Life · See the World

Why Travel?

travel

I’m amazed by people who don’t have a passport. I wonder to myself, how they are able to stay in the same country all their lives. Given, there are probably special circumstances where that is the norm or there’s no option but I’m talking about people who could travel but choose not to. I’m referring to those that are able to travel but choose not to or have no desire to. I’m also referring to the kind of travelling that opens your eyes and broadens your horizons. Not those all inclusive yady yada kind of vacations. So if you need some reasons or need some gentle persuasion, here are my top 3 reasons to travel:

mountain

  1. See More.
    The Earth is so incredibly big that you must wonder what other parts of it look like. Climate, geography, language, culture, and everything is so different around the world and it fascinates me. It’s inspiring seeing how other people live their “normal life” in other parts of the world. I don’t compare and say one is better, but it’s merely an observation and appreciation for differences. Also, nature is so much more amazing to see with your own eyes. Go hike triumphantly to the top of a sunrise mountain peak, dip your feet into pristine white sand and blue water beaches, and go try that strange looking street food that’s skewered and deep fried in something odd looking yet smells ah-mazing.boot
  2. Learn More.
    Just as the world is so big, there is so much I don’t know. I learn so much about each culture as I dive into it and fully experience it. From a computer screen or a newspaper article, you’ll question why things are done a certain way. But when you fully immerse yourself into the culture, you slowly start to understand why a culture chooses to do things a certain way.
    I realized this is the most profound way going on our last Asia trip. We went from Japan to Shanghai and those two cultures couldn’t be more different. Politeness is the norm in Japan whereas it’s a rarity in Shanghai. At first I just thought the people in Shanghai were terrible because they couldn’t abide by what I thought was a simple rule of lining up. But then I dug deeper and learned more about their culture and realized that it wasn’t really possible to be polite. It’s unfortunate but in that culture, you have to fight for yourself because no one else will fight for you. If you don’t push and shove to the front of a metro line, you’ll never get on the train. We can’t blame people, it’s just how it is there and that is their norm.city
  3. Appreciate More.
    This comes from me: someone who was raised in a middle-upper class family, with the luxury of not having to worry about our next meal or whether we had a roof over our head. I was blessed in my upbringing and Kelvin and I still feel that way. We don’t live paycheque to paycheque, we have steady jobs, and we are able to buy things when we want to. Obviously not those crazy expensive luxury items, we are talking day to day things and the slightest splurge every now and then on semi fancy dinners and what not, but you get what I mean right?
    In Vancouver, our living standards are in the top 10%, compared to living standards around the world. We can safely drink tap water, our jobs provide for us comfortably, and we live in a safe and beautiful city. Not many other countries can boast that reputation so we should consider ourselves blessed. What I’m also trying to get at are those people who are never satisfied with what they have. After one accomplishment, they’re onto the next and the one after that. They’re overly ambitious and striving to be better, make more money, or be more famous. Why are we trying to get from 90% to 99%? We already have it so good so why burden and overwork yourselves to get that last percent?
    When you travel, your eyes are opened to how others live, often with less, and how they just might be happier than you and I. They have less stuff that prevents them from enjoying the simple things in life like friendship, watching a sunset, and being able to breathe clean air.

When you travel, you get such a broader perspective on life. You don’t just see it as your personal bubble in suburban Burnaby, the hustle and bustle of New York City or even just the “traditional” Western world. You see how others have their own 9-5 grind and how they balance work and family. We all do the same thing, just in slightly or very different environments.

So I’m not telling you to go blow your life savings on travelling the world lavishly. When you do go, try living as the locals do. When you are given the opportunity after schooling, take a few months off to travel before jumping into your career. You’ll be amazed how much clarity you can gain about yourself, your career choice, and anything else, when you get away from it and see the world.

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