Tha thump, tha thump, tha thump. My heart was pounding as the sets rolled through at Lanes on the North Shore of Maui. I was just a small blip on the mighty ocean and I could feel the power of the waves undulating as they passed underneath me. It was exhilarating to surf in a new spot but also terrifying! I’m an avid traveler and I have been blessed to experience a multitude of places and experiences. I believe that travel is an important part of our existence and accounts for many positive things in our lives. While there are countless reasons why I think it’s important to travel, here’s what I’ve learned from traveling and why it’s so important.
1. Just do it.
During my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to study aboard in Barcelona, Spain. Yet, committing to a being in a vast new world, alone (gasp!), was daunting and frightening to me. I remember the first few days after I arrived, I felt petrified and almost inhibited. I was homesick! However, by the end of that trip, the independence I felt was exhilarating, confidence- boosting and addictive! I was hooked. The travel bug grabbed me by the gut and yanked me into its grasp.
2. You will grow.
Stumbling across new adventures and being put in new situations and then coming out on the other end, relatively unscathed, increases your confidence ten-fold. Want a great trampoline into adulthood? Go on a trip by yourself.
3. Savor the time you spend breaking your bread.
One of the main differences between the Spanish culture and my own was that in Spain we’d eat dinner super late, sometimes not sitting down to sup until 10pm. And yet, the Spanish thoroughly enjoy and relish their meals. They put great emphasis on spending time with family and savoring time spent over a meal. By experiencing another culture and language you see the world through a different lens. And oftentimes, these are great lessons.
4. Yes should be your default answer.
You don’t know what can happen until you dip that first toe in the water. Yes, you may get held down on the inside while set waves pound you on the head and yes it may be terrifying but you’ll have a chance to surf an epic break and you’ll be happy you did. When you step out of your comfort zone, you are presented with an opportunity to grow.
Yvon Choiunard said “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.” Something will go wrong. It’s Murphy’s law! You’ll have a much easier time if you simply take it all in stride. It is when the unexpected happens or “something goes wrong” that spontaneity flourishes. Spontaneity and adventure arrive hand in hand and you’ll have a much easier time of things if you just enjoy the ride. Fortunately I get to travel a lot. I make it a priority because I believe that it fosters growth in myself, exposes me to new ideas and cultures and sparks adventure and spontaneity to keep life interesting. Get out there!