Before I started traveling, I was showered with advice from friends and family. They said things like travel is dangerous, those people don’t like Americans, and you’ll be back home sooner than later (a home that I never, by the way, returned to.) They all meant well, of course, but I’m not sure how many of them had done any traveling of their own, especially to destinations across the pond. In retrospect, I’m thinking maybe they were giving me their often fear-based advice based on what they had heard or assumed. Fact is, I’ve enjoyed all the places I’ve visited, and I’ve never felt ill at ease. Learning about new cultures is fascinating to me. I love hiking and biking new landscapes, towns, and villages. It’s thrilling to see with my own eyes the ancient structures first glimpsed in the textbook of my college Renaissance Art and Architecture class. And the people I’ve met couldn’t have been nicer, both the other travelers and the locals, who are always more than happy to direct me to the nearest train station or cafe, or point me in the right direction when I’m lost. In fact, I have come to believe that travel is a gift with life-long benefits, and I’m so grateful for my experiences (as well as the opportunities that await!)
As a result, my advice is much different: I feel you’re selling yourself short if you don’t travel! Of course, it’s never a bad idea to check for travel advisories, read guidebooks in advance, and be aware of your surroundings (which is true at home, as well), but there’s no need to be fearful with good attention and preparation, even if you’re not part of a group. Below, you’ll find some of the reasons I feel travel can be a gift for all of us, both individually and collectively.
Experiencing new places and cultures allows you to get to know some of the populations you’ve heard about in the news, and therefore reduces fear. The idea of hate, or intense aversion, is often rooted in fear. Being in a distant land, whether in this country or another, you learn that people are fundamentally like you: they love, care for their families, work, take part in community, walk their dog, prepare meals, and treasure their beliefs. It’s truly an affirmation of life to witness the similarities.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. ~Mark Twain
Second only to the benefit of reducing fear is the fact that travel is one of the best educational experiences there is. While you’re experiencing new cultures, you learn about history, politics, religion, art, language, food, flora, fauna, geography, topography, and on and on. You may gain a new understanding of why things are as they are in that part of the world. Additionally, you might be challenged to plan your train or bus route, communicate with native speakers, find a restaurant, or locate a merchant who sells good wine and crusty bread or locally sourced souvenirs for the folks back home. Being outside your daily norm can really augment your brain activity.
Travel will broaden your appreciation of nature and humanity in general. This planet is amazingly diverse and beautiful, and that realization could lead you to the ideas of protecting and preserving Her for future generations. During your travels, you may come upon trees, flowers, or animals you’ve never seen. You might be delighted by waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, green seas, or volcanos. And after getting comfortable with the folks you once considered foreigners, your capacity for empathy expands.
The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them. ~J.K. Rowling
Moderate stress, the kind that traveling causes, can be good for you. Being in a strange land, interacting with new people, doing new things, trying new foods, and simply going outside of your normal routine brings about moderate stress, which can result in increased energy and focus, improved memory, and bolstered immunity (https://www.learning-mind.com/positive-effects-of-stress/).
Travel changes your perspective on life in general. With a broadened worldview, you’ll find your conversations will change. You may read or hear news stories with a different understanding. Your spending habits may shift, after realizing the value of experiences over objects. Your beliefs may even become less rigid and appear less black or white.
Finally, as I mentioned before, the benefits of travel last a lifetime. The memories, photographs, knowledge, new ideas, and increased cognitive abilities experienced can be with you forever. Perusing travel photographs and journals always brings joy to my heart and a big smile to my face. And you know I enjoy sharing them with you!
As soon as covid-19 allows, show yourself some love and gift yourself with travel. Every chance you get. For a month, a week, or even a weekend. In this country or elsewhere. Even if you do it on the cheap, like many of my trips. You’ll come back home with an enhanced sense of what it means to be fully alive. As Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor . . . Explore. Dream. Discover.” I couldn’t agree more.
Blessings for Travel,
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.
14 thoughts on “Six Reasons to Gift Yourself with Travel”
I love to travel to new places too. Hopefully we’ll be able to move about soon. Unfortunately many other countries won’t open up as quickly which will limit travel. It’s all sooo messed up.
I agree, James Vincent! Not being able to get out and about makes me miss it more than ever! Thanks for commenting!
Keep enjoying life and writing!
Good to see you here again, Deb! Thanks for taking the time to comment! 🌞🙏🌼
I have been blessed throughout the years for being able to travel to many wonderful places. I have traveled alone, with individual friends, with family and with groups who shared a common interest in a particular place. The first time I traveled alone was the BEST thing I ever did for myself. I went to a cooking school in Tuscany. That one trip took me out of my “comfort zone” which allowed me to release a lot of fears I carried within. For me personally, my travel experiences have not only allowed me to enjoy new adventures or escapes but have given me the opportunity to meet new people, learn about other cultures, immerse myself in the beauty of both natural and man-made sites and most importantly, a beautiful gift of self-discovery and reinvention. Thank you for sharing your captivating pictures and “Six Reasons to Gift Yourself with Travel” blog with us!
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, mamaceil. A cooking school sounds like great fun! Glad you enjoyed the post. May your blessings of travel continue! 🌞🙏👌
Thank you for swinging by the ‘Ranch’ and for the follow. We 💙 visitors, especially fellow gypsies at heart. Have a great weekend.
Thank you for the visit and the comment, my friend! Visitors are the best! 🌞☮️🐸
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Indeed they are and what makes Blogville so interesting.
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Hi! Wow – your photos are stunning! I just read your post about AZ, and it seems that the comments were turned off, but it touched me and I wanted to tell you so 🙂 I am especially fond of the Northern part of the state and would love more opportunity to explore there. My husband and I are seriously considering a move to those parts and my heart’s response to your post and photos confirmed to me that God may, indeed, be moving us in that direction. As I look around your blog, though, I’m loving your photos of the beaches and the mountains and all of the things you have seen and shared. You are a talented presenter of everything you have seen. Thank you for sharing it!
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Hi, Mama Lava, I am grateful for your visit & your very kind comment! If you enjoy the outdoors, you would love Northern AZ. And if you do move to these parts, please let me know! 🌞
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Love this and so true. In 1998 I took a job at a company with locations around the world and the way we managed, meant heavy travel. Had I not taken that position I’d be a different person today, and for all the reasons you list here.
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Hi, Glenn, thanks for sharing your experience! 🌞