The cliche thing to do now-a-days is travel. To book a cheap flight somewhere, fly there, spend a week or two or maybe even a month. Then fly home. This however is not what I would consider traveling. Perhaps a short vacation but traveling requires a bit more of an investment. A bit more time. Traveling is something you do when you’re not sure of the exact destination but you’re going for the adventure itself. You might need to fly over the ocean or something to save 3 months boat travel but maybe hitch hiking, taking a bus, or renting a car would be a bit more of an adventure. Most people work an entire year and take this one to two week vacation and call it traveling.
Now, there is nothing wrong with taking a vacation. Vacations are great. You recharge your battery, get away from work, and maybe even a tan. What I am proposing however is that you are missing out by going on vacations, rather than traveling. Instead of just recharging your battery to go back to another year of work why not save up for a few years and go on a year long vacation. Why not travel for several months at a time with no destination? It can sound scary. Quitting your job, moving your things into storage, or having someone watch the house but in reality there are other jobs out there. You can always find another employer especially with the experience of traveling abroad!
The benefits of traveling over a simple vacation are endless, from personal growth, confidence, and opening your eyes to the realities of the world outside what the media tells you. Most people are very sheltered on their cliche vacations hiding behind the illusion of fancy hotels and beach front condos. How much can you really grow looking at the ocean from the 35th floor of a luxury hotel? How much can you really grow flying over three countries to get there? How much can you really learn about yourself sitting in an airplane seat staring at the clouds? See the reality is people have been sold this silly idea of vacations. It’s expensive, short, and the same every year. For the amount you spent to stay at a luxury hotel in Miami or Key West you could have hitch hiked to Panama and lived there for six months. Which one is going to bring new experiences? Which one is going to teach you about life and yourself? Which one is going to be riddled with adventures and meeting new people?
I can’t tell you the number of experiences and people I have met in my travels. Looking back on the vacations and family vacations I took this still happened but in such a low number. The percentages are hardly comparable. I’ve met hundreds and thousands of new people throughout my travels. With new stories, ideas, and perceptions of the world around them. From family ideals and philosophy to hobbies and learning new skills. When you take the time to travel you meet the local farmer, the local hammock maker, the tortilla seller, you hear their stories, their adventures. Along the way you find private beaches and lagoons that you never would have found as a tourist. You meet locals, enjoy local foods, and get to know real people living real lives. Are you going to get this experience at Senor Frogs? Are you going to get that sort of knowledge on a cruise ship?
Another aspect of traveling is the therapeutic aw’ness of it all. Having the time to enjoy new environments and explore the things you wish you had the time to explore when you were on a short week long vacation. Not having to worry about a business meeting or getting to work on time with the right shirt on only to deal with some rude disrespectful costumer. The reality is some of the most peaceful moments in my life have been sitting in the grass, leaning up against my backpack, scratching my dogs belly as we waited for a ride. On a cool summer night I could have laid their for hours, watching the sun go down and thinking to myself, “well I don’t mind if I do”. As I take a short nap.
The reality is traveling offers so much more to the soul of anyone doing it. The peace and joy associated with all of it. People offering food to me or my dog. Offering us rides or even a place to stay. All in the name of good conversation. None of these people would have been in my life if I simply flew to my destination. None of these experiences would flow through my memory if I had just taken another vacation, another year of working 9-5, and another year of daily boredom at what my life had become. Traveling will change your perspective on life forever. It will change how you see people, and yourself. You’ll learn more about yourself the first night out there than 18 years of public school and college.
When it comes down to it the only thing that stops you from traveling over a vacation, is your mindset. Traveling is by far much cheaper. From hitch hiking, tents in campgrounds to campers and couch surfing, there are ways to travel extremely cheap. You could probably spend an entire month in Mexico for the price of one night at a luxury hotel. These are realities. It’s not the money, it’s not the time, it’s not your job, it’s only your mind set.