For most people, there comes a point in life when the opportunity to travel abroad presents itself. You might be one of those that jumps at the chance with no second thoughts or you might be thinking that it will hold you back in terms of your career path or dreams of owning your own home. While it’s no secret that the dream of traveling abroad takes money (and time away from study and work), the long-term rewards in both your professional and personal life are more than worth it.
In a world where cultures and places are often distorted by the media, there’s never been a more important time to travel abroad to encourage greater tolerance and perspective. So shake off the negative politics to see the world for yourself and discover just some of the benefits.
1. Travel Abroad to Gain Perspective on Your Own Life
Whether you’re stuck in a career you’re not happy in or struggling to decide what you want to do with your life, travel abroad is a great way to take a step back and gain some perspective. It can be difficult to think clearly with the pressures of everyday life, but with the open road ahead of you and new people to meet, things sometimes just make perfect sense.
You might discover that wealth is not the key to happiness or that you find satisfaction in doing something you’ve never tried before. You might also find that the problems you are experiencing back home are nothing compared to what others endure on a daily basis, helping you establish what’s really important.
While traveling can open up hundreds of doors for you, it can also help you to whittle down what it is that makes you truly happy and fulfilled as a human being.
2. Be Inspired
Step outside your country and the familiarities of everyday life and suddenly there’s something to inspire you around every corner. It might be through people you meet and their ideas about the world or it may be a particular destination that gets you thinking differently.
Perhaps your creative interests are inspired by local artistic traditions or your humanitarian spirit is ignited by the volunteer work being done by others. As long as you travel abroad with an open mind and heart, you just never know what is going to leave a lasting impression on you.
3. Rest and Refresh
Whether it be due to personal relationships, study pressures or your career, sometimes life can become stressful and it may seem like the cloud will never lift. Travel abroad is a great way to get that release by transporting yourself away from whatever it is that is burdening you or leading to anxiety.
It’s a great opportunity to take a break from your cell phone and social media to be completely in the moment and the transformative benefits of travel. It might be lying on an idyllic beach, hiking to the top of a mountain or living within a different cultural community, with every traveler finding peace and rejuvenation their own way.
4. Break Down Stereotypes
In a world where the media bombards us with bad news stories about different regions of the world, travel is one of the best ways you can break down stereotypes and discover the truth for yourself. Perhaps you want to see that there’s more to Africa than poverty and famine or are willing to take on the dangerous wildlife of Australia to experience its spectacular landscapes and laid-back culture. Or maybe you want to see if there’s more to the United States than the gun violence reported in the media.
In most instances, you’ll discover that the headlines on international newspapers offer only one perspective of a destination when there’s so much more to it.
5. Discover New Cultures
One of the most eye-opening aspects of traveling abroad is experiencing new cultures and ways of life, particularly within communities that you have built up a particular idea about in your own mind. It’s a powerful means of discovering that “terrorism” is not reflective of the rich cultures and warm hospitality of the Islamic world or that behind the hard-working pressures of life in East Asia are long-established religious and cultural traditions.
Meeting with people, sharing a meal and talking is the best way to break down barriers and see things from their perspective. You’ll return home a more tolerant and informed individual and be able to provide greater support to those experiencing discrimination in your own country.
6. Learn a New Language
There is no better way to hone your language skills than being completely immersed in it. Perhaps you don’t need anything other than English to get by in your own country, but there are still many rewards of learning and becoming fluent in another language.
When you travel abroad to a non-English speaking country, you’ll be pushed to practice your language skills on a daily basis, rather than once a week during a short language class. Not only will this offer a deeper insight into the local culture and enhanced connections, but it may be useful in your professional career as the world continues to globalize.
7. Build Confidence
Stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of the most challenging parts of traveling abroad, particularly if you are heading off alone. But it’s also one of the most rewarding aspects as it helps to build your confidence and independence.
You’ll probably do things you never thought you would do and overcome hurdles you thought impossible. This new found confidence will help you build stronger personal relationships and career prospects when you return home, with the ability to take on whatever life throws at you.
8. Create Meaningful Relationships
From like-minded travelers to friendly locals and expats with wild stories, travel opens up the world for some meaningful connections and life-long friendships. You might come across people who have turned travel into a lifestyle and are constantly on the road, as well as those who have left their native homeland to make a life somewhere else for personal or humanitarian purposes.
Travel abroad is a refreshing way to increase your network, particularly if you’ve grown up with the same group of friends since childhood. These new connections will undoubtedly inspire you when it comes to seeing what is possible in life and the rewards of taking the road less traveled.