As a travel blogger, I’m conflicted.
Travel has the power to change the world. But also to destroy it.
Fossil fuel consumption and economy destabilization aside, I cringe to know that among the thousands of folks reading my popular packing list, travel insurance warnings, etc., some are “bad” travelers. Traveling for “bad” reasons.
These peeps range from selfish bros psyched to visit a country where they can get wasted for $10 a day to the uninformed tourist shoving a camera in the faces of authentic-looking locals and steaming with indignation about having to pay to volunteer. 1A long and ongoing (offsite) discussion about the potential harm of volunteering is here.
However, travel can also be radically beneficial for all involved.
Travel’s greatest value is transformation. 2In my eyes, at least!
The types of personal and political change ignited by slow travel radiate outward, producing a butterfly effect of positivity.
So what are some good reasons to travel?
Travel allows you to hit the reset button, leaving cultural expectations behind and muting the cues that keep you in your thought/action routines. When said patterns are negative for you (and therefore everyone around you), breaking them creates a trickle-down effect of awesomeness.
Travel gives you time-freedom. Once you’ve experienced daily autonomy, you value it enough to have the courage to keep doing it. In the face of a culture that praises 60-hour work weeks, said audacity is priceless.
The excitement of new experiences brings momentum to your life, which trickles outward to community around you.
Travel is fertile ground to focus on new habits or pursuits you’ve intended to start for years – meditating daily, keeping a budget log, reading, learning, etc. The positive effects of such activities have been heavily documented, and they fill you with energy that you ultimately pass on to others.
You aren’t getting any younger. Putting off transformation is as silly as putting off healthy eating or spending time with loved ones. Look out for the tomorrow that never comes!
Travel is investing in yourself. The personal growth it catalyzes is a big resume booster… if you find you still care about resumes when you finish traveling!
Travel helps you avoid Randy Komisar’s “greatest risk” – spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you’ll be able to buy yourself the freedom to do it later. Even worse, when later finally comes, many find they’ve outgrown their dreams and are largely tending a garden of regrets.
Travel builds your identity capital – the currency we use to metaphorically purchase jobs and relationships. Identity capital is the key to a successful life as explained in Meg Jay’s excellent TED talk.
Novel environments trigger neurogenesis. Travel is one novel environment after another. It’s like taking your brain to the gym every single day. And I presume you will use your stronger (and happier?!) brain to make a difference in the world!
If you’re ready to plan a transformational trip, check out:
- The Real Cost of RTW Tickets
- How to Sleep For Free When You Travel
- How to Get a Free Backstage Cultural Pass
Happy Traveling! â™£
Want to travel the world?
Which of these reasons fit you?
Tell us in the comments!