1. You Learn What Your Real Priorities Are
Life is a series of choices, and a lot of the time, we make those choices blindly. In the end, we are the choices we make.
Think of the last time you spent an hour scrolling aimlessly down your Tik Tok feed. Did you plan to do that, or did it just sort of happen? How many times have you said to yourself “I’d love to, but I don’t have the time” and then found yourself watching something trending on Netflix, or spent hours playing an addictive game on your Xbox One, PS4 or smartphone?
Travel forces you to make these choices consciously. Every dollar is given a role. Every spare minute can be spent on experiences that will stay in your mind for a lifetime. You stop letting the small stuff get to you like it used to before traveling. Your awareness of everything is heightened—and that includes that inner voice inside you that’s saying what you really want out of life.
2. You Realize How Little You Actually Need
Travel also teaches you the true value of material possessions, aka “Stuff”.
When you have to carry every single item you own, you quickly learn what things you can do without. We all need very little to survive (starting with food, water, shelter, and a way to sustain all three) and beyond that, a lot of modern possessions are non-essential and therefore disposable.
It’s also a fact that most of the things we pack when we travel can be found at our destination, sometimes a lot cheaper than at home.
I now take a much simpler approach to the way I travel. For longer travels, I personally travel with a sports backpack, a medium-sized duffle bag, and sometimes a small camera bag. If your life feels cluttered with stuff, take an inventory of your possessions, and try asking yourself what things you really don’t need.
3. The News Exaggerates, But Travel Shows The Reality of Things
The most negative news travels the furthest because it receives the most views. You never hear about the 99.9% of people having a normal day – you hear about the 0.1% who aren’t.
When was the last time you saw a news story that only showed good things going around the world and that today nothing crazy happened?
Bad, negative news gets the most clicks. News that generates outrage is also the most popular on social media. The news seduces us into feeling fear and helpless because that’s what generates the most reaction in audiences—and that’s ruining our ability to see what the rest of the world is really like.
In fact, as you travel through several countries, you’ll notice that its not as bad as it’s displayed on the news. You might even find that it’s quite the opposite or safer than your hometown back home.
4. You Learn That People Are Inherently Good
By default, foreign people are good, in the sense that you are good.
Almost everyone you will meet on your travels is concerned with the same things you are—how to keep themselves and their families clothed, fed, and safe while living a happy, fulfilling life for themselves.
They don’t want to make enemies—they want new friends. They don’t want your fear or anger—they want your respect. They’ll also be curious about who you are, and will want to hear all your stories after you ask them about theirs.
Yes, we’re different, but we’re also very much the same. We’re all in this life journey together. We’re all human yet unique in our own ways.
5. You Discover How Big And Complex The World Really Is
If you’re from the United States, it’s easy to think your part of the continent is the biggest on earth. Perhaps you’ve taken a road trip from coast to coast, from San Francisco to New York, and it blew your mind that it took five days driving eight hours a day.
Now picture this for a second, the continent of Africa is even bigger than the States, India, China, and most of Europe combined!
The world is bigger than your brain can handle, and you won’t believe it until you’ve seen it for yourself. It’s also filled with more multicultural complexity than you’ve ever handled at home which stimulates your mind in an amazing way.
6. Seeing the World Makes You More Humble
You’ll feel it the first time a stranger takes you into his or her home and treats you like family. When someone who has very little still willingly shares with you what they have.
You feel it when you see others living in poverty, yet seem very happy enjoying life with their friends and families. It makes you feel grateful for all the comforts you have back home.
You’ll feel it when you realize the people you meet are doing absolutely fine without anyone else’s help, and when they’re doing something quicker and more efficiently than you ever learned at home.
You feel it when you are lost somewhere, and there’s no shortage of complete strangers willing to help.
Unconsciously or not, we all go out into the world with a set of prejudices about what we’re going to expect—and the world replaces them with empathy, humbleness, and the realization of how little we really know.
7. The Way You See the World is Always a Choice
Travel is the best education in the way the real world works – but it also teaches you how to see things differently. You’ll learn more by being out there in a country in person rather than learning about it in a classroom.
It’s not naive to see the best in people before they confirm it for you. It’s not impractical to want to see the greatest sights on earth or take part in its most unique experiences.
It’s not crazy to see uncertainty and change as more attractive than comfort and stability. Change is one of the greatest benefits travel can offer because, without change, nothing grows!
Travel is about wanting to see everything better, and then going and doing something to make it happen. After all these changes take place within you, the way you see the world then changes.