"The wise man belongs to all countries, for the home of a great soul is the whole world." -Democritus
With the constant increase in accessibility and availability of travel possibilities, many of us can make travels to even the most remote corners of the world at relative ease. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in 2018, there was a record of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals, increasing by 7% from the previous year. While tourism and travel have greatly increased in the past years, it is not a new concept. Archaeologists have been able to map out the touristic travels of ancient civilizations such as the Mayans, Shang dynasty, and the Phoenicians. Therefore, Our ancestors were making travels long before Low-cost airlines, Big Bus Tours, and Airbnb.
What is it about traveling that draws us in and drives us to explore? As a species, we humans have always been inquisitive and held a fascination with the unknown. Traveling opens up the doors to countless experiences, encounters, and life lessons. Let’s explore the benefits of traveling and how it can help you grow, in a bit more depth:
On your trip 5000km away from home, you may expect to find a completely different language, culture, and way of life to what you are used to. With larger distances and different languages, preconceptions, stereotypes, and fear of the unknown. But through travel, you may come to realize that the differences you thought existed are not as extreme as you imagined. Traveling helps in connecting and learning about different cultures and ridding ourselves of existing preconceptions. We become more open-minded, tolerant, empathetic, and understanding towards one another. Being open-minded is one of the best skills you can have in your professional and personal life as this gives you a positive perspective on new challenges and helps you work with new people. As we are ever more interconnected with one another, cross-cultural competence and understanding is a skill that will never be futile.
Stepping outside of your normal routine, surroundings, and comfort zone helps to change your perspective, not only on your life but on the world around you. Travelling humbles you and can help to put your problems into a new perspective. Far too many times we might have an opinion on a place or culture before we had ever visited, and had this opinion completely transformed after our trip. You will learn to understand the world around you from a different perspective and build your understanding of the world around you. You will receive valuable lessons and experiences from other cultures and ways of life, which you can take away and can help you mold your daily life into something different.
Traveling helps you develop countless skills which can be useful both in your personal and professional life. You can develop decision-making, communication skills, confidence, independence, language skills, and problem-solving skills. Traveling places you in a new and sometimes confusing environment where you are forced to tackle new challenges whether you are ready or not. You will develop these skills in some way or another even without realizing it. Simple things such as asking for directions, ordering a meal, or looking for lost luggage will all challenge you differently, and help you develop a variety of skills.
Travel is as much about the people as it is the destination. During your travels, you have the opportunity to encounter many different people from all types of backgrounds. You have the chance to build lifelong friendships, or even build and test your existing relationships with your travel companion(s). Learning how to interact with different people in many situations is an important skill to hone and you can utilize this in all aspects of your life, for many years to come. Building new relationships and friendships with people from around the world can help you broaden your horizons and build your network.