As college students, most of us spend our time thinking about our schoolwork or career plans. The majority of students or recent grads don't believe travel is an option for them because they're too busy or they need to save money. I truly believe that setting aside even just a small amount of money and time to travel outside of our bubble is well worth it. Here are seven reasons why.
1. It reminds you to live in the moment
When you're in a new place, having a new experience, eating new food, and meeting new people, you won't be thinking about the past or the future. You'll naturally want to soak in every single sensation, and internalize every single moment. Traveling helps us practice this mindfulness and bring it back home with. No matter where we are, it's good to be there.
2. It makes you evaluate your material needs
If you want to enjoy your time, you need to pack light. While you're having those rich experiences, you won't even miss the luxuries you left behind. And as a bonus, you might even come home and realize you don't need those things to make you happy at all. Every time you go on a trip, your ability to determine which things you actually need gets honed. You may find that you're a lot less stressed out when you don't have so many things to keep track of.
3. A change of scenery can be healthy and refreshing
Everyone needs a respite from the stressors of daily life once in a while. Sometimes, you need to physically step away from the things that cause you stress, and take that time to fill your life with unfamiliarity and adventure to reignite your enthusiasm for life.
4. It teaches you to go with the flow
Not everyone has an easygoing, accommodating mindset all the time. in fact, most people don't. When traveling, things rarely go as planned, and you're forced to deal with spontaneity and mishaps. The ability to adapt proves very useful in everyday life and can be strengthened through travel.
5. Traveling allows you to gain an understanding of other cultures
It's hard to imagine all of the unique, beautiful lifestyles that humans have around the world. We really only get to see a tiny, tiny fraction of the people on this Earth, and it's important to widen that scope! The more people you meet, the more you will understand other beliefs, cultures, and values. The more you understand others, the more compassionate you are.
It doesn't matter how far you go. Even if you're not traveling 5,000 miles away, you'll develop a sincere appreciation for the beauty in the food, art, music, and other traditions you encounter.
6. You'll get to experience different perceptions of time
It feels normal to us, but the United States is one of the fastest paced countries in the world. Many non-Americans believe we work way too much and that we're always in a rush to get things done.
Across the world, there are some regions or populations that have radically different perceptions of time, or even no perception of it at all! Interestingly, the way we perceive time in different parts of the world is based on a number of factors, like the weather, economy, population size, how individualistic we are, and even the accuracy of our clocks.
It will feel incredibly different to experience another culture's pace of life, and it is something everyone should try. Who knows, you might find that you actually feel more at home living on "island time"!
7. Traveling gives you a better perspective on life
Traveling literally expands your world.
When we stay inside the small bubble of daily life, our problems can seem much bigger than they really are. Seeing how other communities across the world live can be a truly wholesome awakening and can make us personally grateful in many ways. In addition, spending some time removed from society (maybe beside a glacier lake under a starry sky or on a grassy hill overlooking the sunset) can help remind you of the beauty of life and the triviality of some of our greatest obstacles.
* * *
Some of us can't afford to even think about taking a trip to Europe, or backpack across Southeast Asia, or whatever else people do on Instagram. But it's not about that. It's simply about seeing with your own eyes that there's more to life than just our little corner of the world. It's about placing ourselves where we don't feel comfortable, opening our hearts to other people, and reminding ourselves that life on this Earth is a beautiful gift that we're all lucky enough to share together.