Lifted from the oft-quoted saying: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” Unlike tangible and financial investments with its risk component, travel, although not without exposure, reaps rewards whether on the positive or flip side. While some prefer to work, save, then travel later; an enlightened bunch mostly adhere to the work, save, and travel now mentality. As a good friend put it, that is investing in experience.
Indeed. Diplomas are earned after at least 16 years in a conventional educational system. An illustrious career is obtained inside the four corners of the typical workspace. What about travel makes you richer? Lifelong lessons are fulfilled within and beyond a geographic comfort zone.
You gain experience. It may be breathtaking and inspiring, calming and emotional, or traumatic and ineradicable. You gain experience in either the tourist traps or off the beaten path spots; local markets or expansive shopping malls; roadside eateries or TripAdvisor-rated restaurants; airports, bus terminals or seaports. Be it any or all of those at the same time, you build an arsenal of experiences otherwise not possible when constrained to just going to work, and going home.
You gain understanding. It may be of the local way of life, their political views, the religious upbringing, an ethical stand, or their cultural insights. You gain understanding upon exposure to customs and traditional rituals; places of worship and spiritual leaders; media personalities and local celebrities; or the simple word on the street. Be it any or all of these, you become enlightened with the level of understanding you gained ground on otherwise only achievable in concept by reading.
You gain appreciation. It may be for the paved roads, potable water, uninterrupted power, a messy bed, or a fantastic skyline. You gain appreciation when you are plucked from the comforts of your home and planted in unfamiliar territory: a camp in the wilderness, a bare lodge, a quiet town, a seaside village, or a war-torn nation. Being in any or all of these at one point in your travels makes you more gracious and easy to please.
You gain memories. It may be a fresh start or a reinforcement, joyful or victorious moments, a world record, or those that are elusive or faint, and even etched or poignant. You gain memories with family, old friends or a reacquainted buddy. You build a plethora of memories to last another lifetime. Being in a place outside what you call your own, you will find something or someone worth remembering.
You gain personality. Now go, find yourself.