A friend of mine is traveling outside the U.S. for the first time and asked for my advice. As he was talking, it got me thinking about all the traveling I’ve done throughout my life. I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the U.S. and live in various counties around the world. Traveling abroad was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. It opened my eyes and mind to new cultures, let me taste new foods, and I met new people.
Not to mention, it taught me a lot about myself and the things I took for granted over the years – family, close friends, and the “US of A”! Seeing the world provides an education that’s absolutely impossible to get in school. Travel teaches you about economy, politics, history, geography, and sociology – in an intense, hands-on way that no class ever will. Being in a foreign land also forces you to step outside your comfort zone. Truth be told, when someone starts out their story with, “there was a time in London….” It gets my attention EVERY TIME!
Here are my top 5 reasons you should experience “LIFE outside your ZIP CODE!”
1. The world is your oyster!
It’s important to see what’s out there. Traveling not only allows you to explore and see the world with your own eyes, but it helps you to learn about who you are. Believe me, there’s more to life than getting your daily latte at the same coffee house and/or staring at your screen at your 9-5 every day. When traveling, you’ll have to find a new place to drink your latte, and depending on your destination – where you find coffee could prove to be a size-able challenge! Yet, it’s so much FUN!
The Spanish Stairs in Rome
2. WHEN IN ROME!
People you meet while traveling can become some of the most valued names in your contact list. Meeting people from other cultures will teach you that the way you’ve been looking at the world isn’t the way everybody else does. In fact, your point-of-view might have some flaws and/or major blind spots. Seeing the world for yourself will improve your vision and gives you a dose of reality into other cultures.
Funny story – When I was in Rome, I was eating dinner and met an elderly couple in their late 70s. They were celebrating over 50 years of marriage, and asked if I’d like to join them for a drink to celebrate. The man motioned for the waitress to come over and take our order. “3 Grappa’s, please!”, he says to the waitress. I asked, “What’s Grappa?” He looks at me and says, “Young man! Grappa is pure jet fuel! It will put hair on your chest and make your balls drop!” 4 Grappa’s later, I was drunk off my ass, the old man turns to me and called me a “LIGHT WEIGHT!” LMAO!
3. Learn a new language
There’s something satisfying about being able to speak a few words of French, knowing how to say “thanks” in Portuguese, or simply hearing a language that you didn’t know existed. Saying “Bonjour!” to a french man, knowing fully well that you’re not able to hold a full conversation, shows respect for the country you’re visiting! Oh, what a feeling.
4. Food, glorious food!
When it comes to food, you’ll be amazed at all of the different flavors that the world has to offer. Tantalize your taste buds by trying new foods. When I was in Hamburg, Germany, there was a fish dish called, Räucheraal, which is a smoked eel. Gross, right? WRONG! It’s delicious! As a traveler, you’ll notice the way people in other cultures and countries prepare food, and how they break bread together.
5. Traveling means new adventures
Traveling gives you a new perspective on life, as well as a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention, some great memories that you’ll have for a lifetime. Coming home after a trip gives you the satisfaction that you were able to travel and accomplish what you set out to do and see the world.