Over the past 3 years I have spent what most people would consider a ridiculous amount on travel, which if I had saved it, would have probably been enough to buy a decent car or even a book a mini apartment. Most people feel that is the sensible thing to do, and travel is probably something to be enjoyed at times few and far between. I don’t agree one bit.
I would say travel is an investment & not an expense. The world is your classroom and your experiences the teacher. Travel teaches you things you would rarely get a chance to learn otherwise. Here are some of them:
1. How to face your fears
Be it fears that are entirely in your head (such as how to communicate with people who do not speak the same language) or those that might have an actual element of danger (such as ziplining in a rainforest with wild monkeys nearby and a 100 meter drop in case you fall), either way, travel takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to experience things that you may never come across in your hometown.
2. How to trust your instinct
There have been many times during my travels when I have been faced with a situation where I would need to take a quick decision – should I take the lift offered by a stranger on a bike to somewhere I really needed to go? Shall I accept the deal offered by a shopkeeper in a small corner shop, or would it be a scam? When you have no other way to decide, you simply trust your gut and you go with what it says. Put yourself in a number of new situations, and more often than not, you will do the right thing.
In case you’re wondering, I decided to go ahead with the lift, and said no to the shopkeeper. In retrospect both decisions turned out to be the right ones!
3. How to be less materialistic
Being out on the road and experiencing adventure makes you realize how little you really need to be happy. All those clothes, fancy shoes and branded items seem to dim in comparison to the fulfillment that travel offers. I usually end up cutting down on my shopping by at least 80% after I am back from a trip because of the feel-good effects of adventure and the way it makes me prioritize what’s important.
4. How to be more easy-going
Flat tyres, delayed flights, unexpected rain, and last minute itinerary changes are all part of travel that we face at one instance or the other. Travel helps you take it all in stride and go with the flow. In most cases, it all sorts out in the end anyway, and any minor disruption can at times end up in an exciting unexpected experience!
5. How to trust people
There will be times when you will have no choice but to trust people. A friend and I were once in a small Turkish city where no one knew a word of English and we had to rely on the only English speaker we found to guide us to where we needed to go. Then there was the time when we had to hand over our suitcases to a stranger because there was no other way to transport them to where we were headed. It’s a pleasant surprise to know that most people in the world are inherently good and are willing to help you when needed.
So don’t hesitate to book that flight or hop on to that train. Trust me it will be a much more worthwhile investment in the long run than spending it on something materialistic. Happy travels!