You know the feeling you get when you start seeing everyone’s vacation pictures on social media and you begin to get that slightly jealous and somewhat anxious desire to stretch your legs a bit and experience your own adventure?
Don’t lie. Yes, you do.
For some people, the feeling is only a fleeting moment before the reality of daily life, finances and juggling work and activity schedules make the reality of traveling an unattainable dream.
For others, the hope of such an experience drives them to push past all the obstacles, real or perceived, and do whatever it takes to make it happen.
No matter what category you fall into, here are 5 reasons why you should scratch that travel itch:
1. Travel Bugs Require Medication
You might not realize it, but getting bit by the travel bug is a serious threat to your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. If left untreated, it will cause you to experience bouts of “localized” depression, increased stiffness and inability to move beyond daily surroundings or even DEATH…from a saturation of sameness caused by your current routine. Bad stuff. You might not need the same dosage as someone else, but the medication is always the same…go somewhere new.
2. Your Family Might Need It More Than You
If you are constantly on the go and just trying to find a moment to catch your breath and relax at home before the next moment of life craziness hits, it’s understandable if traveling doesn’t seem appealing. Here’s the thing, though, nothing brings a family closer together like experiencing something new (or a new place…hint, hint). Sure the travel logistics will be hard to work out and the trip itself might be rough at times, but you will never get this time back with your spouse and children. Embrace the challenges and enjoy every uncomfortable circumstance from getting lost, missing a train or even fumbling your way through international communications. Last year in California, we missed the last ferry back to our hotel and had to walk through the weirdness of nighttime San Francisco with our tired and cranky toddler to find a taxi to get us back across the bay. It was stressful and we were tired, but moments later we were laughing at the whole scenario and understanding this was a story we would always have.
3. Who Couldn’t Use a Broader Perspective?
As an educator in a small town, I was blown away by the lack of cross-cultural experiences of many of my students. My family grew up traveling and since we went to the Ukraine when I was 12, international travel has been the name of the game for me. But, in talking to my classes at times, I realized a large portion of them had not even been farther than 10-15 minutes outside of town. This meant their perspective on other states, countries and cultures was completely limited to what they saw on TV or online. This saddened me.
Thankfully, I was able to take a small group of students to Spain and see how impactful travel can be and witness the magic of encountering another culture through their eyes. They came back with a greater realization of all they had in common with people who speak a different language and live across the ocean from them, but also, I believe, a greater appreciation and truer understanding of life and issues faced outside their small town.
It is, literally, the coolest thing ever to communicate with someone in a different language. I have had a few professors in college who are able to travel throughout multiple countries in Europe and seamlessly communicate with locals in their native tongues. I am envious of this, but it also inspires me to pick up whatever I can of a language and use it when I go to another country. Of course, this is not always necessary as many countries speak English and will be able to help you out if you cannot fluently engage with others, but it’s amazing how much better people treat you when you do what you can to meet them in conversation. They start to inform you of some of the secret jewels of the land unknown to most average tourists and give you a greater glimpse into the magic of their cultures. All because you took the time to attempt something new and uncomfortable. So awesome!
5. Lasting Experience
Sure, sometimes you just feel like blowing your savings on the newest, wall-sized TV or a motorized tricycle (not sure of the actual name for those motorcycles with three wheels), but things will come and go. Travel experiences last a lifetime and will open you up to so many more opportunities to engage with people in life. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I have been able to connect with over the fact we have traveled to the same country or because I know a few phrases in their native language. And isn’t connecting with others in this life the point?
So, next time you get the itch, don’t talk yourself out of the experience. Embrace your travel bug with all of the challenges it may bring and do some self-medication.
Cause everyone knows, nothing feels better than scratching a good itch.