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Personal Essay: Why I Love Traveling
It’s obvious to everyone who meets me that I love traveling. I have travel on the brain allllll the time. For example, whenever I meet someone new or even an old friend, I instantly want to talk about my upcoming trips, ask about their own adventures, share embarrassing and funny travel stories, and swap bucket list ideas. And yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m probably a little annoying to my non-traveling friends and acquaintances, but I can’t help myself. My “wanderlusty” passion seeps through my pores, out of my control. Passion is a good thing.
A few years ago I wrote about 29 ways travel changes you into a more spontaneous, well-rounded, and grateful person. Although I still stand by the ideas in that post, I still felt inspired to write an entire essay explaining why I love traveling so much. Exploring the world costs time and money (not to mention, boarding planes stresses me to the max!) so the trade-offs need to be worth it, right?
There are Many Reasons Why I Love Traveling.
Okay, full disclosure, some of the reasons why I love traveling are totally superficial. I mean, think about it. Travel makes you look cool. For instance, an ongoing joke about dating apps (haha) is that every single profile professes a deep love of travel. It’s damn near cliche at this point. And I understand why.
I also love to travel, because being in a new place means I’m allow to indulge and spoil myself. I mean, isn’t it nice to eat a lot of delicious food, explore museums stuffed with world class art, and capture the perfect Instagram shot on top of a mountain crowned in a pink sunrise’s glow? Of course!
However, all jokes aside, I love to travel for deeper personal reasons, too. The experiences go far beyond pretty pictures and a full stomach.
I deeply believe travel makes you richer, not in your wallet, but in your intelligence and compassion. Not to mention, roaming this planet makes you realize your full potential and helps you learn what makes you truly happy. Let’s break it down.
1. Travel is My Passion.
Life without passion is a prison sentence, in my opinion. Each day blends together until they are identical.
Wake up. Go to work. Eat dinner. Watch television. Sleep.
Time slips away without accomplishing anything. Not good. We’re all on this earth for a deeper purpose. We need to discover that purpose and let it embrace us. By doing that, we cultivate the abilities to face any challenges that come flying in our direction. For me, travel is my passion. Travel is my purpose. Not to mention, I channel this passion by using my own experiences to help people feel brave enough to take the trips of their dreams.
Recently, I’m listening to a lot of motivational podcasts on my commutes to work. For example, I love “The School of Greatness” and think these interviews provide great insight on practical ways to improve yourself. Seriously, if you’re struggling, then give this podcast a try. Anyway, one of the reoccurring themes on “The School of Greatness” is to find a passion and purpose in life. No one can take passion away from you. It’s freeing.
And travel? Is a beautiful passion. Most importantly, I like to learn about humanity, beyond my country’s borders, in order to better connect with others. It’s a blessing.
2. Travel Helps Me Believe in People.
Travel restores my faith in people. It’s true.
Okay, I hate to out myself on this blog, but I’m a total cynic sometimes. Full disclosure. In general, I have a very hard time trusting people, mostly because I worry they’ll lie or take advantage of me. And sadly, some people have done just that (another story for another day, my friends). It’s hard not to be jaded.
Yet travel reminds me so many kind-hearted, inspiring, brave, and intelligent people exist in the world. For example, I’ll never forget how complete strangers invited me to lunch in Nazare and helped me find the way to Stockholm after my train was canceled. I’ve also had strangers talk to me on planes to calm my anxiety over flying. I had one woman stay awake the entire flight on my trip to Madrid, for instance, and reassure me whenever we hit a bump in the sky. Travel reminds you that most people are inherently good. They are. I promise.
Even at home, the travel community’s members never stop encouraging me to transform into a better version of myself. For example, attending Women’s Travel Fest in New York City connected me with so many incredible women who are living their best lives every single day.
3. Travel Heals My Insecurities.
On a similar note, I’m a person who loves to travel, because exploring the world builds incredible self-confidence and worth. I’m able to accept and embrace my flaws much more readily after traveling somewhere epic and having time to reflect.
In our society, there’s an unspoken pressure to embody perfection, and falling short of that standard isn’t acceptable. Think about it. When was the last time you felt safe admitting that you were angry or jealous and received zero judgement or advice regarding your turbulent feelings?
We all have flaws and insecurities. We’ll never reach this ridiculous idea of perfection either. Travel gives you a chance to push beyond these troublesome traits, which we all have, and even accept them for what they are.
Is traveling alone scary? Absolutely. However, the fear is invaluable, because you need to get out of your comfort zone for personal growth to happen. For example, I was terrified to go paragliding in Slovenia, not only because I hate flying on general principle, but because I’ve never identified myself as a dare devil. I felt like an imposter. But when my feet touched the ground again, I realized how much courage I actually possess. Cool, huh?
As I’ve said, we all deal with insecurities. All of us. But these supposed flaws don’t have to define us.
4. Travel Makes Me Appreciate Natural Beauty.
I’m a city gal at heart. New York City is my “happy place,” because I love the endless entertainment options, great shopping, and diverse population. Bring me the city lights.
On the other hand, travel forces me to return to nature and foster a deeper appreciation for the earth. My breath was taken away in both the Scottish Highlands and Banff National Park. Crystal clear glacier lakes. Massive green mountains. Fresh air filling my lungs. Our planet is an absolute gem.
I’m even willing to get my hands dirty now!
And, even at home, I’m trying to make getting out into nature a priority. I will say New Jersey has plenty of beautiful beaches, and I fully intend to take advantage of them.
5. Travel Has Me Falling in Love with Myself.
Self-love is grossly underestimated. A lot of us are taught to place other peoples’ needs ahead of our own – which is especially true for women. Society pressures and molds us into the perfect daughters, sisters, friends, girlfriends, wives, mothers. When do we have time to pour the same kindness back onto ourselves to ensure we’re mentally healthy and happy?
There aren’t enough hours in a day. It’s sad.
Travel reclaims your time, and lets you spoil yourself. It’s amazing. For instance, I took myself out on dates in Seattle. I bought super expensive chocolate and sat in the park and took pictures of Mount Rainier, and it was the best thing ever. I also spent over $70 on myself at the Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, and didn’t care that my indulgence had reached ridiculous levels. I was worth it, damn it!
By traveling alone, you can give the love that you freely hand out to everyone to yourself. Be selfish. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Ultimately, I Love to Travel and Experience New Cultures.
My passion for new places and cultures isn’t something that appeared out of nowhere in my adult life. Far from it.
I’ve always wanted to travel ever since I was young. When I was in middle school (wow, I was twelve at one point?), I was convinced that I would move to England and design houses. While I think the latter had to do with playing too much Sims, my desire to explore beyond the borders of the United States never weakened. Not once.
Travel has made me a stronger person, and I couldn’t imagine my life without endless plane tickets and backpacks. Breaking outside my comfort zone strengthens my self-esteem. It’s a precious gift, the best one I can give myself.
Finally I feel like I have a deeper appreciation for the world now. I’m not as closed off or shallow, and consider myself very receptive to different opinions and ways of life. Travel makes me a better person.
If You are a Person Who Loves to Travel …
We’re soul sisters (or brothers if you’re a dude! Haha).
Here’s some final parting wisdom for my fellow travelers. Know that I think you’re amazing for pursuing your passions!
1. Don’t Feel Guilty.
You’re probably on the receiving end of some judgment. Do any of these lovely nuggets sound familiar?
“Enjoy it now. When you’re married and have kids, you won’t be able to travel anymore.”
“Don’t you want to settle down?”
“Are you running from something?”
These statements are intended to make you feel guilty. End of story. Don’t ever apologize for traveling too much! You’re allowed to travel as much (or as little) as you want without other people impacting your choices. So, whenever you hear varieties of the above comments, simply smile and nod and move on. Guilt has no place in your adventurous life. BYE.
2. Share Your Travel Passions with Others.
Even as a solo traveler, we want to talk to people who have the same passions as us. It’s only natural. So, being part of a community makes travel even more special. Facebook has several groups and communities that will connect you with fellow travelers. I love giving travel advice to random strangers in these groups! It makes me feel important. Not to mention, it’s an easy way to hook up with likeminded people when you’re in a new country or city.
Furthermore, if you run a travel blog, then you can join classes and workshops (such as BlogHouse), and also attend blogging conferences to make new friends. My blogger friends are some of the greatest people I know, and they support my dreams and goals whenever I feel low. Their encouragement is irreplaceable. You can’t put a price tag on it.
Finally, if you live in or are close to a big city, then check out your local Travel Massive chapter. These events will connect you with travel industry members and influencers, which is great if you’re planning on starting a travel blog. Not planning on running a travel business? Still go to Travel Massive and make friends! The atmosphere has always been very welcoming.
Share your passion and build a supportive circle.
3. Implement “Travel Lessons” at Home.
Most of us aren’t digital nomads. We have a permanent address with established careers. We don’t travel 24/7.
Therefore, it’s easy to fall into depression at home when you love to travel so, so, so much. Sometimes you even feel like an “outsider” in your own neighborhood, but don’t let isolation creep into your brain. It’s a mistake.
Instead treat your home as another travel destination. Local getaways are fantastic. Research a cool attraction, park, or restaurant in your own backyard and then go explore. Curiosity and wonder doesn’t die simply because you’re at home now. You never know what special gems might lurk around the corner.
Get out there!
Are you a person who loves to travel (I think I know the answer to this one)? Why do you love traveling? What trips have created the fondest memories for you? Share all your thoughts in the comments. Thanks (as always) for your continued support.