What Are The 7 Best, Most Amazing Travel Benefits?

Laurie travel

Laurie believes travel helps her discover parts of herself she  didn’t know existed. She is pictured with her husband, Randy, during a visit to Koblenz Germany.

By Laurie Stone

You think you know a place, even if you’ve never seen it. After all, you’ve watched television shows about it. You’ve heard the music. You’ve tasted the food at a neighborhood restaurant. But you don’t really know a city or country until you’ve walked its streets, seen its people and breathed its air. That’s why traveling — whether near or far — changes you in seven surprising ways.

Improves Your Intuition

Traveling can involve many snap decisions. Plans change. You meet new people. You’re out of your comfort zone and routine. You’re forced to rely on instinct. Things happen with travel that don’t happen back home. You must adapt.

And that’s a good thing. Because you come to trust your intuition and that little voice that speaks in hunches and feelings. You come to trust in your ability to read people and situations.

Opens Your Heart

I know people who had long-held beliefs about other cultures and races, based on what people told them or the media. But then they visited a certain place. They saw loving parents with children and they saw doting grandparents. They saw young people in love. Surprisingly, they saw themselves. That’s when they realized we’re more alike than different.

Traveling expands our hearts. Sometimes it’s not until you venture from your own neighborhood that you see how inter-connected we all are. We’re bound by our common humanity.

Invigorates the Brain

Exploring is stimulating. You may hear foreign words, walk unfamiliar street and taste new foods. You’re constantly processing new information. And our brains love this. In fact, our minds were made for it.

The good news is that you don’t have to go far. I’ve lived outside Manhattan most of my life. I try and get in every few months. No matter how many visits I’ve made, it’s a new experience each time. Something is always under construction. There are new, interesting restaurants to try. There’s a constant stream of faces, stores and sights. Travel, whether near or far, provides this kind of mental boost.

Learning About Yourself

A few years ago in Provence, France, I found myself adopting the cotton sundresses and straw hats of the local women. I never dressed this way back home, with my capri pants and tank tops. But I loved this new way of expression. It felt chic and bohemian. For a time, I was a different person.

That’s when I realized how travel helps us discover parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed. I still have that dress from Provence. And though I’m back to tank tops and capris, this dress reminds me that I’m not always who I think I am.

Toughens you

It’s hard getting on a plane or jumping in a car, train or bus and just going. There are so many details. There’s a fear of the unknown. There are millions of reasons to stay home. But there’s usually one important reason to go — travel enhances life. The very act of shoving off is proof you’re willing to brave it. You’re overcoming hesitancy and doing what you must.

When you set off on a journey, you never know what will happen, especially if it’s a new place. You never know how it will change you. But with each trip, you become more capable, knowledgeable and resilient.

Not the Center of the Universe

I was in Mexico a while back. I couldn’t help asking a local friend what he thought of the American presidential campaign with its emphasis on building that wall. As you might expect, his opinion wasn’t favorable, but it was fascinating, informed and thoughtful.

Travel helps us see things from other viewpoints, not just ours. And when you listen to other people, understanding expands. You realize their opinions matter too. They’re also passionate about their country and culture.

Learning What You Love

Ironically, what I like most about travelling is coming home. And yet I can’t get that perspective without going away. Travel allows us to see our lives from a distance. You see what’s working and what isn’t.

This can be a great gift. It’s easy getting bogged down in the details of life. But when we’re lifted out of the commonplace, sometimes for even a few hours, we see things with fresh eyes.

Travel changes you. You won’t be the same after certain trips. You will have learned something. You will have grown. You will have evolved. Travel is an amazing teacher.

What are you waiting for?

Take that journey.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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