Travel gives us a lot of things that you simply can not buy from a store. These are some of life’s lessons one experiences unique to traveling:

It gives you the opportunity to be the minority

Traveling abroad means that you now are the minority. You will experience what it feels like to everyone that comes to the US that doesn’t speak English, doesn’t know anyone or where anything is at. They are forced to figure things out them selves. With modern conveniences like Google Translator it makes it a little easier to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language but you are still a stranger in a strange land.

You will appreciate the ones you left at home 

My father used to say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” That is never more true then when you are traveling for an extended period of time. Taking a break from your circle of friends and family makes you appreciate them that much more when you return. It will do one of two things, it will deepen your relationship with the ones you love or it will make you realize that they are really not someone you want to give your time to any longer. Either way you will be a better person because of it.

Travel will give you that much needed break from technology

I can tell you first hand there is no better feeling than the feeling of freedom from those things that constrain you. Whether it be a job, toxic fiends or family or in this case technology. In some way we are all slaves so some kind of technology. Usually it’s cell phones, but it could be your car, computer or TV also. Having the ability to remove yourself from these things even if it is only for a short time is very soothing, quiets your mind and feels like a breath of fresh air.

Travel gives you an increase of self confidence 

Before I met my wife she traveled with her boyfriend to Mexico for a couple of weeks. Things didn’t go well and they got into a big fight and she decided he wasn’t going to ruin her vacation so she went off by herself in a foreign country. While riding on a bus, it was pulled over and everyone was forces off the bus by a few armed police officers (Maybe not police??) and asked for their papers. she handed over her drivers licence and told them she was traveling by herself. After a few tense minutes they let her and most of the others go. Forces to walk the rest of the way, she walked along a dirt road and stopped at a house to ask for directions. The people were very friendly and told her it wasn’t safe to walk by herself, they fed her and took her where she needed to go to catch her flight back. Surviving something like that certainly helped boost her self-confidence.

Travel frees you of your restraints

How many people feel like they are stuck all the time. Stuck in a job they hate, stuck in a relationship they are not happy with, stuck living in the same place or stuck living the same life they have been living?  Traveling free’s you of a lot of those feelings. It reminds you that you are not stuck and you can get up and leave anytime you want to.

You feel a sense of gratefulness for some of life’s most basic necessities 

Living in America we all take a lot for granted. We get up from a comfortable bed and walk a short distance to the bathroom, flip on the lights, go to the bathroom then turn on the water to take a shower, get dressed, check our phones grab lunch from the fridge and hop in our car to go to work. Many third-world countries don’t have any of these conveniences we take for granted every day. Being able to experience life on the other side of the tracks is an eye-opening experience that everyone needs to feel at least once in there life.

Travel will heighten your senses 

Being in a foreign country you are forced to be more aware, more alert. You will be more aware of the people around you. You might be thinking things like, “Is that guy following us?” or “Why are these people all going that way when we are going this way? Maybe we should go that way too.” You begin to pick up on new food smells or notice the smell of native flowers or plants. Maybe it’s you gut instinct telling you that something just ins’t right. While you are in your own environment many of these things we miss because we are so wrapped up in our own day-to-day happenings.

Travel lets you meet new friends

Meeting people from different places and different cultures teaches us a lot about ourselves. You can never have too many friends and if you plan on returning to that place….at least you have someone you can count on.

Travel teaches you tolerance

Living outside our normal culture and way of life teaches us that it’s OK to be different and not to judge people based on stereotypes. Maybe we don’t agree with everyone’s culture or lifestyle choices but at least we will be more tolerant to others the more we are exposed to them. It’s a great learning lesson for children as well. Beauty comes in all ethnicities, colors, sizes and shapes. Who knows maybe you will meet your future partner.

Travel exposes yourself and those you travel with

When you are faced with a difficult situation you will quickly learn what kind of people you are traveling with. Will they ave your back or will they fold in the face of adversity? If you ever questioned what kind of person you are or the people you are traveling with, wait until you are forced to deal with a tough decision.

Travel forces you to live in the moment

If you have ever taken a vacation and felt rushed or tried to cram too many things in one trip you know the feeling. You feel like you can’t enjoy yourself in the moment because you are trying to figure out what you are going to be doing next. I recently took a trip to Washington DC and I found myself trying to rush my family from one exhibit to the next, not really taking much time to see anything for very long.  We vowed to never again try to cram so much in such a short trip. We had a good time but I can’t help to think how much better it would of been if we just chose a few things to see and taken our time. Lesson learned.

Travel teaches us to try new things

Exploring new countries forces us to try new things like a local food unfamiliar to you or catching a bus just to see where it goes. Traveling can be very exciting if you let the adventure come to you.

We are not that different from each other

It doesn’t matter what race, color, creed, religion or sex we are. We are all trying our best to make it in this world. We all want happiness, prosperity, to be loved and have pride in our accomplishments. We’re not that different from each other. When you travel you begin to see that other people are far similar to ourselves than we thought.

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