I’ve been meaning to start this blog for a long time. It was over a year ago, in fact, when I pressed the button to create what would become my own website. I was living and working in Brisbane at the time, and had to rely on an hours free computer usage at the library to document my travels.
In retrospect, starting a blog with no laptop or wifi available wasn’t the best move, and yes, you guessed it – it didn’t last long! Just over a year later I’ve decided to give my blog another go, so I thought I’d begin with something that will underline what the blog is about; travel!
Why Travel the World?
My parents have always promoted travel. Growing up I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that I’ve always had a holiday each year, whether it be exploring the UK in a caravan or visiting European countries for a week at a time. As I grew old enough to explore independently, I continued travelling to other countries each year. Aside from this, long-term travel had never crossed my mind. It was my boyfriend who had suggested travelling to Australia for a year on a Working Holiday Visa after finishing our studies at university, and I had simply thought… why not?
It turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. There’s a reason why so many of us endorse travel. There’s a reason why so many people I know (including myself) have returned from travelling with that inevitable ‘travel bug’, claiming that it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done. I’m not telling everyone to quit their jobs and travel the world (though, if that’s what you want to do then of course, go for it!). I’m simply suggesting that we should all travel at some point in our lives.
It enables you to experience different cultures
You might think that travelling is simply about seeing different places. Whilst it is about seeing the natural beauty the world has to offer, it’s also so much more than that. It’s about experiencing different ways of life and different cultures, seeing how people live and what they experience during their lifetime.
I read once that travel is the best education, and what better way to learn than by experiencing things ourselves? Travel well and truly broadens the mind, and having the ability to explore and understand different perspectives couldn’t be more important right now. Education happens as soon as you leave your comfort zone and step out into the unknown. You just have to be prepared and willing to learn.
There’s beauty in the unknown
“China, why would you want to go there?”
Believe it or not somebody actually said this to me. I’ll admit, China wasn’t at the top of my travel list, but I’d like to think I’m better than judging somewhere I’ve never been. Just because China didn’t ignite my wanderlust, didn’t mean I wouldn’t travel there. I just never really knew what to expect; it was fairly unknown to me! We spent a month travelling around the country back in November last year, and you know what? China still isn’t somewhere I’ll be rushing to go back to, but I definitely would go back one day.
Because for all of the things I saw or experienced there that I didn’t like, there was so much that I did. And I’m not simply talking about visiting the Great Wall (though that was incredible). I’m talking about all the little things that made our trip special. If I hadn’t travelled to China I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit two schools and see how the Chinese education system works first-hand. I wouldn’t have met two incredibly sweet Chinese girls who took us around the markets in Shenzhen and showed us how bargaining is done.
There are a lot of things I wouldn’t have had the chance to do if I hadn’t travelled to China.
I’m so glad I did.
You can make friends all over the world
One of the best things about travelling is the people you meet and the relationships you build.
I stayed in hostels for the majority of my year in Australia. Whilst living in that environment for so long can be hard, it gave me the opportunity to live with people from Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina all at once! Living alongside so many others from South America inspired me to download a Spanish language app on my phone. It made me put South America into my travel plans for the foreseeable future! And when the time came for them to move on in their travels, I gained new roommates who were from the UK and who have become friends for life.
Travelling enables you to meet other like-minded people. Yes, hostel life is hard, but it’s also so much fun. In all honesty, I miss those days.
It makes you appreciate home
Not only does long-term travel make you miss all the people you can no longer see on a regular basis, but it also makes you really appreciate all of the little things you take for granted.
When I spent 15 months away from home I missed so many things that I’ve never really thought about before. Having a sofa to put my feet up and watch TV on, my fluffy pyjamas, my memory-foam mattress, Cadbury’s hot chocolate… and when you meet people who have a lot less than you do it really puts into perspective how much you take for granted.
If I hadn’t ventured from my home in the UK would I have had the opportunity to swim with wild dolphins? Nope. Would I have been able to hike the Tongariro Crossing, which stretches around the dramatic volcanic terrain of Mt Doom from The Lord of the Rings? Definitely not. Would I have been able to kayak, snorkel and scuba dive in the ocean? Well… possibly, but I’d have been freezing.
With travel comes adventure, albeit big or small, and with adventure comes memories that will last a life time.
It couldn’t be easier to do
Accessing different parts of the globe is now so easy to do. Flights to Europe from the UK can be incredibly cheap, Working Holiday Visas can be accessed by the click of a button. The amount of resources there are for travelling has boomed in recent years. Between guide books, blogs and travel agents, you’re all set for planning an epic adventure!
We have this incredible opportunity to travel the world, and we need to make the most of it.
For the challenge
Whether it’s feeling home sick, climbing a mountain when you’re super-scared of heights, travelling solo or in a country that barely speaks your language, travel does challenge you in some way or another.
It takes you out of your comfort zone. Has travel made me more confident? I’m not entirely sure yet, but my experiences so far have shown me that I’m capable of things I never thought I would be. I recently booked my first solo trip for later in the year which will involve volunteering at a turtle rescue center in Greece. Thinking about it now, I doubt I would have had the courage to do that two years ago; sometimes travel changes us without us even realising.
It makes you dream big
I once read the article How Travel Killed my Ambition which really resonated with me. If you have the time, I’d definitely suggest giving it a read. If you haven’t, then the writer concludes that travel didn’t kill her ambition, but changed it. Despite cultural norms and expectations, there are no rules that determine how you should live your life, and there are an endless list of ways in which you can!
Travel has made me realise that I don’t want to do something just for the sake of it. Life is too short! My dream is to be able to do what I love.
The good far outweighs the bad
Travelling isn’t always as comfortable as your usual daily routine. Bad things do occasionally happen. That time we took the wrong train from Barcelona back to Costa Brava and ended up the middle of nowhere? Or that time we got left behind on the Kiwi Experience bus in New Zealand… twice! Or that time we travelled to the Thai islands in rainy season and it rained allll week.
Do you know what all those bad things have in common? They make great travel stories! Stories that, in years or months, or maybe even weeks you’ll laugh about. And no matter how bad things get, you’ll have so many more incredible travel memories to outweigh them.
Don’t believe me?
Travel means different things to different people. We each have our own individual reasons why travelling is important to us!
Here’s what some other bloggers had to say:
“I think travel is important because it challenges me. It challenges me to be more curious, more independent, more courageous and more open-minded. Looking back to even just 12 months ago, it’s crazy how much I’ve grown as a person – and I attribute a fair chunk of that growth to my travels!”
– Sarah from 7 Steps From Home
“I love to travel to new places because it’s a great way of trying new things I wouldn’t normally get to try (such as husky sledding in Finland or walking behind waterfalls in Iceland). Plus, travel is an escape for me – it’s a bit of time off work, allowing me to explore somewhere new and leave the rain in Britain behind!”
– Justine from Wanderer of the World
“We travel the world to learn and to be educated on different cultures, and then in turn share our stories so that we can create an understanding that whilst we all may be a little different, in essence we are all similar. If we learn to understand each other rather than oppose each other, it can only create a more harmonised society. Let’s open people’s eye together.”
– Gaye from Curly Girlies
“I often view my life as a game of Memory and find that with each new travel experience or adventure I take, I am flipping over a new set of cards. All the cards are part of who I am and allow me to remember that part of myself. I feel most alive and connected with myself when I am traveling so I strive to feel that way as often as possible.”
– Rachel from Bergn Street
“I love to travel because it gives me time alone. My partner is a chef so his holiday time is limited but instead of staying home I travel the world solo – discovering new places and rediscovering myself.”
– Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic
“Travel has opened my eyes to different cultures, ways of life, and most importantly, a different outlook on the world. At the same time, it also makes me realize how innately human we all are, and we all share so many of the same emotions, dreams, values and human connections.”
– Kristen from Worn Passports
“I love traveling because it has pushed me to try new foods from different countries and cultures. I was once a very picky eater and traveling made me open up my mind to trying new things. Traveling is important because it allows each of us to learn something new about ourselves every time we travel somewhere new.”
– Courtney from The Mind of Court
“Travel is the unwritten education. It teaches you to dream, create, ‘think on your feet’, fight prejudice, live in the moment, love yourself more and see the value of diversity.”
– Megan from Hello Megan Marie
“Travelling and experiencing other cultures is the ultimate way to open my heart and expand the empathy I need to have for our fellow human beings. Meeting people abroad and seeing how they live and why narrows the divide between us, and blurs the obvious differences. I see travel as transformational and a way to cultivate love while eradicating prejudice.”
– Lindsay from Fener Adventures
“In travelling the world you learn to see in shades of grey and understand that you will never understand everything. You learn empathy, resilience, and adaptability. Travelling teaches you how to become the best version of you, you can be.”
– Candiss from Lost Not Found
“Travel allows us to explore not just places but also ourselves, our own being. It is a journey of life that leads us to a new perspective as we experience a culture that isn’t ours, a situation we first encounter and a strange feeling that our hearts been looking for. It is such an adventure that we must embark on to be a better human and be a citizen of the world.”
– Roneth from The Fickle Feet
Do you think travelling is important? Has it changed you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’ve enjoyed this post please share or leave a comment below!
_A special thanks to the bloggers that collaborated with me on this post.
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