Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of spending far too long Insta-stalking *that* blogger’s dreamy travel pics, green with envy but hooked nonetheless. Well it’s time to put on your big girl pants (however granny they might be) and get some travel plans into action. It’s a cliché but its true, travelling will change your life. So pack your bags, grab your bestie and go!
1. It’s easier than you think
Millennials, we don’t realise how lucky we are. ‘Back in the day’ packing your bags to go on a six month adventure around the world would have been madness. But ignore your Gran ‘cos it’s just not true. Thank you, internet. There are thousands of websites at your fingertips that offer loads of advice to make travelling stress-free, not to mention amazing deals on flights and hostels. Travelling is so achievable; save the money, do the research and live out your adventure.
2. Friends become family
Right, so you’ve said goodbye to your sobbing mum, promised your dad you’ll be safe 1,000 times and successfully boarded the plane – here’s when the fun really begins. One of the best parts of travelling is meeting people from all around the world who are just as fun lovin’ as you. You’ll be amazed at how quickly these people become your family as you spend every day creating memories together. You’ll learn about their lives, their cultures and the best part? You’ll have free accommodation the next time you’re in Amsterdam, Sydney, Mexico City…
3. You’ll get an actual, fun education
Alright, I’ll hold my hands up and say it, I’m nowhere near as ‘cultured’ as I would like my Instagram followers to believe. Of course, I’m interested in learning about all sorts and visiting a diverse range of places but there really is no better way to fully understand another culture than to immerse yourself in it. Physically seeing the world will give you an education that school could never provide. Simply walking through the streets, talking to the locals and trying the food will help you learn so much about the place. And you’ve got to see it to believe it! This brings me nicely only to my next (and favourite) point…
4. You get to eat. A lot.
Food is a big one for me. Seriously. Scrolling through my camera roll I noticed 90% of my pics are of local delicacies devoured seconds after the photo was taken. A country or city’s culture can be shown through its food and sharing the same grub as the locals will make your trip a whole lot more authentic (and probably a lot tastier). Plus you’re travelling so all diets are off. Demolish the churro, it’s educational.
5. It’ll make you stronger
‘Comfort zone’ is usually a meh term your parents chuck around when they are trying to force you to start a new hobby or join them on a hike in the Lake District. But when you’re travelling this illusive phrase gains a far more realistic meaning. There is nothing ‘safe’ or ‘ordinary’ about travelling. I mean sure, it has its duller moments, but even doing your week’s washing sounds exotic in Rio De Janeiro. Travelling challenges you to burst the little safe bubble you’ve been happily floating around in until boarding that plane. There will be some testing moments, whether it’s applying for seriously confusing visas or resisting the tears when you miss your bus, but you’ll come out the other side stronger. Pinky promise.
6. You can learn a new language (or at least how to say ‘hello’)
There’s no better way to learn a language than to be constantly surrounded by it. And you’d be surprised how much you pick up asking for directions, booking bus tickets or ordering yet another taco… Throwing around a bit of the language in front of other travellers will definitely earn you some street cred and it feels great when you know you’ve aced it in front of your new mates. Even if you don’t, the locals will admire you for your efforts. Be brave and embrace the sexy Spanish señorita you were always meant to be.
7. You’ll gain a new perspective
Spending quality time travelling with friends, old and new, really opens your eyes to how other people see the world. Sitting round a campfire or on a (slightly less glamorous) bus seat for 21 hours, you’ll have some d&m’s (deep and meaningful’s, guys) with people, which might just shake up the way you view things for the better.
8. You can become even more kickass
It’s not everyday you can go pony trekking through the mountains or ride a quad bike through the desert. The best way to travel is to say ‘yes’ to everything, even if it scares you (within reason, obvs). Face your fears, girl. You got this.
9. You’ll learn a lot about yourself
You’ll meet people who will share stories of how they found the meaning of life while practicing mindfulness on a rock in the heart of Patagonia *eye roll*. My advice is to nod in agreement, smile and politely move the conversation on. ‘Finding yourself’ probably won’t be anywhere near as soul consuming as some seasoned travellers might try to convince you. Travelling the world will just throw you into a thousand situations you’d never imagined and it’s these moments that teach you so much about yourself. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
10. You’ll get a serious sense of accomplishment
Planning and saving is one thing, but the satisfaction of seeing this crazy plan through will put a grin on your face that could trump the Cheshire Cat. You’ve daydreamed about it, bored people chatting about it and now it’s finally happening. Savour every moment, it might just be the best experience of your life.
11. You’ll have a book of cool stories
And if nothing more, the next time you’re at a boring family party or on an awkward first date you’ll have plenty of cool stories to spice up the conversation. Talk about maximum party points…
Words: Grace Baxter