Why You Should Travel – Growing As a Person

One of the best reasons to travel is because it is quite possibly the best way to grow as a person.

Growing in maturity

Sure travelling often involves countless drinking games, crazy parties and ridiculous times… but somewhere between those it also helps you really mature as a person.

Travelling can be a really humbling experience. There’s no quicker way to learn how easy we have it and how blessed we are in North America compared to some other countries as to travel and see them for yourself. Watching small Chinese women work filthy 12 hour hard labour construction days in the burning sun really made me feel foolish for the jobs I had complained about in the past. Seeing the tiny, dirty, houses that some children are forced to grow up in will make anyone appreciate what they had as kids. Even seeing how much homework Chinese children get can make you wish you complained a little less back in school! :D

Travelling definitely humbles you and makes you grateful for the things you take for granted back home. When you see some of the unhappy ways people live on a daily basis it makes all the small problems that used to concern you seem irrelevant and silly, they just don’t matter as much. Travelling also helps you mature in your ability to deal with difficult people. If you thought dealing with your boss back home was difficult, imagine if he was Chinese and didn’t speak your language! It can be frustrating to deal with people who have different ways of thinking and hard to come to terms with them, but as you travel your forced to try your best and you can’t help but gain increased patience and people skills through the process.

Travelling helps us understanding more of the world we live in… and this wider worldview and understanding helps to grow and mature.

Constant growth

Travelling gives you more opportunities for constant growth than you could ever find working a 9-5 back home. Whether you take the path of working for a while, saving money then travelling, or getting a fulltime job like English teaching which has very low hours, chances are you’ll have much more time to experience the country and learn from it.

You’ll be able to fill your time with countless opportunities to go on adventures and experience the new culture you’re in. These experiences will get out of your comfort zone constantly and although you might have some fears and difficulties as you try to make it in a foreign land, these difficulties will cause you to adapt and grow quickly.

Travel will force you to take on new challenges. Anything as simple to making it home from the long walk you took without any English street signs, to learning to cook new food, to socializing with people from different countries, to learning a new language. These new challenges will help you build new skills and free yourself from your former limitations. If you become good at doing something in a foreign country you’ll be even better at doing it back home in the familiar.

Personal insights

When you’re challenged through travel you’ll no doubt learn a lot about yourself. Getting away from your familiar routine you’ll have to deal with new things, and in seeing how you deal with things you’ll learn, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can improve.

Travelling also helps you find out what’s important to you. When you remove all that you know you quickly realize what you miss the most and what really matters to you. And with this blank slate of a new land you’ll be able to find what you need again to be happy in life. For me it was sitting on a beach under the stars with people I loved and some live guitar in the background that I discovered all I ever needed to be happy.

Besides learning what’s important to you, you may also discover what you’re passionate about. Most people have no idea what they want to do with their lives… at least when they are forced to choose a career path in university… but travelling shows you what’s possible to do with your life and you’ll be exposed to so many things it’s much easier to discover your life’s passion or what you want your purpose to be.

Bonus benefits

As a nice bonus benefit to travelling, it also makes you a more interesting person! You’ll have experiences to share and stories to tell. You’ll definitely have a lot to talk about and you’ll be able to provide value or at least entertainment to others through what you’ve done.

You’ll also gain interesting insights and ideas from all the people from around the world you’ve met along the way. You’ll know new foods, new games, new music, new jokes, and new ways of doing things. You’ll have the gift of many unforgettable memories that will be valuable to you for years to come. Not to mention the lifelong friendships you’ll have created along the way. Lastly as you get older you’ll be able to look back on your life and say ‘I did that’ with a feeling of accomplishment in time well spent.

The 5th reason

As a final note to end this why travel series I want to bring up a 5th reason to travel… It’s a whole lot of fun!

I’ve had more fun in the last year and a half of travelling than I could have ever imagined before leaving for the first time. I’ve gone bungee jumping, cave exploring, zip lining, elephant riding, I’ve slept under the stars in a hammock, went cliff jumping, entered into 2 muay Thai kickboxing fights, went snorkeling, scuba diving, petted tigers, went to museums, went rock climbing, explored Chinese temples, climbed mountains, gone skinny dipping, hiked up to the world’s largest flower, visited 4 different theme parks, went to concerts, went to a full moon party, played countless drinking games, went to countless parties, sang songs at countless ktv’s, and did a bunch of fun things I don’t want to admit!

There’s a lot I’m missing but the point is travelling is an absolute blast, and putting all the personal development aside that alone makes it worth it! I hope this series inspires you to get out there and travel! It’s by far the most awesome thing there is to do in this world!

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Friends of a Budget Traveler

According to Dictionary.com; friend is defined as:

“A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard

A person who gives assistance; patron ; supporter

A person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile”

However, friends for budget traveler would fall under those websites or resources which help us to reduce expenses and enjoy the sights and trip more. For my part I would call them my BFF – Best Friend Forever.

*Assuming you are not acquainted with any natives of that particular country

List of friends would be:

1. Newsletter from Airlines

My advice is to subscribe to all applicable airlines newsletter. They would from time to time send a lucrative deal to grab for different sectors. The offer will be limited to certain travel period and most of the time you can’t refund if you cancel your plan. Nevertheless, through this you would be able to reduce your flight expenses significantly.

For example; I went to Hong Kong on February 2009 for one week via Cathay Pacific offer equivalent to RM500 ~ USD138 for a return ticket. Normal ticket would double or triple of that price.

You may subscribe to these Airlines (with online/e-ticketing), as I did:

Malaysia Airlines

Cathay Pacific

Singapore Airline

2. Check the official website of the country

Often, if not most of the time, the official website is very informative and almost a one-stop destination of all the things that you need to know about the country. Seventy percent of the information here is enough for you to track the places that you want to visit but for budget travel, you may need to rely on a few other resources.

For example: My upcoming travel to South Korea, I have used their Tour2Korea official website extensively. Their website is very organized, structured, user friendly and interactive.

3. Lonely Planet

Most of budget traveler definitely know what Lonely Planet is. I frequently visit their thorn tree forum to get some advice from experienced travelers and even locals who replied in the forum. It’s online, most recent up-to-date ideas and most of the time is the latest information that you can absorb. 100% helpful and definitely will help to reduce your expense with proper planning and to avoid any tourist traps.

4. Trip Advisor

Research, research and research. I can’t stress enough on this word. Even before going that road, I would only survive with tips and advise from this website. They have structured their website in a very systematic and user-friendly mode. I like it when all of those travelers joined ideas and experience to help other newbies like me. Massive information can be gained from here and in fact I did a lot of research on budget accommodation from this site as well. All those reviews are pretty reliable. One more thing, don’t forget to subsribe to their newsletter. A little effort goes a long way.

5. YouTube

Seeing is believing. Right? Glad that other kind souls out there put extra effort and broadcast their videos in Youtube. YouTube is really a work of art. In terms of budget traveling, the pros are all on us. The travelers basically giving advice through their videos whether a place is worth a visit or any happening places that you just cannot miss during your travel. I’m glad that I check through YouTube before I go.

6. Fellow bloggers

If you can see that I link to a few bloggers in my blog. This is for me to keep myself up to date on the places that I want to visit. For example, Gwangju is definitely going to be my spot in South Korea. Thanks to Kimchi and Cornbread, I could keep abreast with what happen around that area. Most of the bloggers that I link to, they are either have been there or currently there. It would be better if you could find a native blog but finding an English written blog by a Korean native is a challenge for me. A mission for me though

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