“The world is a book and those who have not travelled have only read one page.” – St Augustine
I got the travel bug during university when I was on my year abroad on an exchange programme. I had some funds to spare so I decided to explore the world. Saving it for the ‘future’ probably would have been the smart thing to do but that would not have satisfied the adventurous me.
There are so many people who just cannot digest why anyone would spend money on such a thing as travel. The same people tend to believe that it is a complete waste of time and energy. But is it? For some reason, the people of the earth are completely obsessed with the idea of ‘settling down’. There’s so much more to life than that, surely? We weren’t made to make money for paying the bills.
Living a routine life day in, day out and being stuck in a rut can really suck the life out of you. You lose sight of what matters as you try and build your beloved ‘future.’ This future that you sacrifice your whole life for never comes though, does it? So it is better to live in the moment.
“Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett
Granted, going abroad to a new culture sounds intimidating and requires adaptation to new (maybe even alien?) surroundings. But this is when you get a chance to step out of your world and see it from a different view point. It puts everything into perspective and lets you ease away from the stresses of everyday life.
When you visit another country you may immediately notice different ways of living, thinking, doing. Now, if you really want to experience the culture it’s always a good idea to live like a local. Rent out a local apartment instead of staying in a hotel, opt for traditional dishes as opposed to the same old burger and fries, and really embrace the culture.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
The experiences you may have when abroad (both good and bad) can enrich your life in such an amazing way. It can really challenge you to come out of your comfort zone and adapt to your surroundings. I came across so many hurdles within my first few times of travelling; from losing my luggage and being stranded at an airport, to figuring out foreign transport and dealing with the language barrier. Although frustrating at the time, these moments became invaluable life lessons. Thinking on the spot and learning to be patient are just the few skills you can gather.
Exploring a different country may even push you to try new things; such as jumping out of a plane or having fried squid? It can really boost your confidence and instill a feeling of independence within you. To top it off, you will have the greatest memories … memories to last you a lifetime.
These memories can be with your beloved family, dearest of friends or maybe even strangers. Meeting new people is just another great thing about exploring. It’s usually the case that the friends you make while travelling stay in your life longer than you would expect. Sure, they may live oceans away from you but the bond you have with these ‘strangers’ is one you’ve probably never had before.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous
So, if you’ve been putting off going abroad because it may seem daunting then take a leap of faith and book that plane ticket! Who doesn’t love a holiday? It may even change your life. Okay, maybe that was a bit too dramatic but I assure you it will change you in one way or another. Trust me when I say that an investment in travelling is an investment in you.