This year, I fell in love with travel…and I fell hard.
After finishing 11 months living and working abroad, I am addicted.
I want to learn five languages (better not to say them all and risk sounding impossibly ambitious), I want to step foot on every continent and I want to experience everything the world has to offer.
A permanent desire to see the sights, breathe the air, walk the distant path of some faraway land.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to do the same, here are my top ten reasons to travel right now.
1. You will start over.
Stepping off the plane and into the unknown, you can be whoever it is that you want to be.
No misconceptions, rumors or reputations preceding you. No haunting deadlines on your mind or burdens of unfinished goals on your shoulders. You have the power to re-invent yourself—the limits are as endless as the horizon.
Take a class, train for a marathon, do the unexpected because here, that you only exists if you want it to.
2. You will never meet a stranger.
Confidence and a friendly nature are a traveler’s currency and the more you expose yourself to the world the wealthier you will be. I have learned more about my fellow vagabonds in two days than I have about some best friends in years. If you put yourself out there, you will never be disappointed.
3. You will learn something, anything.
Think you know it all? Think again.
Traveling keeps you guessing and much like a good book (or lover), always finds a way to keep you intrigued, excited and on your toes. The world will teach you new words, greetings, customs and traditions. It will also teach you compassion, gratitude and understanding.
It will always be a challenge.
4. You will be humbled.
Your experience will be a stunning view of the strength in humanity. The corners of the world where you least expect to find it will be the most astounding.
Whether it’s a dwindling village in Kenya, the shanty towns of Brazil or an impoverished community in Nepal, this is where you will see kindness in a different form, a true form. This is where money doesn’t buy happiness—it is love that breathes life into each and every day.
5. You will learn to appreciate home.
When all is said and done, the things you wanted to escape, wanted so desperately to run from in the start will slowly fade.
You’ll realize, as we always do, that a focus on the bad is never as powerful as a focus on the good—it clouds our judgment, makes us forget the reasons we love where we come from. Travel clears our skies.
6. You will witness beauty.
From the towering pillars of a Middle-Eastern mosque and the cobblestone streets of a Mediterranean coastal town, to the rising tides and crashing waves of Australia’s seaside backyard, beauty will engulf you and swallow you whole.
No matter where you go, even in its rarest form, she will smack you hard across the cheek and never leave you. Pictures speak a thousand words, but there is no substitute for meeting her face to face.
7. You will flounder and you will flourish.
Discover your weaknesses…and more importantly, your strengths. There will be awkward moments, stressful encounters and miscommunications. There will be times you think you just aren’t cut out for wandering, for exploring.
And then something will click and when it does, you will feel stronger, prouder and more alive than any small victory you’ve ever had in your comfort zone could make you.
8. You will surprise yourself.
The things that once seemed impossible? Gone. Independence, assurance, determination and courage, all hiding deep within your core, are front and center.
The traits you thought you lost as a kid—your curiosity and bravery and ambition—will shape an unfamiliar reflection in the mirror, one you’ll never want to lose again.
9. You will change someone’s life.
Never underestimate a simple conversation, a helpful hint or even a passing smile. These are the little things that can make a person’s day. In sharing your past, your beliefs and your dreams for the future with your equally adventurous acquired friends on the road, you will alter their own.
It is inevitable.
And hopefully you will make them better, make them wiser, reveal something they never knew about themselves.
10. You will change.
Just as your aimless and drifting counterparts, you too will change. You will change in every way possible. You will seek out answers, uncover lost talents, build relationships and skills and passions. You will wake up in the morning with purpose.
You will fall in love with yourself again and again.
“Traveling is the great true love of my life…I am loyal and constant in my love of travel. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby—I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
An aspiring journalist, fashion enthusiast and lover of all things yoga, dance and green, Jamie packed up her life and made the big move to Madrid, Spain from little old Ohio. Spending her days as an English teacher and soul-searcher, she is completely fascinated by international languages and cultures and won’t be satisfied until she’s seen it all. And so it begins.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta
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