Ten Reasons to Travel

“The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is.”

Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past

As resonant as Proust’s quote should seem to anyone seeking the active life, the hundred universes his narrator describes would be even better viewed from distant lands, not from the familiarity of one’s own living room. Why not compound the possibilities even more? In keeping with this sentiment, and although the following list should be as expansive as Proust’s imagination, here are ten good reasons to travel.

  1. Encountering unfamiliar people and places challenges your perceptions. For instance, you might meet a tall, slender woman with angular features and serious dark eyes who tells you she’s a lightworker dedicated to helping humanity move forward in a time of ascension, and therefore we must all be careful of what we think and say because the world is in a state of major transition, and we need to move forward in the most productive manner possible. Or you might watch a seasoned guitarist play an electrifying set of industrial blues at Buddy Guy’s Legends that reignites your appreciation for music and lets you know that you, too, can generate vital expression from the heart of true creation until the day you die. With travel, anything is possible, and you never know what you will encounter next.
  2. You learn how to more effectively budget your time and money when you travel. Do you have access to more money than you think you’ll need to spend on your trip? You should since things almost always happen to warrant this need. Have you arranged a flexible schedule that will allow you to pace yourself in such a way that you’ll be relaxed, not exhausted, when you return home? Don’t try to do too much. That’s what you’re trying to avoid, remember?
  3. Travel tests your character. A hike to the base of the Grand Canyon and back or a climb to the top of Mount Rainier can be a life-and-death experience. Worse still, what if you and your new significant other realize you despise each other just two days into a three-week European tour? You need to be strong and resourceful when you do any real traveling.
  4. Travel is educational. I didn’t understand the idea of the siesta until I spent a few weeks in July visiting Seville, Málaga, and Granada. Then I saw why Spaniards tend to be calm, classy, and generally happy. Consequently, one must wonder how European Union membership requirements will continue to reshape the new Spain. Travel engages fertile minds.
  5. You forge new friendships and unique connections when you travel. If you live in the desert and befriend someone who owns a house by Cannon Beach, and if this person invites you to stay at his or her place on subsequent visits, you have just significantly improved your quality of life and given yourself something to look forward to.
  6. Travel can be great exercise. Did I mention the Grand Canyon and Mount Rainier?
  7. Travel leads to good business opportunities. Carry business cards whenever you travel. If you don’t have any, create some, share them with interesting people you would like to get to know, and watch what happens.
  8. A pleasant trip can inspire romance. There’s nothing quite like watching a [choose your favorite travel destination] sunset.
  9. Travel makes you a more interesting person. Visiting exotic (or at least different) locations, interacting with others in unexpected or unique ways, and exercising your physical and mental faculties in distant places alters the neurological construction of your brain for the better. You see and understand things differently, which makes you a better conversationalist and someone who is more willing to invent or engage in interesting activities that might not occur to most of those around you.
  10. When you travel, you participate in a broader community that requires attention. The world is changing at a stunning rate, and this change is accelerating, not abating. Most of the unparalleled transformations we see tie directly to globalization. A letter correspondence from Sacramento to Berlin that used to take three or more weeks now takes a second with the click of the Send button on your computer. Rapid online connections equal an expanded awareness of all other cultural networks on the planet, and this interconnectedness dictates a new standard for human interaction. Maybe we should consider it an honor to better acquaint ourselves with what we have always been.