My first couple of trips out of my home country were generically vacation-ish and were to pretty homogenous destinations.
I wish I had known then what I know now.
Those things are all well and good, and most probably all quite true, but for me the 3 main reasons for traveling far from home have been pretty damn selfish. Don’t judge me.
1. People Will Find You Far More Interesting (And They'll Be Right)!
When you hit the travel road hard, it will hit you back, but almost always results in a repertoire of funny stories that makes you seem far more interesting than say, Tiffany, the candy crush addict from Accounting.
2. You Exponentially Increase Your Ability To Travel More!
With her place at my disposal, I had a wonderful home base to spend 4 weeks the following year checking out Australia with a super fun local with a huge heart and a warped mind. She even took me from her shared house in Sydney to her parents’ farm out in the countryside and I got to play city slicker on their rustic sheep and cattle ranch for a weekend. Herding cattle by horseback one day we startled a few kangaroo, who raced out into the open from the scrub, creating a completely amazing visual tableaux that left an unforgettable impression on a city chick like me.
Now, to be fair, you need to be in a position to make a reciprocal hosting offer, even if you fervently hope they never take you up on it. :-)
3. You Learn You Can Easily Be Happier With Less!
For some illogical reason though, I thought these things were important to have. Many of which I never used.
How many people do you know that have rooms full of furniture and stuff in their house that they rarely if ever step one foot inside. Why do we have this useless consumer culture of wanting to get more and better stuff as if we’re medaling in an Olympic sport? I think mainstream media and ubiquitous advertising plays a huge role, and canceling cable TV is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Finding and collecting all these things, organizing and storing them, in order to never use most of them feels like a pretty embarrassing waste of time to me now. I’m not sure though that I would have gotten to this point if I hadn’t been forced to a) haul my worldly goods around with me for great stretches of time, and b) stay in a great many places that were completely adequate (at least most of the time), but were also by no means fancy or luxurious. Knowing that the great experiences I had and the wonderful people I met had absolutely nothing to do with my possessions brought about a kind of freedom and an ease of letting go that I didn’t know I needed.
And now I have way more money for even more fun experiences and adventures. More than a fair trade in my books.
What’s the biggest “selfish” benefit that you get from foreign travel?