On the surface, travel is an excellent way to recharge our batteries and bust out of our routine. When we travel, we finally feel like there’s a reason we work so hard and save so fiercely. Seeing new places, visiting world-renowned attractions and soaking up the spectacle of startling new landscapes can rejuvenate the soul. Yet travel goes far and beyond the seemingly superficial boost, as delightful as that may be.
Travel can change you and it can change our planet. For the better.
1. Travel is the ultimate intrinsic experience
An unparalleled intrinsic experience, travel has the ability to make us happy in a non-tangible way, even when we’re not having the best day on the road. You can’t buy the kind of happiness travel offers (although you do need money to do it!) and that’s because its effects and its importance go beyond the superficial. This is primarily what makes travel so unique.
Travel can change us at our very core: change the way we think and the way we see the world. It encourages empathy and compassion and opens our minds, most especially when we travel to countries that are completely different to our own. Encountering new cultures, meeting people from all walks of life, being exposed to a different way of life – be it subsistent farming, gaucho-living or llama-herding – and travelling to far-away places forces us out of our comfort bubble. Travel propels us, head-first, into a foreign world that doesn’t resemble ours in the slightest. And this can have amazing effects on our mind and soul.
Travel makes us feel alive, curious and inherently happy. When we’re in a magnificent place, we leave our everyday worries behind and enjoy the moment, the sight, the sounds and all the smells. The air is cleaner, the food tastes better, the days seem longer and life, in general, is exceptionally enjoyable.
Travelling is one of the few ways you can – quite literally – buy happiness.
2. Travel can reset your priorities and the way you see your life
Travel is also an amazing priority reorganizer. When we’re home, totally engrossed in our lives and our challenges, everything feels just so important. We feel important, significant and prioritised and even though that may seem like a good thing, it really isn’t. Not for the world, in general. Our insulated home-lives can make us self-involved and unaffected by happenings around the globe. We switch off the news and steer clear of politics, preferring to live in our bubble, thinking the only thing that matters is what goes on directly around us.
Travel snaps us out of this. It engages us with the rest of the world and puts everything in perspective. Because travel often throws unexpected hurdles our way, it heightens our problem-solving skills and it does so permanently. Travellers see solutions where others see only problems and that’s because travel allows us a priceless distance from our everyday lives – both literally and figuratively speaking. That’s why avid travellers are usually so much more positive than those who do not travel. They don’t share alarmist news snippets on social media, they share solutions and advancements instead. They don’t think the world is beyond help and redemption.
They’ve seen it and know how stunningly pristine it still is.
3. Travel can be beneficial to our planet
Travel is also important as an external experience, whose benefits go beyond what we all take from it, personally. Aside from it directly and financially helping people in foreign countries – especially in remote locations often inhabited by indigenous and impoverished communities – travel can be immensely beneficial to our planet.
When you travel to a stunning place, an important place, a corner of unspoilt wilderness that’s at risk of being ruined – mostly by mankind – you subconsciously become an ambassador for that place. You become its voice. You learn about the dangers it faces – be it global warming in Antarctica or the encroachment of modernity on the Amazon Rainforest – and you feel compelled to speak up.
Most travellers, especially those who travel to remote regions of our planet, have been shown to be the best environmental warriors of all and that’s due to one simple fact: if out of sight means out of mind than immersive travel experiences mean an increase in thoughtfulness. Experts have already agreed that responsible and sustainable tourism in Antarctica has increased the exposure of global environmental concerns, as detailed in our piece on the impact of tourism on Antarctica.
As empathetic and compassionate beings, we do care and we do protect yet, for the most part, only what we know and love. And if there’s one thing that can arguably ensure you love a place…it’s to travel to it.
Travelling is a priceless luxury that isn’t afforded to everyone but if you do have the opportunity and the curiosity then you should be jumping at every chance that comes your way. Not only will you get the chance to have truly unforgettable experiences but you’ll do the planet, and yourself, a lot of good. Travel isn’t just important – travel is imperative.
Further reading you may be interested in:
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Author: Laura Pattara
“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 13 years. She’s tour guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and is now in the midst of a 5-year motorbike odyssey from Germany to Australia.”