For the most part, humans are creatures of habit — we take the same route to work each morning, stop at the same corner coffee shop and interact with the same set of friendly faces. There’s nothing wrong with having a routine. In fact, routine is often associated with success and happiness.
However, there’s a lot going on in the world around us — from awe inspiring acts of kindness to moments of sadness and even fear. It’s easy to watch from afar as an influx of news headlines declare the need to build walls, take caution or steer clear. Fear of the unknown can prevent us from traveling and scare us into sticking to routine, but these instances in time give us more of a reason than ever to break out of our comfort zone. There’s no time like the present to try new things, explore new places and meet the world. Because when you set out to travel the globe you’re likely to learn a few things along the way.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of meeting the world:
Bring Home Newfound Creativity
Believe it or not, you can bring home your experiences. Although experiences can’t be mounted on the wall, displayed on a shelf or used to sling back a shot of whisky, they can boost creativity and empower you to think about daily tasks and projects in a new way. According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, multicultural experiences foster creativity and help generate ideas. So if you’re suffering from writer’s block or can’t seem to crank out new ideas, it’s probably time to pack your bags, give your brain a rest and let new experiences, new cultures and new adventures inspire you.
Deepen Your Understanding of the World Around You
Thanks to technology, we’re more connected than ever before. Yet it often feels like we’re worlds apart. Even though you can favorite a Tweet from someone hundreds of thousands of miles away, there’s no substitute for immersing yourself in someone else’s culture. Doing so allows you to better understand the world and the people around you. And that’s key in today’s world where cultural sensitivity is paramount.
Firsthand experiences with other cultures allow you to identify underlying values, so you can better understand what drives behaviors that may at one time have seemed odd or unorthodox. What’s more, it also allows you to move beyond generalizations, which categorize entire cultures based on stereotypes. The more you engage with people of different backgrounds (whether it be religious, cultural, socio economic, etc.) the more you are able to truly understand others.
Know What You Don’t Know
Although you’ll come home knowing a hell of a lot more than you did when you left, the most valuable lesson you’ll learn when traveling is that there’s a lot out there that you don’t know. As the saying goes: “True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know”. When you take the time to travel, it becomes incredibly clear just how big the world is and how vastly different every corner can be. You’ll learn a lot from meeting new people, exploring new places and embracing new experiences. And that flood of knowledge is proof that there’s so much more out there that you’ve yet to encounter.
It’s a humbling realization that may spark you to ask more questions, travel to more places or, at the very least, keep an open mind.
Grow Your Family, Grow Your Network
Meeting new people is an essential part of traveling. Being social with both locals and fellow travelers allows you to connect with a new place on a deeper, more meaningful level. It also opens up the opportunity for new adventures. So get to know the people around you and embrace new friendships.
What’s more — whether you’re a student or a seasoned professional — new faces mean new opportunities both personally and professionally. Not only is there an opportunity to expand your network across the globe, but there’s an opportunity to create lifelong friendships. Or, perhaps you’ll form interim friendships built on exploration and adventure that carry on as memories. Either way, connecting with fellow travelers and locals opens up new possibilities. And you never know who you might meet.
Expand Your Palate
Traveling presents the rare opportunity to try new things risk-free. Whether it’s haggis in Scotland, khash in Turkey or wasp crackers in Japan, I challenge you to try new foods and, more importantly, new things. In the process you might learn a thing or two about yourself. Expanding your horizons could lead to a new favorite activity (volcano boarding, anybody?) or a more adventurous spirit that follows you home and brings new perspective to daily life.
There’s so much out there to explore, so many fascinating people to talk to and so many adventures to be had. Traveling the world gives you a chance to break out of your comfort zone and stimulate your mind with something new and exciting. And when you return, chances are good that you’ll bring new perspective to an old routine.