The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
As an introvert, I’m not really good at small talk. But if you really want to engage me, tell me about the cool countries or cities you’ve been to. Having seen some wonderful places myself, I love talking about travel and hearing other people’s travel stories.
There is a difference between travel and vacation. Vacation is a chance to go to another locale, to escape, and relax. Travel, on the other hand, is cultural immersion that leaves you a transformed person. Most people would say that travel increases your knowledge and experience, and I agree. Here are three additional reasons to travel more this year:
1. Travel gives you new habits to bring back home.
To view new customs and different ways of living gives us a new perspective, and can help us change some of our habits or even create new ones. Traveling outside the United States has encouraged me to adopt new habits, particularly how I prepare and enjoy food. Here are some of my favorite food influences:
- European breakfast: I like to put out a spread of yogurt and toppings (granola, honey, berries), fresh fruit juice, French-pressed coffee and milk, cold cuts, cheese slices, French bread with various spreads (butter, jam, Nutella), and fresh fruit.
- Peruvian cuisine: I first tried Ceviche in Lima. It’s raw fish “cooked” in a lime juice marinade. I’ve been a fan ever since.
- Dining out tapas-style: In Spain, people often eat small appetizers or snacks as meals. When my boyfriend and I go out to eat, we prefer to eat tapas-style by sampling small appetizers and dishes, rather than ordering whole entries.
If it weren’t for my international travel experiences, I likely wouldn’t be enjoying these and other culinary habits today.
2. Travel helps you learn to roll with the punches.
Seasoned travelers know to expect some set-backs, delays, and inconveniences along the way. For example, last year my boyfriend and I were waiting to board our flight from Barcelona, Spain, to go back home. The flight got cancelled because of mechanical issues, and we had to wait almost two hours to board a bus to a hotel in Vilafranca del Penedès.
As it turned out, this set-back was one of the best parts of our trip. Instead of sitting in our hotel room sulking about our travel delay, we decided to explore the town and get something to eat. We ended up enjoying our time in this cute town, which is actually known for its wine and Medieval history.
3. Travel sparks your creativity.
Hemingway, Twain, and Huxley wrote some of their best works when they went abroad. Travel to new places can help your brain work more creatively. Travel enhances cognitive flexibility, which enables us to draw connections between different things and jump from one different idea to another.
I’ve never thought of myself as a photographer or any kind of visual artist. But on more recent trips, I’ve experimented when taking pictures–playing with colors, shapes, and angles. I’ve never taken a photography course, and I don’t have any delusions of artistic brilliance. Nevertheless, some of my pictures make great iPhone wallpaper!
Get out there!
Travel is about immersing yourself in surroundings, experiences, people, and food you never knew existed. Vacations are good when we need an escape. But travel changes a person, usually for the better. If you can, commit to a bit more travel this year. I certainly will.
Please leave a comment below. Where would you like to travel this year? Also follow me on Twitter @UnsettledE.