Originally Published 12/31/2015
No, it’s not a pyramid scheme or a new batch of snake oil you can sell to unsuspecting customers. I don’t have the answers to give you a bulging bank account. I do, however, have ideas about how you can enrich your life without spending a lot of money. The answer, my friends, is travel. An unknown author once said, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
The first thing that comes to mind for many people when they hear the word travel is an exotic adventure in a far-off land. While these trips certainly fall into the travel category, there are a multitude of other ways to explore this world without leaving your country. You can travel to your neighboring county, state, province, or territory. Most cities have a tourism website you can visit to get tips on what to see, do, and eat when you visit, so it’s a great place to start if you’re going somewhere unfamiliar. You can even do the same thing in your home city to find new events to attend and new ways to meet interesting people. Many museums, festivals, and other events are offered free of charge, so the only cost to you is the transportation to get you there.
Learning about new places and meeting people from different backgrounds is a great way to challenge your assumptions about the world. It is natural for us to fear the unknown, but the more you are willing to practice stepping out of your comfort zone, the easier it becomes over time. It’s like a muscle that will get stronger, but you have to exercise it. As I have traveled, I have grown to appreciate, rather than fear, the differences in other people. If everyone looked and thought like me, the world would be a pretty boring place. I love having the opportunity to see things that other people have created, or learn about their experiences and perspectives. For me, the most valuable thing I’ve gained from travel are the lessons I have learned about myself. Through travel, I have learned that how I view others is more a reflection of myself than of them. I have gained confidence in my ability to navigate the world and adapt to new situations. There is not a single trip I have taken across my state or across the world that I regret. Of course this doesn’t mean every trip goes off without a hitch or according to plan, but through small trials and tribulations I have gained knowledge and experience, and I feel more sure I can handle whatever life throws my way.
Where will your next adventure take you? Will you try a new restaurant, explore a new hiking trail, or strike up a conversation with someone new? I’d love to hear about insights or treasures you’ve gained by traveling. I’ll leave you with another quote from an unknown author: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”