The tread of several footsteps pattered on the irriguous earth. They were advancing in the distance, following a narrow trail. Upon hearing them, I looked up to see green foliage all around. This place reminded me of a rainforest. But the rain had stopped for now. I was standing in the middle of a dense wood. I could hear the ocean in the distance, the waves pounding against the cold beach and rocky cliffs. The air was fresh and sweet. And I was alive.
“Faster, Ben!” My 10-year-old nephew shouted at me from close by. “They’re beating us!”
He was right. I could barely see my two brothers and my other nephew in the distance. At least they were keeping to the trail. I picked up my pace in acquiescence to Eden’s demands. There was no place I would’ve rather been than right there on that nature trail with my family. But I wasn’t there just to see the sights. I went out to that wild place for many reasons. Until now, I didn’t have words to explain.
I ran after Eden, pushing green branches out of my way. In that moment, the world was bright. And life was perfect.
Cape Falcon Trail, Oregon Coast
I’ve been asked a lot about my adventures and why I travel so much. At first, I never had a good answer. I would usually reply with the cliche, “I just love it”. But as I went out more and discovered new places, and as that same question was asked over and over again, I began to think seriously about it. Why do I travel so much?
I think some people travel to escape. Some travel to find themselves. Some travel to discover and explore. And some people don’t know why, but they discover a passion out there that they wouldn’t find any other way.
About 14 months ago I went on a trip to Hawaii with one of my best friends. It was the first time I’d taken a vacation away from my residence in what seemed like forever. The 10-day adventure I had while I was there inspired me to make traveling an essential part of my future. The experience begged the question, “Why not do this more?”
From that day, I resolved to travel somewhere at least once every month. None of my trips have been disappointing. And every adventure has given me a great return on investment. This decision has taken me all over the United States, allowing me see some amazing things and learn a lot along the way. To be a lifestyle traveler was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.
Recently I spent a good while pondering the benefits of travel. I came up with 7 core items to consider. Here they are, each followed by a short description. Hope you enjoy:
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
1. Traveling… refills the heart
I have always been attracted to/obsessed with the concept of beauty and the beautiful things in this world. Every one of my close friends can attest to that. This is more than just about pretty places and people, though. I am attracted to beautiful interactions, concepts, theories, creations, and minds… I place a lot of value in filling my life with beauty. It’s so easy to develop a negative opinion of our world and its events. But beauty keeps our lives balanced. It is the solution to the influence of depravity and depression. It gives us hope.
When you travel, you are recharging your heart. You are filling it up with beautiful things and ideas and exposing yourself to beauty in general. You come back with a renewed idea of what beauty is. And it overflows into your daily life.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
2. Traveling… inspires creativity
Creativity is one of the hardest concepts to pin down. There is no universal formula to inspire creativity, or even to be creative. But I have found that travel and adventure are all I need to inspire creativity in myself. I am exposed to new environments and am forced to deal with those environments in new and creative ways. Then, my mind becomes practiced in coming up with creative solutions for everyday life. I guarantee travel will do the same for you.
New York City, New York
3. Traveling… makes work enjoyable
Taking a break from the normal schedule is always welcomed among humans. I just plan those breaks in advance in the form of a trip every month. That way I never get burnt out doing the work I love back at home. People weren’t meant to operate the same processes every day, day after day, without end. People need challenges. They need adventures to momentarily distract from the monotonous. Everything on this earth becomes boring given enough time. Travel breaks through the normal to keep you ever becoming bored with life, work, and location. It’s the balance of work, rest, and travel that generates quality of life.
4. Traveling… grants perspective
Being introduced to the mindsets and ways of life of other cultures and peoples provides perspective into one’s own life. We can live a certain way for all our lives without knowing anything different. But different can be good. Indeed, different can be better. And how can you know different unless you see it? Traveling allows us to see and compare the differences.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma
5. Traveling… tests your comfort zone
Many of the best books I’ve read have a common theme. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Probably the best advice out there if you want to grow and be successful. But sometimes it’s hard to find opportunities to try new things. So create the opportunity through travel. Expose yourself to new zones, atmospheres, and people. As I travel, I run into a lot of situations and experiences that aren’t comfortable or convenient. But part of me knows that I’m training to become adaptable for situations that life throws at me that are out of my control.
6. Traveling… clears the mind
I have a tendency to focus very hard on whatever is in front of me. It usually generates a great amount of benefit and efficiency, but can be taxing as well. My solution for thinking too hard is to go out into the wilderness where there is less going on and less to be worried about. Most people call it a vacation and do it once or twice a year. I call it part of life and do it once a month. It allows me to keep a clear idea of what I want to pursue and what I want to let go of. If you’re looking for refreshment and refocus, try travel.
Roosevelt Island, New York
7. Traveling… reminds you to consider life rightly
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
We can easily get caught up in the conveniences and inconveniences of life. We get addicted to the former and dread the latter. But both are simply a part of life, a sign of the bumpy road. Those who are used to traveling a lot tend to stop worrying about these things. They know that all worrying does is drain their energy. Travelers take inconveniences as they come and simply include them into their expectations. If you expect an adventure, you are not worried about whether you’re going to have everything the way you’d like it. And since life is an adventure, that’s what we should expect.
Life is an adventure. And adventure reminds us of that.
Sandia Mountains, New Mexico
If this list has inspired you to think about traveling more, I hope you’re able to take a trip soon. Make it a priority! I’d love to hear about it afterward. Remember, it’s not necessarily about where you go or what you do there. It’s about new experiences and putting yourself in situations where you can grow. This is the goal.
Please comment with your thoughts and questions!