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1. Don't hesitate to talk to people!

When you travel abroad, building a global network is easier than it may seem. Other travelers, as well as locals, are very likely to be eager to learn about where you come from, and you can learn about a myriad of cultures. Locals can offer restaurants, museums, and activities that are off the beaten path, and give tips to enjoy your adventures to the max. My favorite part about traveling has proven to be meeting people- from wandering around Mayan ruins in Mexico to outdoor markets in England, the locals have always offered a sense of camaraderie that has had a lasting impression on me. Even if contact information isn't exchanged, the transient encounters can make the trip memorable.

2. Your confidence will grow exponentially.

Traveling allows for self-discovery, and you never know when or where you may truly find a breath of life. There are opportunities to learn from self-management, thinking on your feet, trying new foods, and seeing new things. You increase your confidence by taking the slightest of risks, in a land completely foreign.

Upon taking advantage of these opportunities, you begin to feel your self-esteem rise and feel a sense of excitement hit you like a ton of bricks. From traveling, especially alone, I have felt a growing sense of independence as well as the inspiration to express myself and my hobbies. I have become more creative with the things I have seen. You don't really have any other choice than to put yourself out there fearlessly, and you won't regret leaving your comfort zone.

3. Languages are beautiful and can enhance your experience!

Language barriers can often cause a lot of travel anxiety; the fear of getting lost in a country where you know no one and don't speak their language is intimidating, understandably so. But wait! there are hundreds of languages- how will I ever learn? You may ask yourself this question. To answer that, you don't have to be fluent in every language to get by and enjoy the trip. Languages are something beautiful and can be enjoyed in many ways.

You might be surprised by how far a few basic phrases and expressions will take you. I didn't know a word of Danish before my trip to Denmark this past summer, where I was staying with my friend and her parents. My friend and her dad spoke English fluently, and her mom understood it pretty well. I thought it would be a good idea to learn a few basic phrases for her parents and friends, and it turned into something memorable; laughing about my bad pronunciation (but hey, A for effort, right?)

4. History is more interesting in person.

There is a never-ending tapestry of history sewn into the buildings we see today. They have seen so much through the years, and you can't help but be consumed by them, wishing their walls could talk and tell the rich history they have seen. Ruins, churches, and castles often appear frozen in time, transporting you into a world completely ancient. The history of a place encompasses unspoken values embedded in foreign cultures and shape the way cultures work and are intertwined. There is something beautiful about getting lost in the overwhelming history of it all. Even if you weren't a history buff before traveling, seeing some of the wonders the world has made it pretty difficult to not want to learn every detail.

5. Don't forget to be humble...

There is so much beauty to be seen in the world, waiting to be appreciated and enamored with. Traveling is a humbling experience and makes you realize how small we really are in this world, and become more thankful for what you have. You realize how you don't really need more than the essentials to live a satisfying life. At the end of the day, we are all humans trying to get by, regardless of race, gender, or social class.

New perspectives are created, and it becomes easier and easier to find joy in the small things in life while exploring new cultures. To enjoy life and traveling, you don't need to spend a lot if anything; sometimes the most powerful experiences are free.



Photo by Carly Baysinger