Top 10 Reasons to Travel Abroad


As the end of each year approaches, most of us start making plans for the next year.  We start thinking about what we want to accomplish, who we need to take care of and maybe even where we will go on vacation.  I suggest that you consider traveling to a far off destination as a possible solution for all 3.  Humor me for a few minutes and let me tell you why.


1. Get a new perspective.


When you travel to a foreign country, especially one with a different language and culture, you are exposed to new ideas and different ways of getting things done.  If you are open minded, this will be an incredibly enriching experience.  Think of it as travelling outside your box.  Your mind will be exercised in new ways and may just give you that ‘aha’ moment.


2. Test yourself.


What are you capable of?  Can you make your way through a world that is foreign to you?  Can you travel, eat and stay in places that are different than what you are use to?  Could you move to another country for a new job or retirement?  You won’t know until you try.  You might find the new challenges exhilarating and you might find that there are other places in this world where you would be willing to live.


3. Satisfy your wanderlust.


Some of us long to see the world – to travel and explore new places.  But the realities of our lives often keep our wanderlust in the closet.  Maybe it’s the cost or our obligations at home but sometimes we just talk ourselves out of it.  If you are one of those people that want to see the world, start planning now.  It won’t happen until you make the first move.


4. The world is changing.


Face it.  The world is changing rapidly.  Technology is impacting third world countries in dramatic ways.  More people are traveling and impacting other cultures.  If there’s some place you want to see and it’s accessible today, don’t put it off.  The experience you dream of may not be available in the future or it may be so crowded with tourists that it becomes a different experience altogether.


5. Help to dispel stereotypes.


We all have prejudices and biases even if we don’t want to admit it.  When you travel abroad you have an opportunity to serve as a cultural ambassador to dispel other’s misconceptions and maybe some of your own.   When you travel the world, you are exposed to dramatically different points of view.  You often hear news that differs from what you hear in the US and you start to ask questions about these differences.  You may reassess your own beliefs or you may convince someone else to think differently.  Either way, you are more connected to the world when you travel through it than you are when you simply learn about it at home.  I have always been a firm believer that the world would be a better and safer place if more people travelled and exchanged their understanding of other cultures and beliefs.


6. Broaden your cultural tolerances.


When you are part of the majority that makes the rules, your values and culture tend to dominate your environment.  When you travel to areas of the world where cultures are different and you are a minority, you look at things differently.  You begin to learn that different cultures can easily coexist with a bit of mutual respect and tolerance.  This insight helps when you get home too.


7. Work on your bucket list while you can.


A lot of people put off travel until its too late or they are too old to enjoy it.  You don’t know what will happen tomorrow.  If you are willing and able to travel, I strongly suggest you consider international travel.  As we get older our options become more limited and we may not be able to travel the way we want to.  So, if there’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip in your bucket list, find a way to do it now.


8. Memories will last longer than anything else.


Vacations are funded by disposable income so they must compete with other toys and luxuries.  A new car or boat will eventually wear out but the memories that come from a ‘trip-of-a-lifetime’ will last forever.  The experience can be relived (especially if you’re a photographer) over and over again and your life will benefit from the knowledge you gained.


9. Compare your life with others.


Travelling to less developed countries is a way of escaping your own life and reevaluating it at the same time.  Your own problems may not seem so large when you see how most of the rest of the world lives.  You will come home with a new appreciation for what you have.  You may also come home with some new values or projects based on what you have seen.


10. Life is too short (or too long) for the same daily routine.


Depending on how you look at it, life is too short or too long for the same old experiences.  It can go by too fast and you miss your chance or it can drag on forever with the same boring routine.  A vacation to an exotic location will shake up your life in more ways than one.


So, if you’re ready for an adventure, consider traveling to a very different place than the one you live in.  You are sure to benefit from the experience.  But watch out.  It’s contagious.  You might find yourself wanting to do it again and again.


May your travel and your photography both be rewarding!


     Roger Nelson