Ever since we became friends in 2013, we’ve loved to discuss all of the location that we wanted to travel to together. From hiking Machu Pichu, to seeing the Pyramids of Giza, there’s so many places in this world we want to explore.
A lot of people online say they want to travel, but unfortunately many of these people only care if their trips are Instagram-worthy. Visiting new countries shouldn’t be about snapping selfies and staying in resorts. Travel should challenge you to learn about yourself and the destination.
Why Everyone Should Travel
Travel provides an opportunity to get out of your comfort and experience something incredible. If you always play it safe, you’ll never open yourself up to new adventures. Part of traveling is letting go of control and being willing to learn and discover. Those who allow themselves to fully experience a new culture find themselves letting go of the stress of their normal lives and embracing new possibilities.
Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” We couldn’t agree more. There are countless countries, cultures and people out in the world and if you only stay in one place at your 9 to 5, you’re missing out on so many life changing events.
Travel doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. You don’t have to be an adventurer to have new experiences. Travel and opening yourself up can mean something different for everyone, whether it’s falling in love with a vibrant city or challenging yourself in nature. The beauty of travel is that every new destination offers you something in unexpected ways.
For example, on a recent trip to Barcelona, Spain, we fell in love with Antoni Gaudi’s architecture. Instead of just a selfie in front of Sagrada Familia, we wanted to learn what we could about this famous man and how his vision shaped an entire city.
Everyone should travel for adventure, to relax, to explore and to inspire creativity. Let go of having edited photos for social media or doing fancy excursions to inspire envy. Make your next adventure a personal journey that teaches you about yourself and your travel style. We’ve learned a lot through every new destination and can’t wait to see what’s next!
Experiences > Material Goods
If your first thought is that you don’t have the time or money to travel, you’re not alone. We struggle with this too and definitely don’t travel as much as we would like. That’s because for most people, travel requires taking time off work and spending money. While we realize travel is a privilege, there are ways to make it easier to do.
For us, we value travel more than material possessions. Instead of buying fancy furniture and the latest technology, we’d rather save for our next vacation. We have friends who are always shopping and buying new things they don’t need. That’s something we try to avoid. Part of it is to save money for adventures and the other is to keep our place decluttered.
Another way to travel without spending too much is to start by staying closer to home. If you’re in Europe already, so many destinations are a train ride away. In North America, it’s not as easy to leave the country. But if you’re in the northeast region like us, a weekend in Canada is a road trip away. If you’re in the south, there are short flights from Charlotte, North Carolina and Miami, Florida to Central America and the Caribbean.
Lastly, another tip for travel is to not pre-pick your destination. What we mean by this is some resources, like Skyscanner, allow you to put in your closest airport and see where the best deals take you. If you allow yourself to be open, it can save money.
Embrace New Cultures
One of the highlights of travel is to learn about new cultures. Culture can come in many forms, from the history of the location to the food. Our biggest piece of advice is to be open to learn about how other people live. In Europe, people tend to go to markets more often to get fresh produce. Spend a weekend morning at one of these markets and people watch. If you’re new to the United States, one of the biggest traditions we have is Thanksgiving. If you find yourself here in November, find a restaurant with a typical Turkey dinner. Don’t forget the cranberry sauce.
But culture is even more than that. Culture embraces art, fashion, media and architecture. Culture also understands the past of a region and the current political situations. Learning about any one of these topics helps you understand people better. So don’t go to chains from your home country, don’t only speak to people from your home country and don’t only have experiences that make you feel comfortable. Get out, learn from the locals, eat like the locals and find what makes your destination unique.
Change Your World View
If you have left the country before, speak to someone who hasn’t or someone who hasn’t experienced local culture when they travel. Ask them about the world around them. A lot of the time (not always) these people will have some untrue thoughts of the world. Sadly, we’ve heard people make snapshot judgements and other those who are different. They want to stay in a safe little bubble where they can judge other cultures as inferior. Please remember, different is not better or worse.
Well-traveled people are less likely to be bigoted, especially those who really travel instead of only focusing on luxury experiences. Spend time with people who grew up differently than you and allow yourself to see what is out there. Limiting beliefs can easily be challenged by meeting new people and allowing yourself to have an open mind.
If we go back to the title of this article, we talk about how travel can change your worldview. So how does travel accomplish this? Travel pushes you to be in an unfamiliar environment in a place where you may not know the language. How will you react? Are you the type of person willing to learn or do you only want to do what’s familiar? Getting out, taking chances and filling your passport with stamps instead of your house with material goods is the most rewarding way to live. Letting go of stereotypes and allowing yourself to embrace the new and different, can have a profound impact on your life, making you a more intelligent, aware, creative and interesting person.
Have you had a travel experience that changed you? Let us know in the comments. For Christy it was her first time to Paris, France and for Ben it was his first time leaving North America when he visited family friends in Tunis, Tunisia.