Adventure. Curiosity, Self discovery. Escapism. Education. People travel for many different reasons, and most of us world travelers have been motivated by all of the items on this list at some point in their lives. No matter why you choose to go, however, you are certain to be changed by the experiences you have when you let go of your comfort zone and open yourself up to everything this wide world can throw at you.
There is simply no better way to learn about the world than to travel everywhere you can. Experience truly is the best teacher. All those disembodied facts and pieces of history that you picked up in school suddenly become much more meaningful when you can see them in effect in the world around you. And you’ll be learning far more than facts — you’ll be learning first hand what the streets of Mumbai smell like, what cooking tastes like in Zimbabwe, and listening in a cafe to what makes French such a beautiful language.
The most important lessons, however, have little to do with measurable qualities. When you travel, you’ll see stunning landscapes and witness inspiring human monuments, but you’ll also meet people who you would otherwise never have the opportunity to know. Whether you intend to or not, you’ll have no choice but to set aside your expectations, your preconceptions and you prejudices and come to understand other lives and other cultures.
The true mystery of meeting people, however, is not how different they are but how much you’ll find you have in common even when you’re halfway across the globe and can barely communicate.
Travel is certainly the best way to learn about the world we share. What might be more surprising, however, is that sometimes we have to fly to a different continent in order to learn more about yourself.
Stripping away everything that you is familiar and comfortable can be an extremely strange experience. When you travel, there is very little to fall back on besides yourself and your abilities without any of the support system you are used to. It can be scary, but it can also be empowering and liberating.
Once you are in a situation where every single thing you are doing is brand new, it’s easier to just let go and expand your horizons. You might never dream of starting a conversation with the person next to you on the bus or your taxi driver at home, but find that your tuk tuk driver in India has some amazing stories to share and the best ideas for what you should do with the last day of your trip.
When you finally come home, you’ll find that you’ve stretched and grown in new ways, and those changes make the city you’ve lived in for years fresh and exciting as well. When you are truly a traveler at heart, you are never not embarking on your next great adventure.