My motives for international travel remain the same as they were decades ago. What has changed is me, for the better I hope.
The benefits of travelling are numerous and in this post I’ll outline the perfect excuses required to justify your trip.
BENEFITS OF TRAVELLING
GAIN KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS: The acquirement of language skills is the obvious benefit of international travel. Equally important are the array of interpersonal skills gained and enhanced when travelling in an international environment.
You develop an ability to overcome challenges that you wouldn’t normally encounter at home. Your planning skills – geographical, social and financial – become polished. You become more resourceful, developing a can-do attitude to many tasks. Necessity is the mother of all invention, after all.
ECONOMIC BENEFITS: There are no short-term economic benefits of travelling. In fact, travel is detrimental to one’s financial situation. However, the long-term benefits are numerous. Firstly, the skills gained from travel will widen your job prospects and give you a competitive edge, especially if the job has an international aspect.
Get ideas to incorporate into your business or ideas to start your own business. Anyone public representative or official interested in the study of cycling as a transport option should visit Copenhagen. Travel is great for networking. Get connections to do business, gain employment or study are further benefits.
On the other hand, your money is vital to the destination you travel to, creating jobs and adding to the consumer population of a country in terms of sales taxes. I’ve written extensively about this in my Why is Tourism Important post.
HEALTH BENEFITS: The journey isn’t always half the fun as the whole airport experience can leave one frazzled. Travel equals holidays. Holidays equal fun. Fun equals lower cortisol levels and increased serotonin levels. The former is known as the stress hormone and the latter as a feel-good hormone. That’s the scientific argument for travel.
A change is as good as a rest, and no better rest and recuperation method can one find than travel. I have a long term illness that benefits from warm weather. I feel utterly energised by swimming in warm salty water. It’s no surprise that many of my posts cover destinations along the Mediterranean Sea.
Hearing a different language and travelling to a landscape that doesn’t resemble home in any way can be great for getting away from the stresses of daily life. The barren and desert landscape in parts of Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory were a pleasurable novelty for me.
Overcoming challenges can be a confidence booster which in turns benefits mental health. Insurmountable challenges or discomforts can develop an appreciation of home. Sometimes what you witness abroad can put the problems of life in your own country into perspective.
Stuck in a rut? Sometimes what you witness and experience abroad can unstick you from the humdrum status quo, opening your mind and life to a number of possibilities. Travel is transformative. The fictional character of Shirley Valentine is a great example of falling in love with the idea of living through travel. The stroppy teenagers in the queue at Qalandia Checkpoint, on my trip from Jerusalem to Ramallah, inspired me to stand up to a workplace bully.
Travel allows time for reflection. Sometimes the very nature of being in a different environment naturally engenders self-discovery. Why am I here is an existential question one could ask oneself while travelling. The Why am I still here question means you’re delayed. But there’s an existential reason for the delay as well. Trust me.
MAKES LIFE MORE INTERESTING: Different experiences create memories. Try new foods. Pursue your passion and follow your hobby abroad. You like football? Then how about a trip to Madrid or Barcelona? If history is your thing then a trip to Berlin is unmissable. You like art, fashion, stunning architecture and great food? Then Italy and France calls your name.
FOSTERS CULTURAL SENSITIVITY:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accountsMark Twain
I believe Mark Twain’s quote summarises the core benefit of travel. Travel forces you to engage with difference, from people with differing backgrounds, ethnicities and perspectives, to places with different landscapes and climates.
Despite these differences, people have the same needs and aspirations no matter where you go. And in order to achieve those needs and wants, you will understand that their different environment means the process of achieving those needs and wants will differ from yours.
From this, you’ll see the world in a different light, one that embraces different means. This will become apparent from engaging with locals. Local chat is the best way to address any misconceptions about your own country and about your destination. Returning home and debunking those misconceptions is equally important. That is one of the goals of the Arrivals Hall travel blog.
Travel counteracts ethnocentricity which is the idea that your culture or ethnicity is superior to others. Every destination has its pros and cons whether those facets are in its past or present. By experiencing another culture first hand, you will appreciate the differences. US Travel Writer Rick Steves has a post on Americans travelling in Europe.
Being naturally curious and an innately good planner means the act of travel is a natural fit for me. But I also enjoy the cosmopolitan environment that I encounter on my travels.
So my advice to anyone is do what you love. If it’s travel, then travel. We’re here for a good time not a long time is a saying one of my acquaintances repeatedly announces. And it’s true. Cats have nine lives. Humans have one. So make the most of that one life.