I’m a firm believer that spending money on travel makes you richer in all sorts of ways.
We’ve all met people who say, “I wish I could go travelling, but I don’t have enough money,” and we all get bored of hearing it too!
So, in honour of those folk, I’ve prepared some handy reasons why I think spending money on travel can be seen as an investment, not just a luxury.
Now next time you hear somebody complaining they don’t have enough cash to go away, just mention some of the things you can gain from travelling and give them some food for thought!
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#1 It Maps You a Global Friend Network
Travelling not only allows you to meet people who live in the country you are visiting, but more often then not, will also throw you into situations, if not dorm rooms, with lots of people from other countries who are also nomading about the place.
Take the opportunity to engage with a spectrum of people from all manner of different countries and you’ll be amazed how quickly you make some really close friendships, that will last way beyond your trip.
With the added help of facebook, I’ve managed to catch up and even stay with, a large number of people I’ve met on my various travels and believe me, there’s nothing quite like a friendly, familiar face picking you up at the airport or showing you around the city when you’re new into a country.
Travelling is certainly the best social currency I’ve ever encountered and that’s why spending money on travel can only make your social life richer.
#2 It Allows You to Discover More About Yourself
It sounds like a cliché, and to be honest it is, but there’s more than a kernel of truth in this well-used adage.
Spending money on travel isn’t about “finding” yourself per se, in fact it’s possibly more about losing yourself.
This is because being away from all familiar surroundings and people, makes it easier to drop patterns of behaviour or ways of thinking that are tied to familiarity rather than who we are as individuals.
When you spend money on travel, especially solo voyages, it’s amazing to see what you actually choose to do with your cash or who you choose to do it with.
More often than not, I’ve really surprised myself by what I have enjoyed doing while travelling (especially in the case of WWOOFing!) and found that having fewer social expectations from people who know my background and usual routine, has allowed me to try new things with greater courage, growing my stock of self-awareness in the process.
#3 It Helps You Become Less Afraid of the Unknown
Striking out, possibly alone, into the big wide world cannot fail to increase your wealth of personal tenacity.
Travelling forces you to enter the realm of the unknown, be it a language, a location, a currency or a culture.
Everyday it requires you to navigate the unusual and unfamiliar, which can then give us the bravery to push beyond the boundaries of what is comfortable and conventional in other our parts of our existence.
Facing the unknown can make us feel more alive and make our world more colourful.
If this isn’t a good reason for spending money on travel, then I don’t know what is!
#4 It Teaches You How To Take Risks Successfully
Travelling not only teaches us to push boundaries both internally and externally, but it also helps us to learn safer ways in which to do this, in essence it grows our capacity to manage risk skilfully.
So often I have found travel urges me to rely on my natural intuition, particularly when I have to make split-second decisions like whether I should hitchhike with a certain driver or not.
Without recognisable clues or signals, travelling cultivates our innate survival instinct.
I feel this is useful skill sadly being bred out of a western culture of luxury and comfort where we are lucky enough to have fear as a distant and rare feeling.
We must remember, however, that life, and our existence in it, is not safe.
Spending money on travel can provide a refreshing reminder of this reality, financing our ability to deal with the unsettling circumstances that do inevitably occur in everyday life.
#5 It Gives You Perspective On How Others Live
Realising how much fear and risk many of us are immune from in our western privileged lives, is just one way in which spending money on travel demonstrates to us how lucky we are.
This a message drummed into us from school, but experiencing it and realising it firsthand, can bring a whole new perspective and level of gratitude.
I remember working alongside Nicaraguan women in Corn Island and discussing with them the topic of domestic violence.
Ostensibly aware of the independence and opportunities I am lucky enough to have as an educated British woman, it was not until I really talked with these women about the choices they have in life, that I realised how blessed I truly am.
Wow, what gratitude!
Seeing how other cultures operate also breeds greater tolerance and understanding, helping to contextualise our own existence and see beyond the horizons of what we consider to be “normal” to a world in which this becomes a more transient and diverse concept.
#6 It Builds You a Catalogue of Stories
Who doesn’t want to grow old and recount stories of the fantastic life they’ve had?
And who doesn’t want these stories to be the sort that might humour people, amaze people, intrigue people, inspire people?
Who doesn’t want stories that make their friends jealous and their family think they’ve had an awesome adventure-filled life?
Hell, who doesn’t want to recount a story of something a bit daring and different in a job interview even?
Spending money on travel gives us all these opportunities.
In a way it’s like making a deposit in a savings account, a story-savings account, the rewards of which can be lived off for years to come.
I sure know it’s an investment I’m going to make!
So those are reasons why spending money on travel makes you richer.
What are yours?