What’s the point of going travelling?
Why should I go travelling? I can see the world online from the comfort of my sofa.
Who would blame people from thinking this? Especially with huge 4K TV’s, as well as fully immersive adventures available for people to experience at the click of a button.
I would say there is far more to travelling than just seeing new places and looking over beautiful views. Travelling is as much about exploring yourself and finding your way as a person, as it is about seeing new places and visiting iconic destinations. It doesn’t matter what time in your life you choose to travel, it has got to be just the right time for you. Life is not easy, it’s full of hard choices and daily challenges. Travelling is even harder in almost every way, but in my opinion the rewards are far greater.
Expand your mind for a greater future
It’s very easy to become overly comfortable with what we know and see around us. Our minds crave stimulation, far more than just looking at a phone screen, walking familiar streets and engaging in mundane conversations. After leaving higher education and the years of reading textbooks and listening to endless lectures, our minds need time to process. However, they also equally crave the same level of information input. Travelling can offer your mind the level of stimulation it requires but along a completely different route. This allows time to process and connections to form, harnessing learned knowledge combined with real life experience. This is a powerful combination and will help mould thought patterns in ways that encapsulate a more exclusive view of life and engaged lateral thinking. In this sense travel is far more than seeing new places – it develops the brain in ways that will be massively beneficial in the future.
Life experience and our world
Learned knowledge from others is one thing, but learned knowledge through experience is something else entirely. This can be seen whenever you speak to someone who has gained knowledge through experience. For example, when they talk about places they have visited they are not just telling you about the place, regurgitating facts and figures, what to do and where to go. They are telling you all this information with feeling and emotion attached to every word and are sharing their experienced knowledge with passion. It’s possible to tangibly feel the difference, as their words have feeling and life force attached. This is incredibly powerful.
Life experience is unrelatable to any other way we acquire knowledge or process information, as we can understand a subject or concept on a far deeper level. It connects more parts of us – creating a network between our minds, senses, emotions and feelings which not only enriches us but also the lives of people we speak to.
Meeting the right people
Day to day and certainly though our educational journey we meet an incredible amount of people, yet we might only really connect with a few. Only a handful will leave a lasting impression. There is of course a simple reason for this, most of the people we meet in our hometowns or early education are not there out of choice they are there because that’s where they have been told to be. Travelling is the complete opposite, making a decision to embark on a travelling adventure is not to be taken lightly. It is a hard decision knowing that what lies ahead is going to be full of difficult challenges, but also some of the most wonderful moments.
Generally speaking, people you meet travelling have all made the hard choice, they will have a similar mindset to yourself. They are following their dreams and will have common interests. You are more likely to connect, more likely to forge a lasting friendship and share the best of times. Many will become friends for life and leave a lasting impression.
Independence and life skills
For many who decide on a travelling adventure it comes after years of security, firstly living at home, the comfort of people around you who are there to help sort out any problems which might occur. The same goes for further education and university, friends, family and teachers who are all there to help in some capacity. Travelling totally removes that safety net, it takes away the comfort and security and forces you stand alone. You must take responsibility for your actions and resolve all issues by yourself.
As a traveller you have to look after yourself, which sounds simple but in reality, can be time consuming and troublesome. Clean clothes, somewhere to sleep and food in your stomach we very much take for granted, but in some countries it is not as easy as you might think. Also getting to places on time, making the most of every day and not missing out on things due to been unprepared and forgetful. In my experience you learn quickly how to take care of yourself, watch out for the people around you and try to never miss an opportunity. These valuable life skills, once learned, will never leave you.
Gaining a different perspective
Over time it’s incredibly easy to fall into a routine of safety and comfort, our perspective on reality becomes tainted. Many countries and cultures have a completely different perspective on the world, with people living life by totally different rules. Quite often through travel our priorities change: what we thought was valuable can quite often be turned upside down. It’s impossible to gain a balanced view of our world unless we have stepped outside our comfort zone and experienced different ways of life first-hand.
One useful insight I found came after returning home from Australia. I had been away for two years and returned not only a different person with completely different ideas, but I also saw my hometown from a new perspective. It changed what I thought was important and I had a new respect for things I previously hadn’t even noticed.
A sense of achievement and conquering fears
There is nothing better than achieving something you feel is worthwhile, completing one of the biggest challenges you have ever faced. Travelling will certainly tick both of those boxes. You chose to go for it, you planned it and actually went and did it. I guarantee it will not have been plain sailing, there will have been many challenges along the way, but you will definitely have conquered some of your fears, risen to the challenge and grown as a person. Only you could have done that. Your sense of achievement should be incredible, it will boost your confidence, self-worth and level of pride. Those feelings will be there when you need them for the next challenge and stay with you for the rest of your life.
Stimulating your senses and feel alive
At some point we all ask the question, why are we here? It’s one of life’s big mysteries and I don’t know if we will ever have an answer. Another question that might put us on the right track is, why have we been given consciousness and a body that is built to soak up sensory experience? In my humble opinion, it’s to explore our surroundings and wonderful planet. To meet likeminded people and have deep and meaningful conversations. To find out more about who we are and strive towards achieving goals for the benefit of many. The more we connect our mind to our senses, the greater our experience and the richer our world will become.
Travelling is not for the faint hearted, its hard work, physically and mentally exhausting most of the time. Travellers learn many of the skills they need as you go along, live outside their comfort zone with their minds in an almost constant state of high alert. Even with all of the strain travelling puts on an individual one thing is for sure, every step will be utterly rewarding with some of the best moment’s life has to offer. If you are lucky you also might find yourself slightly closer to understanding your purpose and realising your potential.
Finally, to go back to the initial question. Why should I go travelling? Well, if not for any of the points I suggested, maybe you have your own reasons or just simply because you can.
Stay safe and enjoy your travels
Written by Richard Stuttle