On a nine to five job? Coming back home just to catch your favorite show on TV and then pull yourself to bed to repeat it all over again? Life has surely made a joke out of great education and all the tiresome hours we spent on education and internships. Repeating the same series of actions every day. Have you ever thought about personal development? Have you ever thought of investing in traveling? Or are you the kind who likes consistency? If you choose the latter, then I must inform you, the kind of consistency we tend to follow like a herd of cattle isn’t really good for our health, mental or physical.
The society, culture, and surroundings have turned our minds into snow globes of augmented reality. In this, only what you think is right, what you know is right, what you feel is justified and how you’re treated is reasoned with your conscience. What if I told you traveling is an investment itself?
Traveling to a different country or even a city would expose you to a different set of people, culture, and society. Talking to the people, learning about their habits, their food, and their favorite places will not only give you a glimpse of another culture but also a fresh glance at your own from their perspective.
Architecture that beautifully weaves itself within the history of a location, monuments that stand tall with pride in its cause. All of it is worth knowing and experiencing. Instead of just tripping between your hotel and the beach, try to wander around with locals. Nowadays you can find native trip guides always ready to show you the rawness of a country in its purest form, no glitz or glamour. After all, it is all the authenticity that you need to open up your mind and soul.
The food they eat, the clothes they wear hold more than just cultural significance.
If you look at Kimonos, a Japanese traditional clothing for women, you will first gain knowledge that these were influenced by China. After years of adapting and addition of layers to the outfit to make it look dimensional. The traditional outfit not only became a complex piece of art but also an artistic form of expression for the makers of Kimonos and Yukatas (kimonos of a lighter material), where they could hand embroider every inch and dye the fabrics into shades of color by hand. And their food? Sushi lovers, brace yourselves – most sushi served in Dhaka do NOT have raw fish.
Are you convinced to do your homework now? If not, then there’s a high chance you’d be missing something out. Becoming a tourist is easy if you have money and no time other than just for yourself. But being a traveler only takes a sane mind willing to go insane for self-development.
In the past few years, we’ve been to mountains, beaches, massive cities and isolated towns you could speed through in a blink. We’ve been all over the U.S. and to a dozen or so countries. That means long flights, wandering dazedly through strange places, sometimes not knowing what or where we’ll be eating next or exactly when we’ll make it to our next destination. But it also means volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, and warm friendly strangers from all over the world.
And it means memories we’ll treasure forever. Our friends think it’s kind of kitschy, but my husband, Mike, and I collect magnets from the places we go to. We arrange them on the side of the fridge that faces our table in the kitchen so that when we’re sitting together we can see the collection, which reminds us of some of our happiest times.
Some part of the benefit is purely financial. There are experiences and lessons you learn on the road that can be directly applied to business and investment. You witness firsthand new trends, or the way old trends have shown up in new places, or the way some trends seem nearly universal. You see for yourself new styles of clothing, where young professionals are shopping, which brands are popular in different places. In some countries, you need only to scan a busy street to get a clear sense of what might soon be popular in the U.S., and which American exports might be the next big thing somewhere else. (In Portugal, we were surprised when a woman in her 20s told us how much she loves Guy Fieri.)
If you’re interested in the restaurant business, this is the perfect chance to note what thrives overseas, be it individual dishes, types of cuisine, or certain franchises. Observant travelers probably could have predicted the rising food trends like raw fish salads otherwise known as poke or Halal food. Or food trucks, which are all over Europe now. Think about sushi: Fifty years ago, most Americans didn’t even know what it was; now it’s so ubiquitous you can buy it in grocery stores. The best way to identify the next sushi is to see it for yourself.
In big returns, My husband and I have such a good time traveling, I’ve learned, not despite our differences but because of them. Yes, I’m the uptight stressed one, and he’s the infuriatingly open-to-whatever one. But fortunately, we’re able to blend our personalities to create the perfect tourist. As I often explain to Mike, being flexible is not the same thing as not having a plan. Before we leave to travel, we (and by “we” I mean “mostly me”) compile detailed lists, with addresses and maps, of attractions and sights to see. Then he reads the list and does additional background research, so we know everything we’d like to see or accomplish in any given place and a little about where we are. The formula for a good trip is one part planning and one part flexibility.
And this applies to everyday life, traveling or not. The more I travel, the more I learn flexibility. The more he travels, the more my husband sees how life can run a little more smoothly with a plan.
When it comes down to it, the most important investment you make when you travel is in yourself. Taking yourself out of your usual setting can show you a lot about what you need, what you value, and how you act in new situations. You’ll learn what you miss most about home and what you’ve often been taking for granted.
So if you want to improve yourself, if you want to improve the way you think and what you know about the world and how close you feel to the people around you, do yourself a favor. Do some research and book a trip. Just don’t forget to bring home a magnet.