Traveling is something that I love ever since I was little. Being able to visit places and learn different languages is something that always excite me. Not all people understand that though. A lot of people always ask me what I get out of traveling aside from spending a lot of money on airfare, hotel rooms, tours, and the likes without getting something tangible in return. Well I guess the answer is something the eyes couldn’t see and something that reason cannot always fathom.
Traveling gives me freedom. And a lot more than that.
Traveling shaped me to become the person that I am now. I’m not trying to sound narcissistic but rather inspire people by sharing to them how travel made me become a better version of myself. Here are some things that I learned from traveling.
- You develop confidence. I used to be this very shy person who would never initiate a conversation with anyone. When traveling, I learned how to ask for directions, how to haggle for a lower transportation fare or souvenir item, how to talk to strangers to learn about the place I am visiting. These are some of the things I have never imagined doing before. But traveling taught me how to be more confident about myself, to assert and to humble yourself by asking for help. My experiences made me realize that it doesn’t make you less of a person when you ask.
- You become better at conversations. Learning how to strike, blend in and maintain a conversation are usual difficulties of people, especially shy ones at that. Travel made me better at conversations, even long ones. There is really something inexplicable about being in a different place and having long conversations with others.
- You’ll learn to adjust. Most of the time we travel with other people. Yes, they may be long-time friends, relatives or colleagues in the work force, but there will always be something new to discover when you travel with them. For instance, you may be perked to try a new experience but the rest of the group are not hyped for it, then you learn to weigh the circumstances, decide and adapt to the situation. You become accommodating to the needs of others. Perhaps that is why other travelers prefer to go on a solo trip from time to time, it exposes to new experiences and allows them to discover things about themselves which may not surface when they are with others.
- You become more appreciative. Through years of traveling, I have learned how to appreciate every single thing that is going on around me. You get to see two sides of the coin: better and worse conditions than what you have at home and you end up appreciating both. A friendly smile from a local or an insider tip from somebody you’ve met along the way are little things that can somehow make an impact in your day in ways you never have imagined.
- You learn how to extend your patience. I have experienced long bus rides, missing the plane, stinky hotel rooms, faulty shower head, and a lot more. And it’s FINE. You will get to experience that too but NEVER let something very little ruin your whole experience. If something didn’t work out as planned, think of another way and move on. Let go of that experience and start picking yourself again so you can move forward. The experience doesn’t have to be flawless for it to be memorable. Be grateful when things turn out your way. Be patient and tolerant when it doesn’t.
- You become more reflective. This is something that comes out naturally for me. Especially when I go to places with less noise and with less activities to do. You learn to tune out the noise and listen to what is within you. When I am left with the view and the thought of how beautiful the world is, I am able to draw out a lot of reflections, simple and sometimes grand reflections about life. I guess this is something that’s brought by the fact that when you travel, you are out of your comfort zone, you are away from your usual routine and away from the usual people. Through that, you get to see life from a different and far greater perspective.
- You become joyful. Traveling gives you something more than happiness, and that is joy. For me, happiness is somewhat temporal. Joy on the other hand is something that lasts even after you leave the moment behind. And that is something that traveling gives me every single time. Yes, I do enjoy the activities, the merriment, the companionship, the fellowship and everything that goes with traveling. But the lasting effect that it gives me even when I am back to my reality is something that has changed me and even sustained me when things get dry again. The way I see and deal with things around me has been shaped by the learning and joy that I experienced through years of traveling. And it makes me hungrier to learn and explore because I believe that there is still a vast world to see and experience.
With all these things and more that traveling brings you, then there is no reason for you to just sit at home and wait for you to get old and imagine what could’ve been if you traveled more. I urge you to take the leap and travel. I understand that there could be a lot of other factors that may hinder you from exploring the world, but with proper planning and time management, I’m sure you’ll be able to find the right budget and time to jump off to your next adventure.