They say you don’t really know someone until you travel with them; maybe the same is true about learning to know yourself.
Travel is among the best education a person can have. Not only do we get an escape from our everyday lives, but we give ourselves the opportunity to see how other people live theirs.
Different perspectives, new ways of life and learning to understand how people are different and the same can all help to wire our brains in more positive and dynamic ways than we thought possible.
When we are young, our brains are more malleable and easily influenced by anything new or different. Why not take advantage of this open-mindedness while you can? Travel when you’re young, and train your brain to see the world and your place in it; it may never be as open as it is today.
Energy: We have lots of it!
Young people often have so much energy that they bounce from one thing to the next, and often get themselves into trouble for lack of a productive outlet.
This is as true in little kids as it is in teenagers and even young adults. As time goes on, we start to slow down, and eventually find ourselves tired.
Shouldn’t we take advantage of our energy while we can? We should use it to discover and plunge into the unknown. It’s the young who discover new worlds, and who take chances on different ideas and unique points of view.
We have the energy to travel and see things—to talk and understand how the rest of the world works. If we don’t take advantage of this energy, and we travel later in life, though we still benefit from it, it just isn’t the same as when we have youthful energy on our side.
We don’t mind traveling cheap
Youth travelers are known for roughing it and calling it ‘life experience.’ Jack Kerouak wandered around America by jumping trains and hitch hiking, while Gary Snyder walked through India with nothing but a small pack on his back.
Youth have always had the drive to see and do what they want, as cheaply as possible, because we don’t have any money. There are those who would tell you to wait, to save your pennies and see the world another day, but there is something about a bit of struggle—a wildness in letting the gypsy in you out.
Take a chance and travel; stay in cheap hostels; take inexpensive red-eye flights; purchase the cheaper, slow train instead of the pricey, fast one; eat local food and support the local economy.
Always have a plan, of course—a back up and an escape route—but go the cheap road every now and then because you never know what could come of it.
Make social connections
The people we meet when we are young become some of the most important relationships in our lives. While traveling, you will meet like-minded individuals who share your passion and youthful exuberance.
You’ll travel places together, and share stories and warnings; you will party together, and protect each other; you’ll share advice and dreams, and when it’s all over, you’ll forever have the memories you created in those faraway lands.
You may or may not keep in touch when your travels are over, but you’ll always share the times that brought you together.
It’s true what they say, “Some people come into our lives and quickly go; some stay for a while and leave footprints in our hearts; some go and return down the road, but regardless, we are never ever the same.”
You may surprise yourself with who you stay in contact with. You could have friends to visit on vacations, or even professional relationships that might take your career to the next level.
Whether its friends or colleagues, making social connections with individuals all over the world is what we need in today’s global climate, and that spark is something worth celebrating.
They say you don’t really know someone until you travel with them. The stress and lack of control often shows who people are and what they can handle.
It’s a good idea to travel with a partner before you commit to them to see if you are compatible when things go wrong. If we are doing this to discover the breaking point and behaviors in others, why don’t we do the same to find it in ourselves?
When life is easy and going our way, we can be the most relaxed individuals in the world, and all too often, we create a life for ourselves that gives us enough stability so we’ll never be knocked off our pedestal—until something massive occurs and find we really don’t know how to handle it.
Why not figure out what you are capable of, and learn how to deal with sticky situations while you’re young? That way, when real life happens, you’ve already learned the skills to deal with it.
While traveling, maybe the train is late or cancelled and you have to figure out how to get to where you need to go, or change plans entirely; perhaps your wallet gets stolen, and you have no cash left for the country you are in and have to wait until you get to the next place on your list; or, your bag breaks, and you can’t afford to get a new one so you must figure out how to MacGyver it in the meantime.
All sorts of things can go wrong while traveling, and you have to have a plan, the ability to problem solve, and a cool head in order to get through it on your own.
Figuring all this out while you are young will help you to discover who you are and what you can handle; it will set you up for a life with inevitable uncertainties, except that when they arrive, you’ll have the skills to deal with them.
We should travel in our youth because situations that are entirely out of our control will arise as life progresses, and I, for one, would like to have gone through the simulator before the real game begins.
What are some other benefits of traveling young? Let us know what you think!