Before we talk about why travel is so important, let’s talk about the number one reason I’ve heard people give as to why they don’t travel: Money
I get it. For anyone living paycheck to paycheck, money (even a small amount) can make a huge difference. I’ve been that person before (and often).
When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, it’s difficult to think about vacationing in Bali. I get it.
If you’re reading this article, I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’re probably not as strapped for cash as you might imagine. It’s all an issue about priorities and the choices you make every day. Look around your apartment. Look at all that stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. That stuff costs money, and how happy did it make you?
If you’re like most people, it was fun for a couple days, and then it starts gathering dust. Soon, you stop owning your possessions, and they start owning you.
There’s a booming business in off-site storage where people keep all the stuff that won’t fit into their houses & garages. That’s insane to me. So much time, effort, and money spent on maintaining crap they’re never going to use.
I agree with the old saying, money (when used this way) can’t buy you happiness.
Or, can it?
There are three ways money can buy you happiness, however.
1: Spend it on yourself to feed, clothe, and provide shelter for you and those you love. Without those basics, life is miserable.
2: Spend it on others. In a great TED Talk, Michael Norton explains how spending money on others can help you, your work, and others.
3: Spend it on experiences. “Stuff” weighs you down & only serves to anchor you to misery.
One of the best experiences you can buy for yourself, is the opportunity to travel. I’ll let the first stand up comedian explain why it’s so amazing.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~Mark Twain
I agree 1000% with that quote.
Most of the amazing memories I have are from experiences had while traveling.
I’m convinced taxi drivers in Istanbul have figured out some secret of quantum mechanics to enable their cars to slip through holes that are entirely too small for them by speeding up.
South Korea is a beautiful country with amazing food and people.
America is a vast land full of not a whole lot. (I’ve driven through most of it, and I can tell you there’s an unbelievable amount of space between civilization hotspots.)
Every place & experience shows you a secret the world keeps hidden; waiting for you to discover it.
Sure, there will be problems along the way.
And you will get through them.
Every hiccup along the way will be another badge of courage. I can’t tell you how many tires I’ve had to change, near-accidents I’ve avoided, exploding tractor trailer tires that have sent pieces of rubber flying into the air only to rain down into traffic that I’ve had to engage in evasive maneuvers, etc; the list is endless. But I can tell you I sure as hell know I can handle myself on the road.
Likewise, before you know it, you will realize you really are much more resourceful, capable, and able to solve problems than you dreamt you were before you get some miles behind you.
It Doesn’t Have to be Far
I’m not saying you have to sell everything you own and live out of a backpack for the rest of your life. What I am saying, though, is the opportunity to travel might be closer than you think.
You can start by redefining what it means to travel. Take a different route to work. Take the long way on your next road-trip (look for curvy roads on the map; that usually means they’re much more scenic).
If the travel bug really hits you hard, there are ways to make it happen. In future posts, we’ll talk about ways I’ve been able to see the world (and even get paid while doing it).
I’d love to hear your travel stories! Tell me what you learned from your adventures! What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you? How do you prefer to travel (backpack, vacationing, driving, etc)? Are you a road warrior? I want to hear from you. Share your stories in the comments below, and have some fun with it.
Looking forward to hearing from you.