People often question me why I travel so much. To give you a bit of background, where I’m from, people tend to stick to the norm. You know, get a degree, get a job, get married and have babies type of life. Early on in life, I knew that wasn’t for me. While some girls dreamt of weddings and having the perfect home, I dreamt of foreign lands and discovering the unknown. Luckily, I’ve managed to find someone who wanted to do exactly the same thing. Despite finding a partner in crime, I was still frequently questioned. “You’re leaving again?” “Are you running away from something?” “Are you traveling to escape the realities of life and the seemingly endless responsibilities that come with it?” Okay, maybe no one asked me that last question verbatim, but you get the picture. People often don’t understand my lifestyle, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t expect them to.
However, after the seemingly endless barrage of questions from friends and family, I decided to really ask myself, why do I travel? Was I in fact running away? While all my friends are getting married and hoarding baby diapers, and here I am hoarding as many maps to exotic destinations as I can. I racked my brain to think of a somewhat logical answer to tell everyone else around me (apparently, traveling for the sake of trying new food is no longer valid!).
In the midst of my “soul searching” which is just a fancy way of me saying I was thinking over a bowl of ice cream, that’s when it hit me. People travel for different reasons. Some travel to learn more about the world. Some travel to experience things new things that force you out of your comfort zone. Whatever your reasons are, it doesn’t matter. Travel is personal and shouldn’t have to be justified to anyone.
People travel for different reasons but one thing I love about traveling is meeting other likeminded people. I’m part of this wonderful group of women, Girls Love Travel who constantly engaged in all sorts of travel talk and tips. It’s a beautiful sisterhood represented by strong independent women from all parts of the globe, brought together by something we all deeply love, travel.
So over my second bowl of ice cream (whoops!), I decided to ask them why they travel. Their responses left me nothing short of inspired and astounded. Now I am not saying that your reasons should resonate with mine (or ours), but hopefully they would somehow inspire you to explore beyond what’s familiar and to take the time to embrace the things that traveling can teach you.
I Travel Because it Puts Things in Perspective
One of the biggest lessons that traveling has taught me is that the world does not revolve around me. How could I ever dare to complain about food when I’ve seen people sort through trash just so they could eat. How could I ever be wasteful and selfish with what I have when I’ve seen people who have nothing gladly share their meal and open up their home to me? I travel because it teaches me humility. It teaches me kindness and empathy. Most of all, I travel because it teaches me to go beyond a person’s social status in order to truly get to know a person.
Ironically enough, some of the nicest and kindest people that we’ve met throughout our travels were people that didn’t have much. A fisherman, a garbage collector, a farmer. These people at one point or another, has placed perspective on what is important in life. They may not have a lot, yet they showed a different level of kindness, compassion and happiness. Yet sometimes, here we are mopping around because our 4g connection is slow and your favorite store ran out of your shoe size. The more you travel, the more you realize that you don’t need much to survive. A bag full of clothes (and snacks) is more than enough to survive on. Every day, I travel to meet more people like them and to hopefully, one day, be as happy, giving, and content in life as they are.
“I travel to remind myself that the world I live in everyday is so small in comparison to the rest of the world. It helps me keep thing into perspective.” – Loren Wallach
I Travel Because I want a Life Full of Memories.
I travel because it makes me feel small compared to the vast world waiting to be discovered. It pushes me out of my comfort zone to do things out of the ordinary and to more importantly, to live a fulfilling life. A life filled with memories and not things. I have probably been the poorest that I have ever been in my life. I own a backpack full of clothes…and that’s pretty much it. I can also happily say, that I’ve never been more content.
Yes, I don’t have the latest gadgets to show off to people. Yes, I still wear clothes which I had from highschool, but really, it doesn’t matter. Things are things. Your life is not measured by the amount of things you have but by the experiences and memories that you’ve accumulated. I may not have the latest iPhone, but I have travelled through 4 continents and have made amazing memories in each place. I want to look back at my life and smile at every bruise, scrape, and crazy memory that I remember (fingers crossed I don’t go senile!)
“To never stop traveling is to never stop learning. Wherever you go, different cultures, untold histories, new languages, as well as new ways to see yourself and others. Through solo travel, I’ve discovered a new found sense of capability and confidence in myself. I’ve also experienced so much kindness and generosity around this crazy amazing world. Time and time again, I’ve been taught by travel that we all have so much more in common than not. Through never ending exploration and adventure, we have the opportunity to learn about the true beauty of that fact.” – Allison Fluetsch
I Travel Because I want to Learn and Discover.
After a couple of years of backpacking, I found that I quickly got tired of traveling just to party and have fun. Don’t get me wrong-that side of traveling is fun too. I quickly learned that traveling is so much more than having a good time. It is about meeting people and learning something new about them. It is about understanding a way of life that is completely different from mine but learning how to respect and adapt to it. It is discovering things about yourself that you didn’t know you had in you. It is about being open, willing, and accepting of things that are different to your norm. It is about experiencing the unknown, be it a new flavor, taste, or smell. It is about understanding that each and every one of us is different-and that’s okay. Traveling is the best teaching experience that anyone could ever have.
“Personally, to me travelling is the closest thing humans have to living in a different word, a fantasy land. It’s amazing to experience something totally different to the basic norms of your daily life. It’s a total escape, a fantastic cultural cleanse; nothing excites me more than visiting an exciting new land that might as well be fiction in comparison to where I am from and what I am used to living,a whole new world to explore! Travelling is a huge aspect of what gives the uniqueness, diversity and of course fantasy to life!” – Charis Oakley
I Travel Because Life is Short
We are not guaranteed old age. Time will not hold still for us. ANYTHING can happen in a blink of an eye. I want to live my life to the fullest. I travel because I don’t want to be part of a statistic of people who let life pass them by.
You have a dream? Then get out of your computer chair and start making actionable plans on how to make it happen. Traveling has taught me how to become a doer. How the possibilities in life are actually endless if you just put your mind (and soul) to it. We are lucky to be living in a generation where more and more people live unconventional lives. People who choose to live their life on their terms. So do I travel to escape life? No. As the popular quote goes, I travel so life doesn’t escape me.
“I travel because when I was four, freedom got taken away from me and limited me by temporarily paralyzing me. I travel because I can.” – Jennifer Aitken
I Travel to Appreciate
Last but not least, I travel because I want to appreciate. I want to appreciate people and relationships. I travel because I want to appreciate the little things in life like a comfortable bed or the joys of a home cooked meal. I travel to appreciate the kindness of strangers, the warmth of old friends, and the feeling of connecting with new ones. I travel because I want appreciate the goodness in people, despite all the terrible things that we hear in the news. I travel because I do not want to live my life in fear. I travel to appreciate this life that I have been given which makes me determined to make the most out of it and live it to the fullest.
“I travel to feel. The feeling of missing your family, the feeling of seeing the most beautiful sights that you never thought imaginable, the feeling of having to leave places and people you fall in love with.
The feeling of conquering your own self doubt and feeling powerful.” – Kayla Taylor
How about you? Why do you travel?
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out a few of our other articles below
- Things I Learned From Being a Solo Female Traveler
- 5 Things I Learned From Traveling
- The Ultimate Christmas Gift List for Adventurous Travelers