The first time I traveled I was less than one when my parents took me along for their holiday to Lake Balaton. The first time I went abroad I was four-years-old visiting Greece with my parents. I actually remember some of the experience: the big stones of the Acropolis and camping. At 10 I got a taste of life abroad living in Italy for 3 short months thanks to my mother's job. I am still in love with the small town we stayed in. I was 12 when I first left my home country without my family to a summer camp in Italy. I felt like an adult. At 13 I took my first airplane ride all the way to Israel, first time away from Europe. Then at 16 I took my first trip with my friends. At 17 I crossed the Atlantic-Ocean for the first time and moved to the US. I have been living internationally and traveling ever since. After living there for many years, six years ago I left the US and took on a nomadic lifestyle. I change countries every few months and according to my friends it is difficult to track me down.
Hungarian by birth, international by choice, a life-long traveler and an international nomad is what I am. I have been living internationally for 15 years and nomadically for the past 6. 32 countries in 32 years is where I am at now (though my numbers increased dramatically the past 6-7 years). Too few for some, so many for others - if you ask me, if I make it to a 100 by 100 I am happy.
Clearly, I love traveling. But why?
Why do I travel the world and why you should too:
1. Seeing beautiful things. This is pretty much a no brainer. Most people love seeing enjoy seeing new and beautiful places. For some, it is enough to stay local or take short vacations, often to the same place, and do the rest of the traveling via google. I decided that I wanted to see the world with my own eyes. Admiring the sea for hours, standing on the top of the mountains, checking out beautiful buildings, observing animals out in nature, being amazed by ancient ruins all make me happy.
2. Breaking out of patterns. As humans we have the tendency to wanting to stay safe. We find comfort in having the same habits going to the same grocery store, doing the same workout routine, eating the same meals, watching the same TV shows and so on day after day. When you travel, even short-term, but especially long-term, you are simply forced to break out of you current routine. By doing this you will discover that there are many ways of doing things. You may even discover a better way to live your life.
3. The Challenge. I can't lie, traveling is challenging. Navigating through a new town in a new culture, communicating without speaking the language, being away from friends and family, making new friends, trying not to get lost in the jungle are all challenging. Challenges are exciting too. Overcoming the challenge will not only make your stronger, but will give you the greatest joy as well.
4. Never-ending Learning. Traveling is education. Visiting and living in new places, discovering new cultures you can't help it but to continuously learn something new. You will learn about cultural customs, history and the environment. You may pick up a new language - or at least a few words -, cooking skills, a new sport or simply a new way of seeing life. Some ideas will be contradictory to or outrageously different than what you've been taught back home. Even better: new ideas generate new ideas.
5. The Adventure and the Loss of Certainty. Travel-life is full of adventure. I am not only talking about zip-lining or sky-diving, you can do those at home. Simple things like taking a local bus, visiting a village off the beaten track or trying a new food are part of the adventure, raise adrenaline and produce happy hormones. Losing certainty can be scary, yet there is something incredibly exciting about arriving to a new place, exploring a new area, browsing through a new market, finding the best view and arriving to a place you hope to come back to again.
6. The Stories, the People and the Memories. There is no way around it, when traveling; you will meet so many different and amazing people: locals, expats and travelers alike. Some you may only exchange a smile with, others become you 5-hour friends or short-term travel buddies, while others become friends for life. Each encounter has its purpose bring you joy. The more you travel, the more people you meet, the more places you see and the more experiences you have, the more stories you will have to share with the world. You will have stories to write books and to speak about for hours. The memories will bring a smile on your face anytime.
7. Inspiration. If you ever doubt yourself: go travel. Dreaming big, following my heart, reaching out for new challenging, navigating through unknown lands and letting the experience sink in, you will feel a personal satisfaction. You will inspire yourself, because you will know how much you are capable of. You will trust your dreams. You will inspire others simply by showing that going for one's dream is possible - it is possible for anyone.