There’s nothing like the moment your plane touches down in your destination country. It’s the moment reality hits you: You’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re overseas, and adventure awaits. Many people overlook the personal and professional benefits travel can bring. By the time I was 18, I had been around the world at least 10 times and visited more than 20 countries. Travel opened my eyes to new communities, cultures, and experiences that changed my life.
Exploring the world can enrich your perceptions and open the door to future opportunities.
The Life-Enriching Benefits of Travel
It’s tempting to view travel merely as an opportunity to party with friends or check tourist sights off your bucket list. But by considering the value of these opportunities, you’ll appreciate the experiences more.
Whether you’re studying abroad, spring breaking with friends, or going on a European backpacking adventure, travel can help you:
- Mature. Traveling abroad quickly transforms you into an adult. I’ve witnessed friends take an extended break for trips around the world on a shoestring budget. They came back completely changed. Leaving the comforts of home to explore unknown areas teaches you independence.
- Gain perspective. Before I visited Thailand, I pictured a third-world country that was dirty, disorganized, and unsafe. I was completely wrong. Parts of Thailand are still developing and missing many regulations we have. For example, no one follows the rules of the road. People ride openly between vehicles. They park wherever they can find a spot amidst the chaos. But it works — in many ways, more efficiently than Western roadways.
- Define your story. From buses breaking down to flight delays, you create your own story of adventure. When I speak with peers, the ones who’ve traveled have the most interesting stories to tell and engage their audience immediately.
- Eliminate regrets. How often do you hear older people say they wish they’d seen more of the world before it was too late? Traveling gives you a sense of accomplishment, an understanding of different cultures, and an appreciation of the comforts of home.
Extend Your Experiences
When You Return Whether you take vacation time from work, a gap year, or a volunteer holiday, travel can offer amazing experiences essential to your personal and professional development. But you shouldn’t let discovery and growth stop when you return. Make sure you continue to learn by forming personal and professional connections.
- Leverage LinkedIn. Travel boosts employability. Young people can especially benefit from experiences that set them apart from their peers. Successful travel relies on maturity, independence, and problem solving, which every employer is looking for.
- Gain knowledge of other customs. When you only know one country, life abroad is limited to your perceptions. It’s difficult to understand how different other cultures are without firsthand experience. Use these experiences to make deeper connections with people from different cultures. Your knowledge about German history could be the reason you land a new client.
The excitement and influence of travel goes beyond the journey itself. Leaving your home strengthens your independence and resolve, helps you build your professional network and communication skills, and gives you unforgettable experiences that last a lifetime.