From Our Readers On the Beauty and Importance of Traveling From Our Readers

I have never been able to understand people who don’t see the point in traveling. The common reason is that traveling is a waste of time and money. I’ve heard some are scared to travel too far away. I can’t help but feel sorry particularly for those who perceive the experience of seeing a new place as a 100 % negative one. Telling them stories about unusual encounters doesn’t result in the expected curiosity but a ‘Why would you wanna go there!?’ It makes me lose faith in humanity. Experience is the best teacher and knowledge is power. The things traveling can teach you are beautiful because you learn to trust in what you see rather than what you are told. And you learn that possibilities for yourself are endless.

Simply believing what others say has formed many problematic situations in the past. And yes I am talking about historical events involving prejudice due to what we are told about what we don’t know. In some cases xenophobia-causing stories are passed on from generation to generation. With all these factors bumping into each other, it’s almost understandable why some people fear traveling.

It was Mark Twain who said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness,’ which in my mind goes down as the closest to the truth about traveling. Too bad there aren’t enough people with the means to travel actually doing it. It could be fear, it could be a lack of interest and curiosity. Somehow, I believe, our grandparents’ stories and the negative portrayal of many countries in the media is still more dominating than it should be. But a country and its people shouldn’t be judged by a couple of devils among them. You should be the one to spread the word about your positive travel experiences, no matter how unusual they might be. If you have the means to go abroad, you should do it despite going out of your comfort zone. You might only realise why you loved it once you’re back home but you are more than likely to want to do it again.

This is exactly what leads to another reason why traveling is like therapy. I think it’s the best thing you could do if you feel depressed at home, don’t know what to do with your future, your life, your partner, anything. Once you are away, preferably somewhere very new and unknown, you are forced to adapt and meet people. This works especially if you travel alone but no worries, it worked for me when I traveled with my Mother and sister. A new life and especially the new relationships you build, even if only for a short period of time, reveal opportunities and views you never would have thought of and had otherwise.

When I was 17, I moved to Britain to finish high school abroad as I thought it would improve my chances of getting a job in an English speaking country. After experiencing everything but what I had planned, I traveled to Croatia for three weeks. The people I have met there taught me to be laissez-faire and I have realised that I could just return home, work harder and return to do what I want to do: enroll on the course I’m doing now. Even though going back again to finish school meant that two years of my life could be perceived as wasted, it never felt like that to me. I had to go away from home for a year to see what I don’t want. And I had to travel for three weeks to realise how to get what I want.

What if none of this happened? If I picture myself not having gone away, I would probably have finished school with results nowhere close to equivalent to my capacity and possibly given up on myself. I would probably be working a sh***y job daydreaming about being where I am now. And even writing this makes me appreciate the times I’ve been away. Without them I would not have known what to do with my life. I wouldn’t say I ‘found’ myself as the meaning of that has always been unclear to me and I don’t know if humans are boring enough to ever want to ‘find’ themselves.

I know now that life only feels empty when there’s nothing to look forward to. And I know that the best way to fix that is to leave your daily life. Being lost for a while helps you find yourself, I’ve heard. Well, it helps you figure out what to do next, too. Even if that means going away again. You’ll return home working towards something and appreciating having traveled more than ever. This is why I’ll never stop traveling. It’s like a virtuous cycle and I’m currently at ‘working hard towards something’ o’clock.

I could go on about the beauty of traveling because there is so much to it. Is it cheesy to say that I believe if everyone traveled, the world would be a better place?

by Olga Kramer

Read more from Olga on her blog and Twitter page

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  1. cant agreee with the article and Sarah H more! I LOVE to travel especially solo traveling. Been living in the US by myself since I was 16. after 6 years, I am still so passionate about travelling. I couldn’t imagine myself living in one city for too long. When I travel, I definitely get to know myself better, get to meet a lot of great people and try a lot of new things. I am so grateful about all of that. Everyone should love life, love traveling and strive for a healthy happy life! Happy weekend every one! :)

  2. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to travel a lot. My Dad worked nearly 30 years for an airline, and now I work in travel too. It’s funny though, because neither of my parents used to really be into travelling (my Dad was more into the planes than the actual travel), but since I was 15 I had the “travel bug”. I used to write in my diary lists of places I wanted to go see – I’m still working my way through them, but I have travelled a fair bit, and even lived overseas for a year and a half in The Netherlands, which gave me the opportunity to learn another language.
    Even now I feel like I am always working to save for my next holiday. My parents don’t really seem to understand why though – they feel I should settle down, buy a house, have a family – but I don’t want to do that. I want to keep going out and exploring the world because there is so much to see and do and learn. Sure, I’ve had crappy experiences while travelling (wallet stolen in Prague, flight missed in Brussels and no hotels being available that night etc), but I have also had so many wonderful experiences and made so many friends overseas and learnt so much about other cultures that I couldn’t imagine not being able to travel. I’m just about counting down the days to my next trip (to the USA in December) and I’ve already got time off next August and am hoping to go to the US Open (yes, big tennis fan and it’s the only grand slam I have not been to) and to the east coast of Canada. I think what you say is true – having something to look forward to is a big boost, and I always love to be planning my next trip.

    • Actually, it’s weird, but because I love to travel and have lived overseas, some people seem to think I hate my home country (Australia). This is totally untrue – I love my home country, but I love learning about other countries too. I loved my time living in The Netherlands, and I’d do it all again if I could. I just couldn’t imagine living in one city all my life and never leaving. I understand that for some people it’s a “comfort zone” but I don’t get why they then judge me for wanting to travel. I have been to so many amazing cities – in Europe mostly, although I went to NYC for the first time in Feb this year and absolutely fell in love and can’t wait to go back there – even in my own country there are places that I love to go to. Many of my friends are “party animals” who go out clubbing every weekend and spend all their money on that. I’d much rather stay home with a movie and save my money to go travelling – that way I still meet lots of people but I actually learn about other cultures, instead of meeting some guy who lives 2 suburbs away from me and just wants a one night stand. :D

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this article, thank you so much! I couldn’t agree with you more. Settling down is for those who one day decide they don’t want their children to travel, hehe. But having been on the road from a young age does shape you. I think that this may have done it for me. But I’m also convinced that no matter when one starts traveling, they will always appreciate it. And that, despite negative experiences (my laptop was stolen last year, my dad’s expensive video camera a couple of years prior to that). But think of it, all this could happen to you in your home country and probably already has. You just take it for granted. And that’s another reason why traveling is great… it reminds you of the benefits of home. All in one! ;)

    • wow that was kinda long – sorry – I’m passionate about travel. ;)

  3. traveling is something that i feel so lucky to be able to do. its an absolute worthwhile thing that everyone should be able to experience. :)

  4. I totally agree!! Travel away friends!! I’m headed for a road trip in 2 days with a wonderful friend to go visit another fabulous friend and I cannot wait! Here’s to finding new adventures around ever corner! :)

  5. Love, love this! I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite quotes is “The world is a book. Those who do not travel read only a page.” –St. Augustine

    I make it a point to take one big trip a year, preferably to a foreign country. I feel it’s important to completely leave what is familiar and learn a new culture. Thanks for such a great post!

  6. I love this, and I agree 100%! This is so inspiring, thank you!

  7. Not at all! The world would be a better place if everyone traveled…even if that travel for some, is to a different town in their home state, I’m constantly surprised by people who never leave their neighborhood. Thank you for sharing:-)

  8. I so want to travel. I dream about it all the time. I just need money!

  9. I completely and utterly agree with you, the world would be a better place if more people traveled. It’s an amazing world and more people should experience it.

  10. Beautiful.