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5 Ways Travel Makes You a Better Person

We all look forward to our vacations – that brief time we get to escape the daily grind and sip cocktails at 11 am and not feel guilty. We can sleep in, stay out late, and do whatever we want in between. Aside from the absence of responsibility and a free pass to booze all day, here are another five reasons to book your next trip

1. Become a More Grateful Person

Seeing the world is something most of us enjoy. Going to famous monuments, seeing beautiful landscapes, trying new foods, soaking up the sun and waking up in new places, are all part of the travel charm.

However, travel is not always as luxurious as it may seem, especially if you are on a budget. Sometimes you will have to travel on crowded buses, where you must keep a close eye (and hand) on your belongings, so they don’t get snatched. You will have to stay in accommodations where the mattress is no more than a cot and a small quilt to keep you warm. You may have to pay to use the bathroom, and even then it may be filthy. Your shower may be so tiny that you can hardly bend over to wash your feet!

All these things may sound pretty rough, but they too, are a part of the travel charm. Experiencing them gives us a stronger backbone and a smaller ego. It helps us sympathize with those who have less than we do, and we begin to realize how much we take for granted back home. Hot water, soft beds, bathtubs, free toilet paper– all things we didn’t think twice about, we now see as the luxuries they are.

It is a humbling experience, to have your comforts stripped away, and experience a different way of life. You gain a new sense of appreciation for what you have, and you become, not just more grateful, but more content with your life.

2. Boosts Confidence

While on vacation, we are quite happy– we are getting a break from our daily responsibilities and getting to enjoy our time as we please. And what better time to try something new and adventurous!?

Try local cuisine, hike up a mountain, take a surfing class, go parasailing or white water rafting, or simply go somewhere you haven’t been. Putting yourself out there, and trying things that make you nervous, is the best way to get out of your comfort zone and boost your self-confidence!

It might be a little nerve-wracking at first, but it’s also empowering. Once you tackle something that scares you, or you thought you couldn’t do, you will feel like you can conquer the world! You realize you are capable of whatever you set your mind to. You will become a happier, confident and more adventurous person.

So get out there and try something daring, I promise you, the sense of accomplishment and pride you will feel afterward is well worth it.

3. Reduces Stress

Taking a break from our everyday lives is a luxury most Americans don’t have. Unlike countries that encourage time off, and see its value, we Americans value our employees who will work weekends and answer emails at 11 pm.

Did you know that France recently implemented a law banning work emails after hours? How great is that?! America, take note! They recognize the impact of technology, and how being connected 24 hours a day is detrimental to our well-being. Whereas, we pride ourselves on our work ethic, even if it’s proven to be harmful to our health.

So until America catches on, and we all get two months paid vacation every year, do yourself a favor and book that trip anyways. It’s hard to argue that you’d be pretty relaxed sipping a margarita on the beach with your toes in the sand! Or taking that trip to Peru to hike the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu wouldn’t just make you burst with excitement.  Take a break from work, school, the kids, family, responsibility–your health will thank you.

Having this time away–whether solo, with your spouse or the whole family–reminds us the importance of new experiences, and how having balance in our lives makes us happier, healthier, and more enjoyable to be around!

4. Eliminates Cultural Prejudice

There is a quote, which although over a hundred-years-old, its words seem as if they were spoken for today. By one of America’s most influential authors, who happens to be from my home state of Missouri, Mr. Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, once said:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the Earth all one’s lifetime.”

This quote is perfect. It says so much in such few words, and couldn’t be more accurate, especially in today’s world. We all have preconceived notions, both good and bad, of what people of other nationalities are like. We get these ideas from books, tv shows, the media, other people’s viewpoints, or someone we know who is of a particular heritage, and we use this information to form our opinions. So how can we broaden our minds and have a more accurate, unbiased view of others?

By immersing ourselves in other cultures, we can begin to understand them and see first hand how similar we all are. We may not have the same color skin, or the same religious or political views, but you will see we are all human. We all go to work, we care about our friends and families, and we all desire to be accepted. We all get sick sometimes and go through ups and downs. Once you see this, you will be more accepting of, and sympathetic towards those you perceive to be different. You will have a more open mind when faced with diversity.

5. Makes Us More Aware of Our Environment

On a daily basis, we don’t think about the implications of humans on our planet. We don’t think about the earth’s core slowly heating up, or that our glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. It’s something we hear about from time to time, and maybe even get upset about it when it’s first presented to us, but for most of us, it’s not something that’s in the front of our minds on a regular basis.

Global warming, the heating of the Earth’s core, is thought to be primarily brought on by emissions released into the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels. We see the effects of climate change all over the world– glaciers retreating, sea levels rising, warmer temperatures, more frequent and extreme weather events, changes in animal migration patterns, and more.

Travel somewhere that is affected by climate change, and you will no longer be able to put it in the back of your mind. Get out there and explore our beautiful, fragile world. Be inspired by what you see and the people you meet, and educate yourself on how you can make a difference. Once you see how much of an impact we humans have on this Earth, you will undoubtedly strive to make yours a positive one.

About the Author: My name is Sarah Sanscrainte and I love exploring our planet and learning from its many wonders. You can follow my adventures and insights on my blog, Happy travels and Fins Up!