Why do we travel?
If you ask an ardent traveler the question, “Why do you travel?” You may not get a friendly facial response because the answer might really differ from person to person and this totally depends on how long they have been traveling and where they have collected passport stamps. While some people travel for the food, others for the entertainment, some for history and of course others do just for the “experience”.
I think the important question is not “why travel?” The real concern should be why you should travel and the benefits you can get out of traveling. A lot of times, when I mention to people that I am from New Orleans, LA, I get greeted with a knowing smile and a drunken story of friends that visited the city and ate so much they gained ten pounds in two days and because this happens often, I no longer get shocked. Instead I often suggest hot spots like Snug Harbor, encourage them to eat some crawfish with some locals at the City Park or even stop by the World War II Museum. Hopefully these suggestions will give them an opportunity to see the city in a different light instead of just memories of gaining weight and passing out on Bourbon Street although those stories are fun to tell when reminiscing with a couple of friends.
The honest truth is that traveling is an opportunity for you to get out of your comfort zone while at the same time giving yourself a break from the chaos often attached to trying to be a good mom, a good sister, a good child, a good friend a good partner and generally a good person. This is not to say that it is wrong to be a good person however, traveling allows you to experience the world away from you instead of just living in the world around you. Yes, with the hustle and bustle of building a career, family and life at home, we often forget about who we are at our very cores and that we are a part of a planet that holds 8 billion other people. These people are just like you but they are culturally different from you and that is where traveling steps in. You get to experience life in their eyes too. Still not convinced? I encourage you to travel for these 5 reasons…
- Traveling Leaves You With A New Appreciation Of Life
Traveling allows you reflect to on where you have been. It often times even provide clarity as to where you are going. There is a certain clarity gained from seeing how other people maneuver life in their own way and culture and this clarity provides in a way some understanding about your current situation in life.
Traveling allows you to see the glass as half full as opposed to half empty and this realization leads to an appreciation and gratitude of everything that is instead of focusing on things that aren’t.
- Traveling Broadens Your Perspective Of Life
Meeting people from other cultures will teach you that the lens through which you see life might be a little foggy and seeing and experiencing the world around you in a first person perspective will broaden your understanding of global issues and also impact your opinions on local ones.
- Traveling Allows You To Try New Things
It does not matter if you are an art history fanatic or a science geek, traveling provides new adventures in all genres. I often find myself at photo galleries no matter where I go just to understand the minds of local artists and to be introduced to different motivations. Most times this leads to meeting strangers and ends with great conservations over great meals. In fact, there was one time in Brazil where it led me to partying in the rain in the favelas with complete strangers just dancing the night away to good music.
- Traveling Has No Deadline
The beautiful thing about traveling is that it can be done at any age and at any time. There is no deadline to opening your mind and trying new things. Traveling doesn’t even have a required destination as it can simply be exploring the caves of the next state over.
- Traveling Gives You New Stories To Share
Let’s be frank, how many times can we listen to the story about Aunt Margaret and Uncle Henry’s drive to the Grand Canyon during the Love Free era of the 70’s? Or how wonderful your sister is doing with the new baby or how well your brother is doing at his new job (that he started 5 years ago)? Of course, you are always glad to hear about the past and jump for joy for your siblings accomplishments; but sometimes the Christmas Dinner can use a little more excitement or a little less “when are you going to settle down and have children”? speech. This is where traveling steps in as it gives you an opportunity to open your file cabinet of life updates to the family. You get to share how you almost passed out hiking Machu Picchu in the middle of Peru’s summer but got rescued by the handsome expat that seem to be out on his regular morning jog with an extra bottle of water. You can even share deets on how you zip lined in the Jungles of Belize and finished the day drinking with stangers a couple of glasses of cashew wine (Aunt Margaret’s favorite part).
Finally, traveling allows you to go on journeys that take you places physically, mentally and emotionally. So why not pack your bag and go somewhere? Apply for your passport and while you are waiting 6-8 weeks for it to come in the mail, go and just explore the next state over. I do know New Orleans LA is always welcoming to the expert traveler or the new weekend warrior so what are you waiting for?