Whether you grew up in a cosmopolitan city or a backwater town, seeing the world is an important part of both self and universal discovery. When you’re on the road you’ll have unparalleled experiences – ones that you would never have if you don’t leave the bubble of your hometown. Here are just a few of the ways travel will change you:
Discover the kindness of strangers
When you head off on your travels, the idea of being alone in an unfamiliar country where you probably don’t speak the language can be pretty daunting. But no matter how bad the news can make the world seem, people are on the whole pretty amazing. Stuck in Eastern Europe without access to Google Maps? You’ll definitely find a bus driver to point you in the right direction.
While growing up you get into the habit of letting people know where you are. If you went to the movies with your friends, you’d leave a note for your Mum, and if you missed the last train home, she’d probably pick you up too. When you travel you realise that the only one that is going to take care of you, is you. That might be scary at first, but the sense of achievement that comes with sorting your own problems out is incredibly empowering.
Rely less on technology
City living often means being glued to your smartphone and/or laptop. Whether it’s sharing your life with friends on Facebook, keeping up with your colleagues over email, or finding your way home from the pub after work using Google Maps, we’re are completely reliant on technology. But data roaming is expensive, and shockingly, there are places that do not have Wi-Fi, so you may occasionally find yourself disconnected. Humans are amazingly adaptable, and you will soon learn to live without it.
Change your perspective
Living in one place your whole life – home to work, work to pub, pub to home – you can easily forget how big the world is. You get caught up in the daily routine and forget to consider that there might be more to life. We’re not saying you have to give up your city life and hit the road with nothing but the clothes on your back. But getting away from time to time allows you to broaden your horizons – literally. Of course, if you want to give it all up for the road less travelled, that’s cool too.
Become more tolerant
Home living means that we get used to certain creature comforts. Pre-packaged food, goose down duvets, and the ability to listen to any song or watch any movie ever at any time to name just a few first-world luxuries. Then of course there are the things we think of as basic needs, like electricity and running water. Going abroad will teach you how to live without these things, which, contrary to what you might think, is totally possible. And as an added bonus, when you return to your city life, you will appreciate what you have so much more.
Learn the true meaning of “awesome”
It has been the point of many a stand up comedian that we have caused words to lose their true meaning. Is it really “hilarious” that you saw the guy who works at the off licence at the cinema. Those Buffalo wings probably are pretty tasty, but are they really “to-die-for”? And meeting a few mates after work is great, but is it really “awesome”? Standing on the edge of the largest salt flat in the world at sunset? That’s awesome.
Learn about other cultures
People travel for different reasons. Some go to see the sites. They want to tick the Empire State building, Grand Canyon and Table Mountain off their bucket list. Others travel to meet people; to interact with the locals, integrate into communities and learn about different cultures. Seeing the sites is great, but it’s the people you meet that will make your trip truly special.
Connect with local people – five islands
Perfect the art of story telling
The more you travel, the more stories you will have to tell, and you’re going to want to tell them well. Luckily, when you are on the road, staying in different hostels and B&Bs, you’ll meet plenty of people. This gives you the chance to learn about other peoples stories, and have a go at telling your own. Storytelling has always been a global currency, and in this day and age of hyper-connectivity, it’s never been so valuable.
Discover your story – Uganda marathon
Discover true freedom
While the feeling of freedom is similar to the feeling of independence, it’s not quite the same. Feeling independent is feeling like you don’t need anyone but yourself, but freedom gives you the ability to try anything you want. Living a typical urban life often means feeling like you “have to” do a lot of things – work, gym, social engagements. But when you’re out there, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. That’s freedom.
Become friends with yourself
Even if you’re travelling with another person, or a group of people, travelling is when you truly get to know yourself. Being faced with new challenges will teach you to think on your feet and let the things you can’t do anything about slide. You’ll expose parts of yourself that you don’t usually get to see, and you’ll like it. And the more you get to know yourself, the more amazing (in the true sense of the word) you’ll realise you are. The minute you realise it, everyone else will too.