The Transformative Impact of Traveling
Before 2013, I have been to five different countries. Since then, I have been to sixty-two. Traveling changed my life. Entirely.
‘It is not that we have a short time to live but that we waste most of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given to us in generous measure for accomplishing the greatest things.’ Seneca, the Younger.
Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash
Ever since I realized that all my prejudice were to an extent pointless, traveling would become one of my biggest priorities. These prejudices were quite straightforward: I would tell myself that traveling is too expensive, I will not be able to navigate because I cannot speak the local language, and while at home everything is super amazing, bad things can happen if you go somewhere else. Well, to me these aspects - in hindsight - seem to be pointless but having been raised essentially not traveling and not knowing the right approach was a cognitive block to getting around. Yet, these prejudices can be overcome easily.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Overcoming Travel Predjudices
Hereafter, I show how I usually come up with affordable trips. The cost of traveling is usually composed of traveling to the location, paying for accommodation, and the cost of living.
- Traveling: Flight prices within Europe in pre-Corona times were super cheap. If you compare flights, on web services like ‘Hopper’, ‘Skyscanner’, or ‘Google Flights’, you will be able to find or subscribe to very economic deals.
- Accommodation: Hostels are just a great way to get in touch with people, and to find friends. While sharing rooms may not be everyone’s priority AirBnB offers just super affordable accommodation and unique experiences in remote areas.
- Cost of Living: With a student ID, the recommendation of friends, or them navigate you, free walking tours you can find cheap and wonderful attractions, affordable but yummy restaurants, and the best bars (and their happy hour times) easily.
- Language barrier: Honestly, there is always someone speaking English or something that sounds similar in every place. Sure it is not the easiest to navigate Japan with all its signs but in every train station, or other location, there was at least one person that helped us. After all, you can also always work with your hands and feet, and - most persuasively - a smile.
- Bad things can happen: Let us take food poisoning as an example. Honestly, I had that six times in my life and for times were at home, hence I would not necessarily say something like this is a danger. Fighting or being robbed? Just, do not get drunk like crazy and you’ll be fine. If you are sober, then you can always deescalate and it is usually people that offer to be robbed that are being robbed. Yet, the aspects that happen will be your stories to tell. But they can also be very positive and joyful: A few years ago, I got upgraded to business class from NYC to FRA that was quite nice.
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Today the world looks different as I see the benefits of getting around:
- Unique experiences: Paragliding over Medellin, swimming with gigantic turtles in the Caribbean, summiting a 4000m mountain in Malaysia, or do a camel ride through the Sahara in south Morocco a few of the memories I made for my lifetime. Whenever something becomes stressful, I just remember myself of these special unique situations that I survived and so the stress is much easier for me to handle.
- Self-confidence: With the exposure to different countries and cultures, you start to learn that you can survive and manage to deal with people and - most importantly - yourself all over the world. It is a boost for your self-confidence because again.
- Open mindedness: Genuinely, with traveling you appreciate diversity, different interests, political opinions, and basic values much more because you get to see them through the eyes and in the environment of a conversation partner. I love to read the Economist and whenever I get to articles about other countries that I have traveled before, I understand much more why people would behave the way they do.
I truly hope you get these benefits for yourself, too! Start squeezing the best out of your life. It may transform you too.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
List of the 62 countries I have visited (Countries are defined following the American iPhone App ‘been’):
- Europe (35): Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, Belgium, England, Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Italy, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Switzerland, North Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Vatican, Wales, Turkey, Finland, Serbia, Malta, Greece, Iceland, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, and Albania.
- Asia (13): Hong Kong, Japan, China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, United Arabic Emirates, Lebanon, Israel, Philippines, Malaysia, Macao, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
- North America (6): United States, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Martinique, and Canada.
- South America (3): Peru, Bolivia, Colombia.
- Oceania (2): Australia, and New Zealand.
- Africa (2): Egypt, and Morocco.