There are SO many different types of travel blogs out there these days: Solo travelers, solo female travelers, couples traveling, traveling on a budget, luxury travel and the list goes on. One type that particularly stands out for me, mostly because they’re the ones I like to read, and probably because I class myself as one of them, are blogs by 20-somethings.
You know which ones I mean. We finished university and, afraid for what was next, decided it was time to see the world. Some shun the corporate life, some are “lost” and go traveling to see what they can find. They are the people advocating seeing the world while you’re young.
For the most part, I completely agree. I am so happy with my decision to go traveling straight after university; I feel lucky that I was brave enough to do it before I was weighted down by career prospects, rental agreements, or worse, mortgages.
But I don’t think that just because you’re not young that you can’t travel. I think you should travel when you’re old, when you’re working, when you’re retired; I think you should travel at whatever age you are, in whatever capacity you can. Whether it’s a one week holiday, a year-long gap year or a lifetime country hopping, you should do whatever works for you. But whatever you do, I think you should travel.
It exposes you to different people that you wouldn’t normally meet in your day-to-day life.
How often to you make the commute to work without seeing someone that wasn’t there the day before, or the day before that? How often do you socialize with new people on the weekends? Luke and I are culprits of this whenever we settle down again. But when we do go somewhere new, I love the people we meet. They might be fascinating and funny or they might be total idiots, but both will open you up to different ways of life. They’ll teach you about how other people live and you’ll likely become more accepting of other cultures (hopefully).
You can try new foods.
It’s one of the main reasons Luke and I travel and was a major factor in our decision to move to Korea. Sure, most cities have every world cuisine at your fingertips now, but nothing beats the real deal, the street food, the surroundings in which they are served. I love being able to try new dishes every weekend as well as learning how to cook those dishes on my own.
Traveling teaches you more about a country and its people than your high school geography teacher ever could.
I learn more about Korea everyday – about their history, how Koreans interact with each other and their feelings about other countries (that’s a fascinating one!). By traveling to a country and getting to know it’s locals, you’ll be able to return home with empathy and compassion that will change the way you view the world – sometimes positively, other times not.
I know it’s not for everyone.
For some people, being out of their comfort zone isn’t their idea of a relaxing or fun vacation. Sometimes when I arrive in a new place I have fleeting thoughts of “what was I thinking?” or “I want to go home”. But they’re soon forgotten as I fill my belly with local eats and take in the sights and smells of wherever I am.
I am not advocating that you quit your job, sell all of your worldly possessions and follow me around the world. You don’t need to travel internationally for months on end to reap the benefits of travel. Sometimes, I think it’s more of a mindset than anything else; the desire to get out and explore your surroundings can happen in your own backyard.
I think you should travel while you’re young because you’re willing to rough it. You quickly get over a dirty hostel or eating the same thing for two weeks to save money. You have no responsibility and for the most part are free to wander without repercussion (except maybe societal pressures).
I don’t think that means you can’t travel when you do have obligations and responsibilities. In fact, I think it’s even more important to do so. Whatever age you are, whatever country you reside, the curse of routine creeps in and monotony can consume you. A bit of weekend travel, a few days in a new place, they refresh you; they invigorate you; they remind you that you’re alive. I also think you appreciate it more when you’re older. You are mature enough and perhaps even more grateful for the experience.
How do you travel?