When I use the term "travelling' here I do not necessarily mean a year long venture in countries you've never heard of (although that would be amazing). I mean simply travelling away from your home country into a foreign land, hopefully one you have not been before. Most people enjoy having that break away from home and work, however I find a worryingly large proportion of people chose never to leave their own town or city. Some prefer to stay close to what they know and not venture into the unknown, others claim they want to go further afield but just lack the courage or conviction. I find both of these scenarios such a shame. Some of my best memories, stories and experiences have come from travelling, being in a foreign environment and country, immersing myself in their culture while I find myself on an unexpected adventure.
So if you have been putting off booking them flights through fear of what's on the other side, keep chickening out on committing a date for your next 'Bon Voyage', or desperately want that next stamp in your passport - then read on, we've got all the encouragement you need!
1) Learn that the world is not a scary place
Of all the travelling I done, and with each new country I visit, it just further cements the fact that 99.99999999% of people are good, kind and hospitable. That people will help you in your time of need and look after you when needed. It confirms that the News glorifies stories to help their viewing figures, and obviously only reports on the bad things happening in a country. It may seem like a strange reason to lead with, but one theme that regularly gets brought up when people have heard that I have visited countries such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is; "Isn't it dangerous?". Of course it can be, but so could London, Paris, Egypt, Bali or many other popular "non-scary" destinations. Stop listening to the News. The world is full of great, generous and happy people who want nothing more than to be your friend and hear your tales - so go tell them!
There was a fuel shortage along the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan.
We were riding parallel to the border of Afghanistan.
These locals emptied the fuel from their reserves to help us out. Without their help we would have been stranded.
2) Experience new cultures and food.
This is a big one for me. I love my food, so if I want the best pizzas, I know I need to go to Naples. Thai food in Europe is OK, but it doesn't beat street food you can get in Bangkok. The side street full of locals, the menu scrawled on boards not written in English - this is where you are getting the best local cuisine. No matter how good your local curry house is, I'm pretty sure Mumbai does it better. Nothing better than a day exploring a new city in a new country, you sit down to refuel and are treated to a culinary delight you could only dream of. The culture aspect is also a big plus point. I spend my entire working week in an English environment, and on the weekend I have to work pretty hard to get an experience away from that of New Zealand culture, so when I go abroad I want to be overwhelmed with my surroundings.
I want a sensory overload!
Sight, smell, sound and touch all need to be different. A day experiencing this pleasantly different and chaotic environment is why I love travelling, and when I am having a boring week at home, this is where I wish I was. I love being happy just observing people do their everyday tasks because it is so different to my home life, it's amazing. If I can pick a country with great food and a culture very different from England and New Zealand, I know I am going to have a great time.
Pizzas so big they don't fit on the table!
We searched for an hour for the perfect restaurant when we were in Naples, Italy, but the wait was definitely worth it.
Nothing but base, tomato and cheese - simplicity is best!
3) Meet Amazing and Interesting People
Travelling away from your home country, and into popular destination hubs such as Amsterdam, New Delhi, Sydney etc, you are greeted by a melting pot of individuals. All from different walks of life and backgrounds, allowing you a taste of what life is like in their homeland. At home generally you work with the same people, your housemates don't change and your friends probably haven't changed much from last year -unless like me you have recently moved ;). Yet when travelling you meet such an array of nationalities, all with great stories from their homeland. However more interesting than that, is all the lovely locals you will meet on your way. On buses, in cafes, at bars, in museums. You never know where but the best stories and experiences you'll get will involve a friendly local. Who knows, if you are lucky, you may even get invited round for dinner!
During my time walking across Sri Lanka I had the pleasure of being invited
into many homes for dinner and a place to rest my head.
Midwife practices, Buddhist Temples, Rubber Tree Plantations and many more.
Everyone was incredibly hospitable, and my overriding memory of Sri Lanka is the kindness of everyone.
4) Test Yourself
Some people may not want to be tested, which is fine. Not all travelling needs to be in the far flung depths of central Africa. However, if your reason for not travelling is concern on how you will cope, how you will make friends, what happens if you get lost; then you need to travel! You can't go through life worried on all the things than can go wrong, start dreaming of all the things that can go right!
I love the Erin Hanson poem:
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?"
You will soon realise you are capable of so much more, and all the negative and bad circumstances you were conjuring in your head, were completely unnecessary. Remember, the vast majority of people are good, the food is amazing and you'll meet some amazing people on your way. This first experience of travelling will only start you off, and you'll be wanting more.
My first proper "Travelling". 18 years old in South America.
My friend in the picture Michael came up with the suggestion of heading away from Europe to South America.
Best idea and I have such fond memories of our time in the Latin American continent.
Awful Playmobil hair from me at Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru
5) Be Inspired
As corny as it sounds there is a lot to be inspired about when you go travelling. It's no surprise that when speaking with people you meet on your way they have these ambitious projects for when they return home. Travelling has inspired them to be more courageous and daring.
It's hard not to look at great views such as the Grand Canyon, St. Pauls Basilica in Rome, the Taj Mahal and feel inspired to learn more, see more and do more. Majority of people when they have been away travelling return more energised, wanting to continue that travelling high they find themselves pushing themselves at home too, exploring their local area and finding places they never knew existed.
How can you look at the sweeping Myanmar horizon of Bagan, with over
2,000 Buddhist Temples and Monastries and not be inspired to see more incredible locations on the planet?
I could probably list 100's of reasons to go travelling but thought it was best to stick to 5. What part of travelling do you love, and what element keeps you wanting more?
Let us know in the Facebook comment section below and hopefully you can inspire someone else to pack their bags and get exploring!