For me traveling is a way to learn more about the world I inhabit. It’s a way to learn from others as well as a way to (hopefully) share my own knowledge with others. Simply put, traveling is my way of becoming a better person by bettering myself and giving back to the world.
Your own culture will be put in perspective. You’ll realize idiosyncrasies that you love and drive you wild. For instance, in Asia I was blown away by how friendly everyone was. I never saw a single person raise their voice or get in an argument, contrast that with America where not a day goes by that you wont see someone getting angry with their server at a restaurant or the checkout person at the grocery store. The idea of time was also much different. People didn’t rush here and there. Instead they enjoyed the moment and accepted that things will happen as they happen; rushing only brings undue stress and anxiety. In the states it seems that everything is always a race, and that is something I don’t personally enjoy.
On the flipside I realized how lucky Americans are to have such safe and sensible traffic, as well as our civil liberties that few other countries enjoy. By traveling you’ll come to realize many things such as this. You’ll find that there are things about your own culture that are certainly problematic, and you don’t particularly care for them. But you’ll also come to really appreciate where you are from, and what makes that place unique.
You’ll meet new people who will teach you things you could never learn at home. By directly interfacing with people from all over the world you’ll pick up many unique views and you’ll come to know many amazing people. Whether they are locals, or other travelers, you’ll soon realize that everybody has things they can teach you (some good, some bad; but invaluable nonetheless).
Travel is invigorating, especially traveling solo. When you’re on your own in a foreign country you find how creative and self-sufficient you really are. It takes you out of your comfort zone and puts in you situations that will challenge you, and in turn will cause you to grow as a person. Your plans will inevitably face challenges, and when this happens it forces you to think on your feet. You’ll quickly realize that you are a much more resilient and creative person than you’ve probably ever given yourself credit for.
Travel will teach you how to be okay with yourself, or the more cliché term “finding yourself”. You will unavoidably find yourself alone at times, whether by choice or circumstance. In life there is only one constant: you (or I). People, things, experiences, all of these come and go. However you are constant. Traveling will allow you to become intimately aware of all aspects, both good and bad, of yourself. You’ll realize things that make you truly happy, and things that you could do without. You’ll reflect on the people in your life, those that you love and those that bring you down.
The first time I traveled by myself, I was in a huge rut. Emotionally, professionally, spiritually, just all around in a bad place. Traveling certainly didn’t fix it, but it provided me with tools and experience to begin rebuilding myself. I returned with a renewed sense of faith in myself, I was confident that if I could survive on my own in a foreign country then I could certainly begin to get my life back on track.
Traveling is frightening, exciting, fun, difficult, and ultimately one of the most rewarding things a person can do.