Are you missing travel? Have the winter woes got you down? Are you dreaming of warmer climes? If so, here are 10 things about travel that will instantly put you in a good mood.
1. The People
They say it’s not where you are, but who you’re with that’s important. One of the greatest things about travelling is that you’re guaranteed to meet loads of weird and wonderful people. Ironically, if you’re travelling alone, you’ll probably have an even bigger social life than if you’re with a friend or partner. There’s a strong camaraderie among travellers the world over, meaning that wherever you go you’re sure to find a family of fellow expats who’ll welcome you with open arms. Drawn together by your shared interests, experiences and anxieties, friendships will form thick and fast, and while some of them may be fleeting, others will last for life.
2. The Adventure
When you’re out of your comfort zone, any situation has the potential to become an adventure. Even ordinarily basic things like using public transport or buying groceries can become a memorable experience. Everyday life is much more interesting when you turn off autopilot, and travelling really forces you to live in the moment. Adventures both big and small will continually present themselves to you as you visit unfamiliar places and meet new people. Your curiosity and enthusiasm for life will be enhanced as you experiment, explore and discover things about both your surroundings and yourself.
3. The Challenge
Sometimes we need to be challenged in order to grow and progress, and there’s no better test of character than packing up your entire life and stepping out into the great unknown. Travelling is the perfect way to push yourself and find out what you’re truly made of. It won’t always be easy, but you’re sense of self-worth and confidence will grow as you overcome the various trials and tribulations of life on the road. There’s nothing more smile-inducing than the feeling of pride you get when you successfully navigate a difficult situation, understand a few words of a foreign language, or try something new for the first time.
4. The Food
Food glorious food! Another thing about travelling that’ll instantly put a smile on your face is all of the unusual grub you’ll have the chance to taste. Eating something delicious is a surefire way to improve your mood, so make sure you try as many local dishes as you can. Food is a particularly special part of travelling; it plays an integral role in a country’s culture, and has the power to bring people together. Getting to know the different customs and traditions that surround cooking and eating is a great way to really immerse yourself in a place. In some countries, eating out is still a lot cheaper than it is in the UK, so what was once a luxury can become a daily occurrence. That said, be sure to check out the street markets for local produce to cook with. Learning to prepare some dishes yourself means you’ll be able to take a taste of your travels back home with you, and you’ll impress your friends and family with your new skills as well.
5. The Variation
If your one of those people who’s always chasing after the unknown, then travel is a great way to scratch that curiosity itch. Moving from place to place, you’ll experience so much variety. From the small things, like the different ways in which people greet one another, to the real culture shocks that you can’t quiet get use to, novelty and diversity will be an unavoidable part of your everyday life.
6. The Perspective
The vast array of people, places, customs and traditions that you’ll be exposed to while travelling will inevitably give you a new sense of perspective. You’ll understand both the world and yourself better, and you’ll appreciate things from back home that you previously took for granted. You’ll also be influenced and inspired by the different ways in which other people and cultures do things, and become more open to experimentation and change.
7. The Escape
You can’t run away from your problems, but travel can provide a temporary hiatus from the stresses and strains of everyday life back home. A change of scene can work wonders on your mental state, giving you the necessary distance, both physically and emotionally, to think more clearly about an issue that’s been bothering you. Removing yourself from an unhealthy or toxic situation or relationship can often be complicated and drawn out, but travel offers a quick and clean way of starting afresh: a reset button, if you will. And while you’re problems might still be waiting for you when you return home, by then you’ll have had the time and space to reflect, heal, and reassess what it is that you want and need in life.
8. The Pace
Do you ever feel as though you spend all of your time dashing from one commitment to another? Well, travel is the perfect way to counter the frantic pace of modern life. Our lives are so goal driven these days that we rarely stop to smell the roses. When you’re travelling you won’t have the responsibilities or structure of “normal” life. This can be daunting at first, but you’ll soon come to appreciate a more fluid pace and take each moment as it comes. Not knowing exactly what you’ll be doing or where you’ll be going in a few days will liberate your thoughts, giving you more time to focus on what’s important. All of those hours spent travelling from place to place will give you plenty of time to contemplate life while staring out of the window and listening to your favourite tunes. You’ll also finally be able to get stuck into that book you’ve been meaning to read forever.
9. The Growth
It might sound like a bit of a cliché, but travel will change you. Whether you learn a few words of a new language or have a life-altering epiphany, you won’t come home exactly as you were when you left. Of course, you’ll learn about the history, culture and traditions of the places you visit, but you’ll also become a more adaptable, open-minded, appreciative, and well-rounded person as a result of your journey.
10. The Photos
The photo opportunities that travel presents might seem a bit trivial on a list that includes such existential concerns as “perspective” and “growth”. But let’s face it, in today’s Insta-obsessed world, photos are life. Social media aside, what’s more existential than capturing a fleeting moment in a permanent, material form? Whether it’s the Taj Mahal or a street vendor selling roasted bugs on a stick, you’ll undoubtedly see some amazing sights during your trip. And while we all like to think our memories are bulletproof, the sad reality is that they’re more like sieves. So whether you’re into photography or not, take pictures of your travels. Looking back at them will instantly will put a smile on your face for years to come.