“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” — St. Augustine.
As someone who has felt passionate about adventure and travel since I can remember, I found myself ruminating on this propensity further.
Why is traveling so great? (Because many would argue that it isn’t. Too costly, stressful to plan and execute, seeing a new town isn’t particularly thrilling to some, “most cities look relatively the same,” etc.).
Thus, I asked myself in consideration of these potential pushbacks, why might travel, adventure, and discovery be an important, even crucial aspect of human life?
After pondering this during a scenic, hilly, tiny town laden train ride from Austria to Germany, I decided that I believe traveling is worthwhile, and always something to be excited about for the following reasons.
1. The anticipation
Traveling is a venture that’s filled with anticipation. From the moment you decide on taking a trip in the first place, this including the internet searches, fielding of friend recommendations and leafing through books on considering both where your destination might be and what you may do there.
Then, the thrill of booking said trip and being able to say that “Yes! Now it’s actually happening. And on such-and-such date!” Followed by the exciting, anticipation laden research and making of plans regarding what constitutes your must-sees, must-eats, and must-dos while there.
The process following your trip booking then of counting down the months, weeks, and finally days to your actual date of departure, and even the adrenaline-inducing taking off of the plane from the runway and lifting into the air, or the train pulling away from the station and moving you towards your destination.
All of this anticipation = GREAT fun!
2. Seeing and experiencing a new place (city, town, countryside, island, you name it)
I know some people feel differently and do not think this is anything to write home about. I disagree. I think each new place is novel, awe-inspiring, and absolutely something to write home about (as well as tell stories and take photographs of).
There are landmarks that you haven’t seen before which offer beauty, possible inspiration, emotion, and surprise. Different people to scope out, whether just enjoying the intrigue and silliness of people-watching at a distance or drawing a bit closer and actually meeting some.
Novel and diverse cultures and ways of life can be witnessed and experienced by visiting unique places. Different destinations offer valuable and varied visual and other sensory experiences. From riding a gondola down the watery back alleyways in Venice to gazing awe-struck at the larger than life pyramids in Egypt.
Going scuba diving among the tropical fish in Hawaii, hiking through the still untouched-by-time brightly colored villages of the Cinque Terre, or watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle and glitter at the top of the hour.
Embarking on a riverboat cruise down the Amazon River and peering into the jungle alongside to see toucans and other tropical creatures nestled in the trees. Hiking the breathtaking peaks up into the clouds and walking amongst the long abandoned ruins of Machu Picchu.
All of these destinations and experiences offer unique landscapes, emotions felt, and as a result, memories and stories to the landscape of your life.
3. Outstanding experiences
The magical dinner with a stunning view and mouth-watering food which came out just right, the conversation flowed just so and hence, it became a cherished memory. The night out which was a superb combination of just the right amount of drinks (not to excess), silliness, connecting with the people in whose company you are reveling, and loads of laughter resulting.
Or, the adventure of hiking along craggy cliffs with astounding views of the startlingly blue Ligurian Sea alongside and below you. The heart-in-your-throat sensation of skiing impossibly steep hills with the most jaw-dropping of scenery alongside. I could continue to go on.
These are the moments that make up why we travel. Those stomach flipping, awe-inspiring travel experiences that really take your breath away. Traveling is living to the max for a specific, isolated period of time. This resulting in some of the memories we will treasure most.
They are fun to pose for and snap, wonderful memory-joggers to look back on later, great tools to use in trying to lend those a taste of the experience you had when recounting to them your travel stories.
A tangible, touchable form of the memories and experiences you had, making it possible to partially share them with others. As well as, to revisit and revel in those incredible moments again yourself.
5. Entertaining stories
Travel arms you with fantastic and interesting life stories to share with others, as well as to treasure within your heart, filling up the memory box that stores all the poignant experiences of your life. These stories adding richness, layers, background, and wonder to your own life story.
6. Meeting different people while traveling
Not always a given, though when it does happen, this can add depth, joy, and unexpected layers to your travel experience. Especially if they are locals and can help give you a less touristy and more authentic experience of the place you are visiting.
7. The sense of bringing you emotionally closer to whomever you are traveling with
A significant bonding of sorts tends to occur when adventuring with someone. Because of navigating through the experience together (which will most certainly involve many varying layers, moments, and emotions) and then, the shared memories you both have following.
Much learning is entailed with every venture on which we embark, in all sorts of varying forms. Traveling teaches us: open-mindedness, learning to fend for oneself when problems or challenges arise, resourcefulness, learning flexibility, adaptability and to go with the flow. Discovery (of oneself and of the world), seeing the world with new eyes, bravery, and finally, self-confidence.
Originally published at http://thoughtcatalog.com on April 24, 2015.