I think it can safely be said that I think about travel a lot. I always have, to be honest, and planning trips is truly one of the things I enjoy doing the most. Now that travel is my profession, this obsession with travel is even more intense and is one that I know will never dissipate. From the outside though I can see how this love affair with all things travel can seem a bit silly if not bizarre. It’s about much more though than nice hotels and fun tours, travel means a lot to me on a very personal level and so I thought I’d share a few of the many reasons why I love this quirky profession and why travel is a part of who I am as a person.
1. Best education – Although at one time in my life it was hard for me to believe, I now realize that education happens on a nearly daily basis. This process of learning not just about new facts and figures, but a more interpersonal kind of intellectual development occurs on hyper-speed when we travel. It is impossible to leave home and not pick up something, whether it’s from a formal tour, in a museum or by talking with new friends. We always learn when we travel and this lifelong quest to know more is what drives me to hit the road as often as I do.
2. Makes me a better person – I have my foibles, as we all do; I’m prone to getting annoyed fairly quickly and my personality errs on the side of crankiness. Travel has helped temper these negative sides of my personality. When commingled with the gentle maturity that aging provides, travel has made me a much more patient and even tolerant person. It’s hard not to improve in these areas when you travel; delays, lost possessions and other travel mishaps teach us all to slow down and relax. Tolerance comes from meeting so many new people from around the world and understanding that we’re really not so different after all.
3. I really like my new job – When I first started this site nearly five years ago, I have no idea what I was thinking. I do know that I desperately needed two things: 1) a creative outlet and 2) a way to further my intense love of travel. Fast forward to today and I am living my dream, I get to travel for a living and share my experiences with the world. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not all Mai Tais on the beach and fancy hotels though, it is a job after all and I’ve never worked harder at anything in my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
4. Restores faith in humanity – I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy and for whatever reason, am also fairly suspicious by nature. (Wow, I’m really painting a great picture of myself in this post.) Travel though has in large part restored my faith in humanity. Once, while at the start of a trip in Rome, I left my precious camera in the backseat of a taxi cab. Almost immediately, before I fully comprehended what had occurred, the cabbie came back and returned it to me. I was and still am shocked, but this is just one of 1,000 acts of simple kindness I have had extended to me on my travels. While the news can at times paint a very scary and negative portrait of the world, travel has taught me that these images are wrong – very wrong. The basic fact is that a vast majority of people around the world are just like us, want the same basic things out of life and that realization has made me love my fellow man so much more than I would have otherwise.
5. It’s fun – In spite, or perhaps because of, these more philosophical reasons why travel is important to me, it’s also just a whole lot of fun. I have been on hundreds of flights and yet each time when I board a new plane I get excited. The night before a trip I still have trouble sleeping, like a kid on Christmas Eve. The basic joys of travel are still very real for me, and they are sensations that I covet above almost everything else. It’s not just the anticipation of course that’s fun, but almost every aspect of the travel experience, from new hotels to exploring beautiful cities are amongst the most joyful moments in my life.
6. Life is short – Ok, I find myself lapsing into metaphysical travel blogger mode, but I can’t help it. I’ve been through this, I’ve lived a life I wasn’t happy with and through great effort made changes so that I could be happy. I see countless others, many of them my friends, who don’t do this and walk through life with a sack full of regrets. “I wish I could”, “that would be nice,” and “it’s too hard,” are their go-to phrases and each one is a cop-out. I’m a firm believer in the fact that if you want anything in life, if you work hard enough you can make it happen. Most people don’t want to put in that work though. This doesn’t have to mean an epic, around the world quest for self-enlightenment. It’s as simple as visiting any new place, but visit it you must. The benefits are too many and the risks too great to ignore that siren call of travel.
Why is travel important to you?
9 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why Travel Is Important To Me”
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I feel exactly the same way every time I have a planned journey ahead of me. Whether it is a flight or train ride, I am always afraid to miss it, hence afraid to miss all those adventures that are waiting for me at the destination. I could write a long post about all the things I have learned during my travels: I learned 3 languages, I discovered photography and places I didn’t even know exsisted. I am so happy and grateful that I had the courage to choose this path in life, because I think in the end that is what it comes down to. Either you are brave enough or too scared to do it.
My thoughts exactly. I am just like you – I want my life to be filled with travels and the adventures of meeting new people. My only regret is – I wish I would have started traveling sooner. Since I started my travels 3 years ago, I have been to Thailand 3 times, explored the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and I have traveled to Japan. In April I am heading back to Thailand, then heading over to Vietnam and Laos. I still work here in the US, and every single vacation day I get I am heading back to South East Asia. It’s very affordable, and the Buddhist culture is so very welcoming.
No regrets – just look forward! :) Sounds like you’re on a great path and congrats!
What an inspiring post, Matt. I have also found all of this to be true, and I’m still amazing by the ways traveling has changed me. It puts life in perspective when you experience other cultures, ways of life and truly see how precious and diverse this world is.
Thank you Miriam!
A very inspiring post! I love that travel has restored your faith in humanity :)
Thanks for sharing, Matt! To awaken alone in a strange town, where cultures are miles apart from mine, is one of the things that fuels my wanderlust. Just not knowing what’s in store for me, and letting myself swept up by the unknown, makes me want to wander, again and again.
True on all counts. And for me its a huge way to dissolve differences too. Cut out the stereotypes. As a solo traveler you do start a journey by being a mite cautious and then if you respect the land and its customs, it all falls in place.
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