A few days ago I came across an article that pushed some of my buttons. Today I was reading over some of the comments and it turns out I wasn’t the only one that this article annoyed (which I expected), as it targeted the travelers, a now popular hobby and career for some.
The article was titled “Why Your Obsession With Travel Means You’re Living A Mediocre Life,” which you can read here.
Can you see how that sparked some controversy? If you read the article then you know how infuriating the writer is, just using the word mediocre to describe a traveler’s life was enough to have me irritated.
So this post is in response to the one linked above, to bring back some positivity and in all honesty, to set this guy straight.
1. It’s not just pretty pictures
Sure, travel looks pretty, but it is so much more than that. Yes, I and along with everyone else posts pictures while traveling and they are our best pictures because people like to see them. I want to see my friends pictures just as much as I want to see the gorgeous pictures of places I’ve never been to yet that I find on Instagram, and my friends and others want to see my pictures too. But behind each picture is a story, so we become storytellers. Behind each picture is a reason, so we become photographers, and behind each picture is a moment, so we become collectors. The pictures we take traveling shape us, our memories, and help guide us towards our futures, whatever that may entail. So here we are, building our futures.
2. It broadens your mind
Don’t get me wrong here, I have nothing against working a desk job, but its got nothing on travel. Working the same job from the time you graduate high school, college, uni, whatever, until you die will leave you and your mind extremely limited. This doesn’t have to be a desk job, but any job. Or maybe you’ll work multiple jobs throughout your life, and yes you will learn with each job, and face new challenges and grow as an individual, but these will have nothing on travel.
Travel is the only thing that can broaden your mind so quickly, open you up to new discoveries, and make you think differently than you ever have before. Travel forces you into challenges that you can’t buy or quit your way out of, it has many consequences, and most importantly it opens you to the world.
You will become a problem solver, you’ll have more ideas, and your mind will become a wide expansion from your body that holds onto memories, cultures, and thoughts, that
you will absorb and keep absorbing even after you think you can’t take in anymore. This is because travel is interesting, it’s compelling, it’s like a drug like sharpens your mind and leaves you more open to what the world has to offer.
3. It allows you to make a difference
Here I specifically wrote allows because travel can often times give us more opportunities to give back, but we don’t always use these opportunities. Tourism itself helps many countries, people, big and small businesses. Travel allows us to connect with others from different cultures, to make an impact on an individual by telling a story, sharing a goody from home, or helping a community in need. Sure, we could do some of these things at home, but people usually feel a bit more inclined to when traveling, and we often make more of a difference when traveling than we think we do.
I know I’ll remember my nights out more than I do from the ones back home. I’ll remember the travel horror stories and how people over came them, I’ll remember the people and how they act so differently, I’ll remember the good customs that I can bring back home and share.
4. It makes you a more well-rounded person
The world needs more well-rounded people. They’re more easy-going, kinder, more open, and are the ones that hold more than just one set of specialized skills. Any person who says that travel doesn’t help make you a better individual, worker, have more skills, or a people person is full of shit. Sorry to be blunt, but it’s been said before, and I’ll say it again: travel does more for your mind and skill set than a lot of jobs or degrees will do. Just because you travel for yourself doesn’t mean that you live a mediocre life, your life is significant to you, and if that makes you selfish then so what? Climbing up the corporate ladder or working just so you can go party everything weekend or buy yourself nice things makes you just as selfish.
Do something that will make you feel like you made a real difference in your life. For some that’s a three month backpacking trip they took through Europe, for others it’s designing a building. But who says you can’t do both? Some travel for two weeks a year, some for longer, and some for their lives. We can create and do just as much with our time on the road as people who stay in one place do. Quite often the people who work while traveling are really the ones who can achieve just as much or more as they dedicate time to work and relaxing, they’ve found a way to make the significant life that they want to live.
So go ahead and continue being obsessed with travel, run away from whatever it is you’re running from, refuse to grow up. If being obsessed with travel means that I’m afraid of trying new things then by all means I don’t know what I’d do if I had to stay in one place, because that’s what really terrifies the adventurous, creative, and inspiring souls.
Remind me of a ground breaking thinker who never traveled in their life and I’ll be surprised. Travel in itself is significant, it’s significant to our own lives, our events, our economy, our world, our people, our freedom.
You are worth an imprint on this world, and the more you travel the bigger that imprint will become. An imprint is measured by what you’ve done, by what you’ve made, but by the impact you’ve made on others.