If you thought traveling was just for fun, think again. In addition to indelible experiences, it also presents opportunities to confront fears and hang-ups, to embrace change, and to have an open mind in general. The act of setting out to explore fresh territory is not just exciting, it teaches you some invaluable life lessons as well.
Here’s what you can gain from traveling:
1. It Gives You Perspective
While everyone focuses on the glamorous aspect of travel, it has a tough side as well. So many things can go wrong — losing your luggage, dealing with food poisoning, not having access to hot water — the list is endless.
All these misfortunes give you perspective: maybe your life back home isn’t so bad after all. Not having the same comforts on vacation makes you grateful for all that you have. And you also understand that one only needs bare necessities to be happy.
2. It Helps You Ditch the Virtual for the Real
We have all become so dependent on technology that we’ve forgotten how to appreciate life without it. Journeys naturally help you step away from the virtual realm long enough to fall in love with the beauty of the real world and cherish real-life experiences.
Mumbai-based travel blogger Veidehi Gite (36) says, “Travel has taught me that no smartphone app can let someone have the joy of basking in a sunset surprise by the beach.”
“To cherish anything real, venture out in the woods, oceans, and plateaus without being tracked by the technology. Soak the spectacular landscapes, cultural vibes, palatable cuisines, and umpteen smiles with strangers along the enclave. In the end, how you feel is what will remain with you forever,” she adds.
3. It Compels You to be More Patient
Owing to the availability of quick service and the rush of instant gratification, patience is becoming a lost art. Luckily, we can always turn to travel for a crash course.
When you have to change plans because of the weather, when you’re starving and your order gets severely delayed, when your phone gets switched off and you really need to use it — all you can do is wait. Pursue your wanderlust often enough and you will learn to deal with both, foibles and ordeals, gracefully.
4. It Eases You out of Your Comfort Zone
In a land where nobody knows you, you feel reckless enough to try new things. No longer are you afraid of embarrassing yourself. Even if you do, it’s not like you are going to meet these people again!
As opposed to being forced out of your comfort zone, you choose to gravitate towards the unknown. As you gain new experiences — good, bad and weird — you realize that maybe it’s a good idea to be bold and venturesome in general.
5. It Makes You Aware of How Different & Alike We All Are
Here’s a ray of hope in these intolerant times: visiting new countries helps you become more accepting of other cultures. Being around foreign people and their customs broadens your mind and gives you a new outlook on life.
Instead of being judgmental and racist, you either learn to embrace the differences or live and let live. With experience, you also realize that basic human nature remains the same everywhere. If you know someone who suffers from cultural bias, we highly recommend travel. It is an inoffensive and certain cure to prejudice.
Isn’t it amazing how something we do for purely recreational purposes comes with so many fringe benefits? Maybe we all ought to make more time to travel. Cliché as it sounds, life itself is about the journey, not the destination.
What unique lesson has travel taught you? Share your story in the comments below.