Travel should be exciting. Travel should be fun. And travel should be inspiring, most of all! We live in a world where we can talk to others online. We also live in a world where travel is accessible and easier than ever. Especially with the dawn of the pandemic, people have made the trip to go and step beyond the breadth of their homes more than ever. An estimated 1.18 billion people travel abroad annually.
However, why else should I travel? The reasons are listed down below!
People were born to be empathetic. Empathy is the ability to empathize and feel another person’s pain. It’s hardwired into our brains. It is also the foundation of all healthy relationships. However, empathy is a muscle, and it requires patience. You can practice empathy while traveling in San Juan La Union hotels or the desert.
According to Steven Pinker, a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, the spread of mass media over the last two (2) centuries has made it easier to be more empathetic. In his words, a “circle of empathy” has extended because it made lives that seemed so distant accessible — and relatable — in a whole new way, especially with how our lives revolve around our smartphones.
Unfortunately for us now, though, information overload is overwhelming people. It also makes people too distracted to care. That is a sad drawback of easy access to the Internet.
With travel, we go beyond what we consider comfortable. With travel, we “escape the insulation of our comfort zone” and encounter new people and situations in the real world. When we’re out there in the real world, we are more equipped to deal with things of the “unknown” variety – and are given easier empathy for strangers.
In a way, there are nuances between empathy and travel. Learning a new language – especially at an earlier stage – makes empathizing easier because it normalizes our brain switching between languages and perspectives.
A Better Understanding
With travel, what is unfamiliar can become familiar. You encounter the unknown – and challenge assumptions and stereotypes that often negatively distort our view of the world. When you’re immersed and getting to know people of other cultures, you understand the situation, culture, and values they imbibe there.
By encountering and understanding another, you can seep into a kinder way of perceiving and making your way into the world. For the better, it will be one with much less judgment.
You can boost your self-awareness by being more open to yourself – and others. A recent study indicates that those who have lived abroad have reflected on their values as they encounter unfamiliar situations and people. Living through unfamiliar situations and people daily helps make you more self-aware and less stressed. Although the study’s scope is tied to living abroad, more riveting, longer-term travel would result in the same.
In psychology, “cognitive flexibility” is a similar concept. It is the ability to jump between ideas and keeps our minds flexible because it challenges the known world. As a result, you develop creativity.
Lastly, travel because it will inspire and keep you creative! Travel can fill you with pleasant memories. And also new ways of thinking and looking at the world. Adam Galinsky researched executives who have lived in several foreign countries. After being exposed to different cultures and countries, they have decided to take more creative risks at work.
Travel has many ways of making you better. Not only will you get more life experience, but you will also benefit from it as a person. Empathy, creativity, and self-awareness – these are just some of them.
Deinah Storm is a freelance feature writer who loves to travel. She writes travel guides and reviews aiming to help fellow travelers achieve the most satisfying travel experiences.