One of the most annoying things that I hear whenever I talk about traveling is the "Grabe, ang yaman mo naman!" or "Ang sosyal, travel na lang ng travel!"
Probably in the 80s or 90s, the only ones who were able to travel were the rich ones, but now with budget airlines and hotels, seat sales, Air BnB, and other tourist and wallet friendly deals, traveling has become a much more open aspect of one's life. (Wondering how to travel on a budget? I made a post!)
But this post isn't really about trying to give you tips on how you can afford to travel. Nor is it to romanticize the idea of traveling because some also have the tendency to do that. It's not about having great Instagram pics/videos to post or to have your peers envy you as you trot around the globe. Traveling is so much more than that. But really, you should travel at least once or more than once in your life, whether locally or internationally. Here are ten reasons why.
1. Traveling lets you experience things for the first time.
You remember that commercial a few years back that asks you the question, "When is the last time you experienced something for the first time?" Traveling lets you do that, whether it's your first time to do whitewater rafting in CDO or Davao or you experience snow for the first time in your life or you get to eat spiders or you get to walk a certain street for the first time. We need to have these kinds of experiences every once in a while so you won't get weary of your world. Speaking of...
2. Traveling expands your world
If you are already weary of the every day drudgery of your commute or your work or your routine, it's time to go out there and see beyond the four corners of your tiny world. I first stepped out of the Philippines when I was already 33 years old, but immediately, I felt like I was a young child being given the freedom to explore for the first time. When you go to a country that is so much different and yet similar to your own, it is both a depressing and an exhilarating thing. Seeing how other people live and experiencing their world even for a little while will do wonders for your empathy and understanding of the world in general. I haven't even been out of Asia, so I can just imagine how my world will be rocked even more when I go to Africa or Europe or North America.
3. Traveling helps you budget better.
Some people actually believe that traveling is a waste of money. I guess if it isn't your priority, then it will seem like that. But actually, it has helped me take care of my money better (well to the best of my ability, but that's another story for another time). I save up because I want to go somewhere. And then when i do go somewhere, I make sure that I spend just enough so as not to affect the rest of my paycheck when I come back. You look for budget-friendly places. You try to discipline yourself from shopping too much. And in the end, the experience you get from wherever you're going is actually priceless.
4. Traveling helps you be kinder
When I travel alone, somehow I always get to run into a person who's traveling for the first time. And normally, I am suspicious and somewhat aloof towards strangers, but being in a different place makes me act kinder towards them and extend help (but also carefully coz you never know). Traveling in a group also somewhat makes you nicer to each other since you don't want to spend the entire time arguing or getting annoyed with each other. And meeting locals is always an opportunity to be polite and nice, especially in cultures where those are pretty important things. Hopefully, you get to bring that kindness home with you.
5. Traveling helps you notice the details and "stop and smell the flowers" (sometimes literally)
Most city (especially Manila) dwellers are just too busy to notice certain things as they go through their every day routine. But when you go out of the city, whether locally or internationally, you marvel at green fields or how the tree patterns look scary and amazing at the same time or how the colorful doors in a street add to the place's character or how the locals seem to smile a lot more than usual. Noticing things like this brings things into perspective. And again, hopefully you get to bring with you that different point of view when you go home.
6. Traveling lets you meet new people
Whether it's your seat mate on the plane, a person you ask directions from, a fellow solo traveler, a group of other people who are also traveling, talking to people you normally would not encounter is one of the joys of going to different places. You have to be open to hearing other people's stories, and maybe even sharing your own.
7. Traveling helps you enjoy and learn lessons from the journey.
As cliche as it may sound, sometime the greatest lessons you learn from traveling is not the destination, but the journey to get there. The saving up, the planning, the give and take with your travel companions, the discomfort and the obstacles, the getting lost in an unfamiliar city, the countless stories you get to experience with your travel companions - these are some of the things I remember most when I travel, sometimes maybe even more than the actual places you visit.
8. Traveling helps you become a better writer/photographer/"journaler"/diarist.
Whether you're more of a wordsmith or a visual person, traveling helps you put down things into writing or photos or even sketches. You don't want to forget certain moments so you take a picture or write bullet points and then later on, organize them into some sort of order. Being in other places has helped me write more and even take better pictures. And if you're so inclined, you can even start your own travel blog or website.
9. Traveling gives you a (hopefully much-deserved) break
If I could, I would still not travel every weekend. Aside from the fact that it's painful for your wallet, the fact that you have something to look forward to if you just do it every once in a while, will give you some extra motivation to do well in your job so your boss will let you take a leave or you might even get a promotion and save up some extra cash that you can use for other things (like traveling!)
10. Traveling will make you look forward to coming home
And as much as I enjoy traveling, at the end of the trip, I look forward to going home to my own bed, my comfort zone, and the people I love most.