5 ways travelling makes your life better
07 September 2023Last Updated:14 August 2023
Young woman travelling in car

“Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Those are reportedly the words of Ibn Buttata, a 14th-century Moroccan explorer who set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca at age 21. He enjoyed travelling so much that he stayed on the road for another 29 years…

Look, not all of us can (or would want to) pull an Ibn, but the joy of travel is that no matter how short a trip you take, it’s likely to have a profound impact on your life. Here are five ways that travel can benefit you.

1. A reset

Maybe you’re overwhelmed by your inbox. Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Maybe you’re experiencing massive personal upheaval, like Elizabeth Gilbert pre-Eat, Pray, Love. Whatever you’re going through, travel can help.

A trip physically separates you from your usual routine, which means you can properly clear your head and get a little perspective on what you want in life. Whether you retreat into nature an hour from home, go on a fashion pilgrimage to Paris or hike the Camino in Spain, travel offers a fresh start.

2. Far-flung friends

Flying solo or travelling with a partner, you'll be surprised at how many people you meet and how many lifelong friendships you can build with people from different backgrounds and cultures. And the places you’ve visited will come to life in rich, personalised ways. For instance, Bulgaria and Serbia won’t simply be names on a map anymore, but cherished memories thanks to the time you spent with Zoran or Milena.

3. New experiences

You can appreciate the life you have and still find it a little same-same sometimes. Variety is the spice of life, and travel instantly sprinkles it all over yours. Hitting the road opens your eyes to a world of novelty: diverse cultures, jaw-dropping scenery, hive-like cities, exotic animals, new ideas about the world and – we cannot stress this enough – unbelievably delicious cuisine. And while you can’t pack a koala bear or real Kentucky-fried chicken in your suitcase, you can bring all that inspiration home with you, making your life richer.

4. Small acts of bravery

Venturing far from the world you know can be daunting. But with every new adventure, you unlock a little bit more of your bravest self. And we don’t even mean ‘adventure’ in terms of bungee-jumping or doing Burning Man. It’s anything that takes you out of your comfort zone, like navigating a foreign public transport system (even if at first you boarded a train going the wrong way) or successfully ordering coffee in a different language. The more you travel, the more self-confidence you cultivate when facing the unknown. That’s a life skill truly worth having.

5. A better you

No, not better than anyone else. There’s nothing worse than that one guy at the braai who thinks he’s above everyone just because he hiked Mount Kilimanjaro once or spent time at an ashram in Nepal. But, as we’ve said, travelling opens your eyes to entirely new worlds and the people who inhabit them. All that time spent among different cultures, learning about the way people who aren’t you live their lives, makes you a more empathetic, well-rounded person.

That said, you’ll also have some epic tales to tell at the next braai…

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