If you say you want to travel the world, you’re in the majority. But how many people can really admit to having seen the world after going on the kind of planet-spanning holiday adventure that most people can only talk about?
The fact is, you don’t need to be filthy rich, and you don’t need to be Indiana Jones. First and foremost, traveling the world is an investment in YOU-it’s relaxing, eye opening, rejuvenating, challenging, educational… I could go on and on. Of course it’s much easier to stay home. It’s comfortable. It’s trouble-free. Sure, you can spend your vacation watching TV and ordering in food, but is it going to stretch you as an individual or leave you with an experience you’ll cherish for the rest of your days? I think not.
Right now you’re probably thinking travel, especially international travel, is way too expensive. You’re correct in that it’s easy to spend thousands on up-scale resorts and package tours, but travel doesn’t have to be this way.
On travel websites I can find round trip tickets from New York City to San Jose, Costa Rica for less than USD 350.00 (taxes included). I also know for a fact (because I’ve been there) that you can travel comfortably in Costa Rica on less than USD 60.00 per day. Heck, the cost of your plane ticket there and back is what you’d spend on food and entertainment in NYC in one week.
If you’re concerned about traveling on your own, find a travel buddy, whether your partner, friend or family member, and get them on board with your travel scheme. Even planning for the trip can be a blast-pouring over travel books, deciding on your ‘must see’ destinations. So, stop making excuses and pack your bags.
If you’re not convinced already, here are 5 other reasons why you should travel:
1. NO WORK AND A NEW ROUTINE
As soon as your plane touches down, you’re not at work. No more staff meetings, no more deadlines and no more 9-to-5. Even if you absolutely love your job, it’s still great to have a break from the work routine. Having a week or more to do what you want-catch the sunrise on the beach, explore a new city on foot, visit an art museum, investigate a cave system-is the best. You get to eat when you want, sleep when you want and go where you want. It’s liberating to simply think about what you’d like to do and then go and do it. It’s an opportunity to cut loose and have fun.
Here’s some interesting news: vacations are good for you-for your mind, body and spirit. Unfortunately, more Americans are working through their vacations, taking fewer and shorter holidays. One study found that Americans usually don’t take all the vacation days they’re entitled to, leaving an average of three days on the table. This isn’t good for you. For example, the Framingham Heart Study found that women who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight timesmore likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than those who took at least two vacations per year. Moreover, studies have also shown that vacations boost productivity, energy and happiness, especially at work.
3. PEOPLE – THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT
I’ve visited dozens of countries for both work and vacations, and I’m always struck by how similar people are. No matter where you go, people need and desire the same basic things: food, shelter and safety, of course, but also love, intimacy and respect. It’s humbling and amazing to see how alike we all are. At the same time, our differences are incredible too. Culture is fascinating. How we perceive and make sense of our world through different languages, belief systems and practices makes us unique. We have the habit of thinking that our way is the only way and the best way. Travel gets you over this quickly. There are 6.7 billion different ways!
4. YOU’LL LEARN SOMETHING
Visiting another country is an incredible way to learn about the world, whether history, culture or politics. By spending time with locals, you get an on-the-ground sense of what is happening in a country, something you’ll never get through the packaged mainstream media. If you’re visiting a developing country, you’ll cultivate a deeper understanding of what it means to struggle for the basics – food, water, health care, and education – and this can be transformative. When you can, deviate from the well-worn tourist trails; you’ll encounter much more of a country this way. It’s definitely more challenging, but you’ll experience moments of total awe and joy. If you really want to immerse yourself in another way of life and give back, try volunteering in another country. Check out i-to-i: Life-changing Travel and Volunteer Travel.
5. COMING HOME
After the long flight back, there is nothing better that walking through the door to your home and knowing that you’ll be sleeping in your own bed. Travel, the act of being away, will provide you with a greater appreciation of the life you’ve carved out for yourself at home – your family and friends, your job, your hobbies, your routine. Travel can also provide the time for reflection, enabling you to clearly see the things that aren’t working for you in your everyday life. The ‘time out’ of travel helps you prioritize what you need to change in your life. It’s also empowering to return refreshed, energized and ready to make those changes.