to “shed crocodile tears” exists in more the 50 languages worldwide? Do you also take your shoes off when you enter somebody’s home? Do you celebrate the same religious festivals? Newfound friendships can form off the basis of these similarities. Embrace them!