Thought Catalog
April 16, 2014

10 Ways Travel Will Change Your Life For The Better

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Travel is transformational. It changes who you are to your very core. Out there on the road, without any baggage, you encounter life in a way that’s not always possible when you are working all the time. I know I’m biased since I write about travel but my experience meeting others has shown me that travel changes you for the better. It brings out the best version of you possible. Here are ten ways travel will better your life and why you should start planning your next trip away:

You become more social

It’s sink or swim on the road. You either get better at making friends or you end up alone. You learn to make friends out of strangers and get more comfortable approaching new people. You get better at the small talk. When I first started traveling, I was an introvert and uncomfortable talking to strangers. Now, I find myself able to talk to people like we’ve known each other for years.

You gain confidence

You’ve traveled the world. Hiked Mt. Everest. Dived the Great Barrier Reef. Wined and dined that beautiful French girl in Paris and navigated unknown cities with ease. In short, you’ve done awesome things. After accomplishing so much, you’re going to feel a lot more confident in your ability to achieve anything.

You’ll learn to go with the flow

You’ve dealt with missed flights, slow buses, wrong turns, unavoidable delays, bad street food, and much, much more. You’ve learned how to adapt your plans to ever-changing situations. You don’t get mad, you don’t get angry, you just move on. Life throws you curve balls and you hit them out of the park.

You get more adventurous

When you become confident in your ability to do anything, you do everything. Skydive. Jump off cliffs. Conquer your fear of heights. Eat bugs. Whatever. You got this. It’s all part of the journey and the more you put yourself in uncomfortable situations, the less uncomfortable they become. Soon, it’s all par for the course.

You learn to read people

When you don’t know the language, non-verbal communication becomes even more essential to reading people and situations. Being able to read body language can tell you a lot about your surroundings and keep you away from bad situations. You learn how to communicate with people using non-verbal skills (I once had to do “choo choo” to get to the train station). Traveling to places that don’t speak your language helps your ability to understand body language.

Travel broadens your horizons

As Mary Anne Radmacher said, “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” Once you travel and experience other cultures, your perception of the world changes. It teaches you about the commonality people around the world share. You’ll learn that we are not so different after all.

You’ll learn to make it anywhere

If you can handle traveling in foreign countries or living in a new place, you can do anything. After I moved to Bangkok without knowing a soul and left having established an everyday life there, I knew I could repeat that process anywhere and I had no reason to be worried about going to unknown places.

It will give you cool stories

Hey, it just will. Egotistical or not, you’ll have a lot of amazing stories to tell at parties. Just don’t be a dick about it and come off as overly showy.

It will make you more employable

You’ve traveled the world alone, handled awkward situations, and dealt with a lot of different kinds of people. In short, you learned a lot of soft people skills that can’t be taught in school. This ability to work well with others and navigate different situations can give you a real edge in job interviews.

It will give you friends around the world

After years of traveling the world, there are few places I can go where I don’t know someone. During your own travels you’ll make friends and always have a place to stay and a friend to show you around.

Travel is transformational and I don’t mean in that hippy dippy way. Being out there on your own imbues you with a lot of life skills. It teaches you about the world, how to navigate unknown situations, be independent, and learn to go with the flow. It makes you a better you. No one ever comes back home and said “Wow! Traveling sucks.” People come back from trips with a greater appreciation for life for a reason.

Travel can make you the most interesting man (or woman) in the world…if you let it. TC mark