Five Life-Changing Gifts of Travel

Paris, away from the crowds

Before I started traveling extensively, I was showered with advice from friends and family. I received warnings like travel is dangerous, those people don’t like Americans, and you’ll be back home sooner than later. They all meant well, of course, but I’m not sure how many of them had done any traveling of their own, especially outside the country. In retrospect, I think they were giving me fear-based advice from 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 ways of life is fascinating to me. Exploring State and National Parks feeds my soul. Hiking and biking new country landscapes, towns, and villages puts a smile on my face that lasts all day. Seeing with my own eyes the ancient structures first glimpsed in the textbook of my college Renaissance Art and Architecture class thrills me. And the people I’ve met have been amicable, both the other travelers and the locals; they are always willing to direct me to the nearest cafe or train station, or help reorient me when I’m lost. My travel experiences have been nothing less than life-changing.

As a result, my advice is much different: I say you’re shortchanging yourself 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 with good attention and preparation, the joy of travel can triumph over trepidation, even if you’re not part of a group. Below, you’ll find some of the reasons I feel travel can change our lives, individually and collectively.

Walkway to the Colosseum in Rome
  • Experiencing new places and cultures allows you to get to know some of the populations you’ve heard about in the news, thereby reducing fear. Aversion toward groups of people that are different from us is often rooted in fear. Being in a distant land, whether in your country or another, you learn that most people are fundamentally like you: they love their families, go to 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

  • Travel is one of the best educational experiences available. While experiencing new lands, you may learn about their history, politics, religion, art, language, food, flora, fauna, geography, topography, and much more. 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 for a picnic or locally sourced souvenirs for the folks back home. Being outside your daily norm can really augment your brain activity.
Trattoria tables in an alley, Rome
  • Travel will broaden your appreciation of Nature. This planet is amazingly diverse and beautiful. During your travels, you may come upon trees, flowers, or animals you’ve never seen. You might be delighted by tiny islands, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, green seas, or volcanos. The awe you feel in their presence could prompt you to be a better environmentalist for the benefit of future generations.

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

Gargoyle on Notre Dame Cathedral poised to gobble the Eiffel Tower (before the devastating fire)
  • 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 situations may appear less black or white.
  • Finally, the benefits of travel don’t stop giving. The memories, photographs, knowledge, new ideas, and increased cognitive abilities experienced can be with you for a lifetime. Perusing travel photographs and journals, regardless of their age, always brings joy to my heart and a big smile to my face.
View from the Seine, Paris

With all these amazing gifts that are yours for the taking, there is only one thing to do – make a plan to travel. Every chance you get. For a month, a week, or even a weekend. In your country or elsewhere. You’ll return 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. My sentiments exactly!

Travel Blessings,

Lisa

The original version of this post, Six Reasons to Gift Yourself with Travel, was published in June of 2020, making it one of my first. Thank you, as always, for reading. And if you’ve been around since the first version, thank you again!

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.

59 thoughts on “Five Life-Changing Gifts of Travel

  1. …. Continuing. I often traveled in Germany not necessarily to the tourist attractions, but to see the cities and villages where real people lived. The same in France. It was enlightening and enriching, giving me a different perspective on life in the USA.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Robert, hi, welcome! I appreciate you visiting & sharing your experience. I have an uncle who, many years ago, spent a lot time in Germany while in the army as well. He married a German girl & she is one of my favorite aunts! They have kids in the US & in Bavaria. I, too, love the little villages in Germany. And I look forward to exploring more of France. I do hope to see you again here! 🌞

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  2. Yesterday we travelled to the seaside and tomorrow I think we will just do the same again! Yes, Travel is good for so many reasons even if the journey isn’t that far 🌹🙋‍♂️

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    1. Yes, yes, I agree, Ashley! Just getting away from the everyday routine is healthy! I’ve been reading a book that I think you might enjoy. It’s called Beauty: The Invisible Embrace by John O’Donohue. He has a wondrous writing style & he mentions Ireland often. Have you heard of it? 🌞

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  3. Your photos make me miss traveling in Europe so much. Especially the one of the sidewalk cafe in Rome. I used to travel frequently in 2019, both for work and for leisure. I haven’t been anywhere since a quick weekend trip to DC one week before NYC shut down. And that’s been OK, too. I was always going going going, and it’s been nice to stay put for a bit. But I will definitely embrace the time when travel becomes part of my life again! Enjoyed the read.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Suzanne, I’m happy you enjoyed this post! I understand your thoughts about missing travel. I realized that I’ve posted 2 articles on vacationing in less than a month, which is most unusual. I think my heart must be yearning to get back out there! Hope your weekend is joyful! 🌞

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  4. Oh, such a marvelous post! Your positive energy is contagious in a good way. I spent a semester overseas when I was in college. I lived in Cambridge, England, and traveled from there. It was one of the most wonderful times of my entire life. In this month’s issue of Victoria Magazine, my letter about that experience is there in the July/August issue. When we travel, we meet wonderful people and we come to understand that people are just ‘people’ wherever they come from. If they are lucky, and many are, they ‘fall in love’ with life. They discover that God has created a great big universe and He wants people to see the constellations and the stars. He wants them to live, really live, in a wondrous way.

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    1. I appreciate you sharing your experience, Linda. I’m so pleased you enjoyed this post. I would have loved to spend time in Europe during college! Gosh that sounds fun. I’d like to read your letter in Victoria Magazine. How did you title it? Can I get it online? And I agree, we are here to explore this amazing planet & fall in love with all of life to fan the flame of Spirit inside. 🌞

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      1. I believe that you can read the magazine online, Victoria mag.com. There may be some kind of fee. I get the magazine in the mail. The letters are in the Reader to Reader section. In the July/ August edition, the letters are under ‘Beloved Abodes’. My letter starts as, “A house that surely holds my heart is in Cambridge, England.” I hope that you can read it! 🙂 It is a wonderful magazine!

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  5. I agree! Travel rocks! Of course you have to take precautions when called for and avoid some areas some of the time and probably a few all of the time, but enjoy the rest. Between my junior and senior years in college, I spent almost an entire year in Europe and it was life-changing. Meal-changing too. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Janet, I was just saying to Linda in a prior comment that time in Europe during college must have been so fun. You are fortunate to have had that experience! No doubt, the influence of your time there is still present in your life today. Hope your weekend is just swell, my friend! 🌞

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    1. Hi, BettyJean, thanks for stopping by! My heart smiles to read that you love my writing! The sixth point was about the moderate healthy stress that travel causes. Since I just wrote about stress last week, I didn’t want to bring that into the mix! Hope your summer is going swimmingly! 🌞

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  6. I couldn’t agree more Lisa although I have to say I haven’t done any traveling alone mainly because, well, I’ve always been with someone… 😂 love your adventurous spirit, trust in humanity and opening to new horizons. We have taken many family trips and to other places with the kids and nothing stops these guys.. they have been more places than I have ever been and are richer for it.
    Nicely done and I have learned to heed the warning precautions and use common sense while I find commonality if most everyone. Such a wonderful post.
    hugs and love my friend xo 💖💖😘

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Cindy, I appreciate your chiming in with your family’s experiences! Actually, I’d rather have someone along with me when I travel, but that’s easier said than done! Hoping your weekend is a lovely one, dear girl! Love & hugs backatcha! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh darling let me just tell you it’s kind of nice to travel solo I would imagine not as many decisions to have to take into account and each person‘s preference! So now if you have any great trip let me know and I’ll meet you somewhere you know your way I’ll go you’re my way and we’ll meet for dinner lol

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  7. Most of my overseas travel was done when I was in my 30’s and much of it was in group tours. I was shocked at how badly the American people on the tours treated the local people. They complained about everything and were not satisfied with much, even when the locals bent over backwards to please them. I began to understand the “ugly American” title that Americans received overseas. I tried to be twice as nice and friendly and appreciative to these people so they wouldn’t think that everyone was like that. It’s good to keep in mind that, when we visit another country, we are guests. We should not expect that things will be as they are in the U.S. Some things will not be up to the standards we might expect, however, we may come to realize that other things are far better. Enjoy what is and focus on the blessings.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Carla, thanks for sharing your experience. Agreed, I have seen and heard Americans while visiting other countries who have contributed to other populations not liking us. We need to remember the importance of being respectful, I think, and keep in mind the importance of first impressions. Wishing you a Sunday of delight! 🌞

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  8. Lisa
    What a wonderful article here
    Your travel advice is great and I like how different it is from the stark warnings you first received
    -also – your photos for this post are excellent and show us bits of your travels
    ☀️💛💛

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank for sharing Life-Changing Gifts of Travel, amazing gifts indeed💕🌸 Your post is inspiring and it’s making me look forward to travel and life lessons and adventures that’s comes with it. Happy and blessed travels to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Hi Lisa, Janet did mention your name. We should definitely get together. I love your post. I traveled often when I worked and I usually went by myself. Only one time when I got very ill, did I decide I should have had someone with me when I travel. Otherwise, I enjoyed the time being with new friends or old friends I didn’t see often. I enjoyed staying in or going out as I wished. Now that I’m retired I prefer to travel with my husband but still travel by myself on occasion. I’m so glad you contacted me. An hour is an easy drive.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I so agree with you, but also you need to make the effort of wanting to learn new things (attitude:)) and standing in line for hours at an airport can be a deterrent. When we travel, we don’t like to go with a guide (at a castle, etc.) but on our own. We have learned that if that is the only way to come in, we stay with the group for 10 min. and then veer off on our own.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like that saying of Mark Twain at the end of your post … I definitely want to look back in 10/20 years and be happy with what we’ve done while we could!
    Travel changed our outlook of life so much – and I always refer back to our journeys on the Camino – but that’s where we realised that life is about more than being wealthy and have many assets … to live a simple life is much more rewarding. Thanks for a great post Lisa 🌸.

    Liked by 1 person

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