31 July 2014

Why travel is good for the soul

In my almost 29 years on God's green earth, I have done some pretty amazing things.  From the Kangaroo petting zoo in Sydney and climbing a mountain in Ireland to sleeping on Copacabana beach with almost 4 million people, some of my greatest memories and adventures come from traveling.

I have been to 3 continents and 7 different countries.  Every trip I have went on, has in some way enhanced my life.  A love of travel and adventure has taught me to be more spontaneous and easy going, how to properly pack a suitcase, and opened up my eyes to the world beyond the city I live in.

Oh sure its expensive and has taken me a lot of practice to not over pack, but I believe that travel is good for the soul in lots of different ways...here's why.

1.  Travel can help you appreciate the little things in life
My adventures abroad have taught me (in some crazy, unique ways) to appreciate the little things in life; the things at home we normally take for granted, like a clean toilet or shower.  When I went to Australia we stayed in a school and slept in the classrooms.  Sure there were bathrooms, but no showers.  Thankfully our gracious hosts concocted a lovely shower system (aka a wooden shack) for us to bath in.  A wooden shack.with a hose that only sprayed ice cold water.in the middle of an Australian winter.  I don't which wins the prize-the winter shower system or having to use an overflowing porta potty for emergency urination in Rio de Janeiro.  Its all about perspective...and those situations have made me so more grateful for my lovely toilet and shower at home.

2.  Travel opens your eyes to the world
Traveling outside the good US of A has broadened my horizons.  It is so easy to think "my world" consists of just me and my life.  There is so much more out in the world beyond our own city!  Its one thing to see and hear about places on world news, but a completely different experience to have been there yourself.  International travel has reminded me that there is so much more than just me/my problems/issues....there's millions of others who live on this Earth that have so much less than I.  Traveling has opened my eyes to different issues that impact the lives of those in that particular region/country.  I have never experienced a ruthless dictator government, communism, or being persecuted because I am a Christian; but now I have met people who have experienced all three.

3.  Travel is an education...in culture, people, and even yourself!
I had an English teacher in high school once tell me "The world is your classroom, so go and learn all you can!"  Traveling is like a hands-on learning experience.  I have learned more about different cultures and meeting all kinds of people way more than any text book could teach me.  And international travel has even taught me a few things about myself: like what exactly do I "need" to get by for a few weeks in Europe or realizing even though I lost my travel size of Frebreze I will somehow survive...I'm a tougher cookie than I thought and can handle the unexpected better than I give myself credit for.

4.  Traveling is fun...its good to have fun!
May sound a little to simplistic, but I like having fun (well duh.).  Some of the greatest memories are from the fun, crazy, and sometimes stupid things that happen while traveling.  When my friends and I first arrived in Ireland we had to pick up our rental car; a red mini bus named Big Red.  Well lets just say when we merged on the freeway the driver suddenly freaked out and completely forgot how to drive a stick shift.  Okayyy maybe not the most fun thing I have ever done; terrifying-beyond-belief?  That seems to fit better.
But you know what is fun?! Feeding Irish sheep scones and cheese or holding a real life Koala bear  or putting a pair of Aviator shades on Kangaroo's. Ohh and signing karaoke at an Irish pub=wayy fun.

St. Augustine really was right when he said the world is like a book; each page is unique and different from all the rest.  People who don't travel only read one page of that book, so they see only one perspective and worldview.

I know its expensive to jet off around the world, but once you start its hard to stop.  I am grateful for all the awesome opportunities I have had and really believe each adventure abroad has made me a better person and really enriched my life.


  1. Wow, you have had the opportunity to travel to so many neat places! I love the St. Augustine quote - it is so true and such incentive to travel as much as we can!

  2. I actually don't consider myself that much of a travel-lover...though I think I might be growing to appreciate it (besides the airport factor--I am growing to detest those more and more). For me, I think I enjoy living in other countries much more than I enjoy traveling in them--of course that limits the number of countries you experience but I appreciate how it gives me an opportunity to really plug into a place.

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