But what about your career? What about your future? When are you coming home? When will you finally settle down? What about your studies? These are all questions every traveller knows all too well, and quite frankly... annoy the hell out of us. We live in a funny era where our generation has opened to the positivities and lessons that travelling throws at us. For some of us, our parents actually encourage the act. For others, our loved ones cannot understand it. Either way, here are a few tips to explaining the concept of travel to your parents.
1. It's an Education
Travel opens us to new ways of life, religions, cultures and history. We learn about different countries and important eras of the past that have played a huge part in shaping the world in which we live today. There is only so much that a history or language book can teach us, and nothing can beat the lessons that we learn from first hand experiences. Immersing ourselves personally in the culture and the people is ultimately the best way to educate us and free us of ignorance.
2. It teaches us Independence
Travel forces us to tackle new challenges on our very own. Sure, moving away from home and renting our own place is a pivotal step towards independence, but travel takes it to a whole new level. We find ourselves in a completely new country and are forced to navigate our way through unknown streets, communicate with different types of people and trust our own intuition.
3. It makes us more Employable
Patience. Tolerance of others and an ability to problem solve are all personality traits that are improved when travelling. As we arrive in a new city and check into our accommodation, we meet travellers from different countries. We quickly realise that the banter we had at home with our mates does not sit too well with the non english speaking couple in our dorm room. We learn to adapt the way we communicate depending on the individuals we are talking to. We face challenges such as getting lost, losing valuable items and cancelled travel plans - we learn to overcome these on our own. And through these times of struggle, we learn patience and how to deal with stress.
4. It gives us Emotional Intelligence
Language barriers, different customs and behaviour, new laws and body language are all things that we have to interpret when travelling. Sometimes we find ourselves unable to read the signs at the train station or trying to order a coffee in another language. Unlike at home, things become less black and white and less obvious. We begin to develop the ability to trust our "feelings" and intuition. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what is 'right' and 'wrong.' Is it strange that the local you have just met is offering to walk you to the best cafe in town? Or is this a common act of kindness?
5. Travel gives us the confidence to be who we really are
At times we need to take a step back to realise what we really want in life. There is something magical about objectivity. Stepping away from our comfort zone can really help us define what our strengths and weaknesses are, what values are of most importance and what really makes us happy. Travel surrounds us with different people - all of whom have different career objectives, values and goals. This freedom and moment away from the confines of what we are used to allows our thoughts to run wild and flourish, and hence, return from a trip away focused, confident and motivated.