Travel Stories

Why You Should Travel: My Personal Journey of Discovery

I still remember the excitement I felt when I booked my first solo trip abroad. I was 22, fresh out of college, and wanted to experience the world before settling into a career. However, everyone I knew questioned why I wanted to “waste money” on traveling. Surely, I had better things to spend my limited funds on?

Yet that three-week backpacking adventure completely changed my life and perspectives. It set me on a path of frequent globe-trotting that has hugely shaped the person I am today.

If you’re on the fence about whether travel is worthwhile, let me convince you with my first-hand experiences why you should make it a priority now.

Throughout my journey, I’ve discovered that travel doesn’t have to be expensive. With a bit of research and flexibility, it’s possible to explore incredible destinations without breaking the bank. I’ve compiled a list of budget travel destinations that offer unique experiences and unforgettable memories at an affordable price.

Travel Pushes Your Limits and Leads to Massive Personal Growth

To be completely honest, I felt terrified as the airplane departed on that first solo trip to Thailand. Could I navigate a foreign country on my own? Communicate effectively? Stay safe.

It turned out to be one of the most stretching and rewarding experiences of my life.

Every day posed new challenges like deciphering transport schedules, bargaining in street markets, and navigating water activities I’d never tried. I was forced so far out of my comfort zone every single day.

In the process, I unlocked aptitudes I never knew I possessed. Problem-solving. Patience. Resilience. Independence like I’d never experienced.

Travel shows you what you’re truly capable of. Pushing your limits unlocks dormant talents that remain hidden within routine lifestyles.

Once you prove to yourself that you can handle unfamiliar scenarios far from your support network, your self-confidence will skyrocket. You’ll begin seeing yourself as the globetrotting, capable adventurer you never dared to admit you could be.

And taking this newfound confidence back into “regular” life? It completely changes how you approach every situation, whether asking for a promotion or resolving conflicts more effectively.

Why Should I Travel? It Opens Your Mind in Unimaginable Ways

To be blunt, I used to silently judge cultures different from my own. Thai people eat strange foods, and people from X country behave oddly. Subconscious prejudices I didn’t even realize I harbored.

Stepping into those cultures utterly shattered those narrow perspectives.

When I stayed with a local Thai family and witnessed their generosity firsthand…trying “bizarre” dishes that ended up being delicious…realizing people everywhere value family, friends, and security much like I do, despite outward differences.

Travel unravels ignorantly surface-level judgments into deeper understanding.

You’ll gain empathy realizing people everywhere struggle with similar core human needs – to be happy, safe, and connected. Removing judgment enables you to appreciate the beautifully diverse solutions humans have crafted to meet these shared needs.

Gaining this global lens completely shifts how you view the world, and how you approach differences in fellow citizens once home.

Travel Cultivates Profound Gratitude

As a privileged Westerner, it’s easy to take basics like reliable electricity, clean drinking water from every tap, and smooth roads for granted. Such infrastructure frustrations disappeared during my very first trip to a developing country.

Suddenly I felt overwhelming gratitude for the conveniences I’d always accepted as rights. Seeing how happily locals embraced life despite lacking “necessities” I’d considered standard awoke deep appreciation for how blessed my normal existence was.

This attitude of gratitude bled into all areas back home. I stressed less over life’s minor inconveniences after witnessing the joy possible without running water or reliable electricity. Every returned trip continues highlighting how blessed I am rather than taking my lifestyle for granted.

Travel is a masterclass in gratitude. Realizing how good you already have it – that’s the ultimate souvenir.

Travel Teaches You to Live in the Present

My normal life used to be consumed with future planning. Should I ask for a promotion? Where do I want to settle down? How much should I save this month? Busy, busy.

Solo backpacking forced me into the present moment. Navigating between train stations. Finding lodging every few days. Budgeting expenses. The logistics involved dominated my mind, forcing me to focus on the now instead of future what-ifs.

Travel pulls you into the joys of current moments. With no access to familiar routines and habits, you live deliberately. Savoring street food, wandering through markets, and befriending fellow travelers in hostels become your world.

Learning this skill to lose yourself in the now – that’s an invaluable life lesson. How much happier can we be if appreciating current moments replaces dwelling on the unchangeable past or unknowable future?

I still struggle with occasional future-tripping. But activating my senses, something every trip taught me, helps me redirect into the stunning depth of right now.

Traveling Introduces Lifelong Friends

Before traveling, most of my friends came through the pipeline of school and family friends. Comfortable…yet homogenous.

Solo backpacking threw me together with wildly diverse travelers I’d never normally meet back home. Other solo adventurers, fun groups I got separated from at bars, and even locals who became quick friends.

Thanks to platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, it’s easier than ever to maintain globe-spanning friendships sparked through the passion of wanderlust.

One overnight train ride in Colombia bonded me with two Germans so profoundly that we scheduled a reunion meetup two years later in Croatia!

These friendships fill my life with inside jokes spanning countries, endless travel tales, and yes – free couches to crash on upon future visits.

Travel friendships feel more sacred with that shared love for adventure. You instantly vibe with other explorers willing to face discomfort in pursuit of awe.

Traveling Creates Stories Worth Telling

Before traveling, what stories did I have? How funny my cat was, office gossip, a disastrous Tinder date?

Post-travel life? Now we’re talking.

Hitchhiking with Chinese monks. Getting lost in the twisty-turny laneways of Marrakech’s medina for hours. Accidentally barged in on a secret gambling hall in Milan.

People’s eyes light up sharing these outrageous tales. Travel mishaps turn into legendary moments – like fighting a wild monkey to protect my vintage sunglasses in Ubud’s Monkey Forest!

Yes, I lost that battle…but gained an encounter worth retelling for decades.

Even simple discoveries become great stories: seeing Rome’s Trevi Fountain at midnight or stumbling across the perfect beach in Koh Lanta I had all to myself for an entire sunny afternoon.

Having a bank of exotic tales makes you the life of every party and social event. Sharing pictures and stories helps others feel like they’ve traveled the world from their couch!

Travel injects your life with serious spice. Fried noodles for breakfast in Chiang Mai…fearlessly scooter-ing around islands…there’s no substitute for first-hand adventures.

Traveling Reconnects You With Loved Ones

Like many friendships back home, I took family bonds for granted pre-travel. We rarely called “just to talk”, everyone was busy with their own lives. Packing schedules full without penciling in quality time.

Travel changed that.

Spending extended periods far from my parents, siblings, and grandparents – I often keenly missed familiar faces. I started reaching out more frequently. My family began sharing silly daily details just to feel connected, conversations previously lacking.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder should be adapted: absence through travel makes family ties grow stronger.

Now I cherish family visits, no longer casually expecting loved ones will always be there. And I infuse get-togethers with travel photo albums and exotic souvenirs that fascinate young nieces and grandparents alike!

Travel strengthens relationships with renewed gratitude. Long-distance trips highlight how important family is, inspiring you to nurture bonds however possible across the miles.

Why Travel? It Allows You to Check Items Off Your Bucket List

Ask people what’s on their bucket list, and travel dreams so frequently top mentions. Safari safaris. Northern Lights. Epic road trips. Thanks to the wonders I’ve witnessed globe-trotting, I can proudly check off most bucket list items before hitting 30.

I never expected to realize so many goals this early…or add even more daring dreams along the way!

Catching the sunrise over Angkor Wat temples? Check. Soaking in the surreal blue waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa? Double check.
Surfing gigantic waves in Sri Lanka? Triple check!

When else in life will you have such freedom to pursue exotic bucket list adventures? Between demanding jobs, eventually raising families, and other limitations on time and responsibilities – the reality is those big-ticket dreams get harder to achieve.

Travel lets you seize the day to accomplish goals NOW – before mortgages and parental duties kick in!

Why Should I Travel? It Returns You Home with Fresh Eyes

When I first landed back home after long trips abroad, the familiar suddenly seemed exotic.

I noticed quirky architectural details around my neighborhood for the first time. Started exploring cool hidden galleries, mom n’ mom-and-pop shops, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants I’d previously ignored for years.

My city felt full of treasures after scanning foreign skylines. I became a tourist in the place I’d always called home!

Travel makes you fall back in love with the beauty surrounding you daily – which you’ve simply taken for granted.

The key is avoiding the post-trip blues of immediately rushing back to routine. Intentionally play hometown tourist. Let travel-honed observation skills reveal never-before-noticed details hiding in plain sight.

It feels like discovering an exciting new city without the jet lag!

Travel Allows You to Design Your Ideal Lifestyle

Initially, the fear of losing income from taking off time for travel paralyzed me. Could I afford those “non-productive” weeks away from work?

Turns out luminaries like Dave Ramsey are right: travel isn’t an expense but an investment.

The personal growth, lifelong friends, outside-the-box professional insights, and strengthened bonds gained – I returned home “richer” from every trip.

Eventually, I discovered ways to balance work and wanderlust through an online business model granting location flexibility. Several friends make ample money teaching English abroad. Others travel for months between high-season tour guiding or skill-based digital nomad gigs.

Thanks to remote work technologies travel no longer requires completely tapping savings or pausing careers.

Where there’s will (and planning!), financial ways exist to travel perpetually.

Travel today creates time+money freedom tomorrow to continue exploring the world indefinitely.

Figure out the pathway that suits your unique skills and interests. Then get traveling!

Still Not Convinced? Here Are More Quick Reasons You Should Travel

  • It pushes your problem-solving skills as daily logistics differ drastically from home routines
  • You get to satisfy your taste buds by trying exotic new foods – say hello to dim sum for breakfast!
  • It introduces you to mind-blowing art and music you’d never discover back home
  • You can check out cutting-edge technologies other cultures have adopted quicker
  • It rewires your brain positively through exposure to new stimuli and situations
  • You gain the ultimate souvenir: a profound feeling of gratitude for the life you already have
  • It teaches you to live fully in the present moment, away from past regrets and future worrying
  • You laugh more releasing feel-good endorphins that boost your mood for months afterwards!
  • It exposes you to new wellness modalities and health-boosting behaviors
  • You gain bragging rights once home sharing those unbelievable experience photos!

Bottom Line

Hopefully convincing personal reasons why you should travel now overflow in your mind!

Essentially, intentional travel unlocks your human potential, unlike any other activity. Pushing comfort zones, gaining global perspectives, cultivating gratitude – what other singular act expands life skills and self-knowledge so profoundly?

Trust me, no matter your demographic – students, corporate executives, new parents, retirees – traveling will enrich your life and relationships immeasurably.

The only thing you’ll regret is not journeying sooner!

So what’s stopping you? Hopefully, I’ve succeeded in explaining why YOU should travel while you have the chance! Discuss dream destinations with friends, make vision boards and research deals.

Then start packing those suitcases and head confidently towards growth-transforming adventures!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are quick answers to common questions for those still unsure about taking the travel plunge:

Is it safe to travel solo?

With proper precautions regarding valuables, transportation, and accommodations! I felt far safer wandering alone as a petite woman than often assumed.

Do I need to speak another language?

Not at all! English is widely spoken around tourist hubs while translation apps help fill gaps. Learn key phrases to be polite but don’t let a language barrier stop you!

Isn’t travel only for the wealthy?

Absolutely not! Backpacking around Southeast Asia cost me hardly anything thanks to ultra-budget transportation and accommodation. Get creative: house-sitting, work exchanges, camping, and seasonal jobs can make longer-term travel more affordable.

What if I don’t have anyone to travel with?

All the more reason to go solo! Traveling alone allows you to be completely self-reliant while often connecting deeper with locals, and fellow travelers. Join organized small group tours to safely meet like-minded adventure buds.

I can barely plan a night out – how do I organize an overseas trip?

Online sites like TripAdvisor make it SO easy! Find crowd-sourced reviews on everything from attractions to hotels. Consult free travel agent services. Local tourism sites share sample itineraries taking the guesswork out!

Isn’t it better to save money instead of spending on non-essentials like vacations?

As discussed throughout this article, travel provides ROI that cannot be quantified financially – personal growth, global perspectives, and lifelong connections. Prioritize it as an investment on par with 401Ks!

Hopefully, the reasons above resonated and sparked your urgent travel bug! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions about why EVERYONE should travel.


Anna Walters is a storyteller at heart, with a contagious love for exploration. Through captivating narratives and stunning visuals, they'll whisk you away on their thrilling adventures around the globe.


Anna Walters is a storyteller at heart, with a contagious love for exploration. Through captivating narratives and stunning visuals, they'll whisk you away on their thrilling adventures around the globe.

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