I understand the resistance to travel because of many factors, including money, time and the fear of the unknown. Some people often see it as a luxury, but the truth is; traveling can change your life. I’ve always seen traveling as the cure for everything. I choose to see the money and time as an investment, because that’s exactly what it is. There are so many possibilities and opportunities out there, you just have to go see it for yourself. Ready? Here are 10 reasons why travel should be the #1 thing you need to start investing in now!
Traveling broadens our admittedly narrow horizons, and help us grow in so many ways. I’m a believer that the place where you were born, says very little about who you are. There is so much more to be revealed. You are unlimited. When you start traveling, something inside you changes, you can’t fight it. It’s a beautiful transformation; you become happier. You see the world with the eyes of a child, you enjoy yourself more. You become more creative, inspired, curious, enchanted with the beauties you are yet to see and the ones you already fed your eyes with. Traveling is self-development, it teaches you about your own limitations and to value experiences, the present moments. You are bound to fall in love with something you didn’t even know existed. Another very important thing you learn is tolerance. A lot happens when you travel, and being patient is the key. Whether it is a delayed flight or an overweight baggage drama, you become less frustrated and learn to roll with things. Exchanging experiences with strangers and exploring through this amazing planet takes courage, and you will learn you got a ton of it inside you.
When you travel, you have the opportunity to educate yourself. You not only learn about history, geography, economy but also, cultures and traditions. Once you dive into other cultures, it puts your whole world into perspective. You will be constantly surprised by each culture you learn. It’s all about being present, you have to experience it, and then you will understand exactly where the other person is coming from. Even If you don’t speak their language. To be interested in other cultures says so much about you. It shows respect, and people appreciate that a lot. You start treating people differently, the animals, the environment, and of course, yourself. You start seeing things from a different point of view. All of a sudden, you improve your senses; you observe more, listen better and detach yourself from judgment. “The beauty of the world, lies in the diversity of its people.” – Unknown
Let me start with this beautiful quote from Luke Barr: “Cooking and eating in a foreign country may be the surest, truest way to its soul”. If you look back at your most memorable moments, it probably involves food somehow. I mean, I don’t know about you but I love food. Every time I’m heading to a new destination, I think about all the amazing food that I will get to experience. I try to go eat at places where the locals do as much as possible. You want to immerse yourself in their culture, it brings people together. If you are a picky eater, you can take baby steps, ask around what’s the must-have dessert, for instance. You can’t go wrong with dessert, right? Actually, you can, (trust me on this), but at least you tried. Also, it doesn’t have to be super exotic, could be something simple with a traditional/cultural touch that you haven’t experienced before. Like a Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I’m not a huge coffee fan, but ever since I tried the Vietnamese Iced coffee, I crave it. And Brazilian coffee too, it’s amazing! My dad used to say that even If you haven’t enjoyed a certain type of food, you still have to try it again and again, in different places, cause everyone makes it differently. Food is love, be open to try new things, even if it’s for the sake of improving your palate.
If your ego is attached to the material world, traveling will be a huge positive lesson.
On our last trip to Thailand, we stayed at an amazing luxury resort in Koh Yao Yai. The resort was so big, that even spending around 6 nights there, we didn’t get to enjoy everything. Meaning, you can get lost in that world and not see anything else outside of it. But since I’m very curious to explore the surroundings, we also took time to enter the reality of the people living right outside the resort gates. Some areas were very simple and poor, but there was something beautiful about it; the people always had a big smile on their faces and actually spoke with a lot of gratitude. Every time they did bow, it humbled me, I just wanted to hug them. What I love the most about Thailand, is what they taught me, silently. Simplicity, gratitude and humbleness will get you far. I promise you that. Another example, few months ago, while traveling to the beautiful Norway (one of the richest countries in the world) we met this amazing guy, OJ. He mentioned that many students there (including himself), can’t really afford to go out to eat, like…ever! He is a hiking guide and saved my life (story for another post), so we took him out to dinner as a treat for his kindness. Nowhere fancy, but he was still thrilled. During dinner, we were talking about helping the planet, and how much food is wasted. He said that sometimes, he goes with his friends to the restaurants dumpsters to collect the sealed meat that they throw out. He smiled, he doesn’t waste food. He is part of the solution. His big blue eyes told me he was a happy man. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, so I quietly cried inside. You might not be close to this reality when visiting a country, but still is the reality of so many living in it. It’s humbling to see that the happiest people are the ones who don’t have much. The more you travel, the more you feel like leaving things behind. Remember to always cherish the moment and the presence of the ones around you. Practice gratitude.
“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you’ve travelled.” – Mohamed
By traveling, you will be exposed to other cultures, languages, history, people’s habits, etc. Please understand that there is no going back to the old you, every destination makes you new. You are going to be part of some amazing experiences and eventually you will develop a new skill/interest. I learned by traveling, that I was great at picking up new languages. And I recently discovered that I can mountain bike just fine – I was never really interested in it until I actually tried this time and had so much fun. When you open yourself to the new, you welcome joy. Your brain expands and unlocks areas that were inactive. I’m sure you will catch yourself being more social and charismatic, yes, you have been to that place too and now you have so much to share. Not to mention the access to awesome museums, monuments that were built thousands and thousands of years ago, and how about being able to actually step foot in many prehistoric sites? You will always come home with new ideas, more inspired, and smarter.
Above you see a photo of me in front of the Stonehenge, in England. One of my favorite prehistoric monuments. We will talk about it later in another post.
Get rid of fear, go out there and meet new people. I’m still not a social butterfly, remember I’m a recovering anti-social? Well, it all begun with my mom telling me not to talk to strangers. I took that advice a little too far. BUT, I changed, now I talk out of my elbows lol. When you meet someone while traveling – especially If they are also a foreigner, you already found something in common; you both enjoy traveling! It’s amazing how a great conversation can happen just by “asking for directions”. That’s when you find out you have even more things in common. I can’t even begin to tell you how many friends I have around the globe and it all started with a simple “What time is it?”. It’s a gift to meet open-minded people. Culturally, emotionally, physically, whatever makes you different from the other person, also unites you. We learn so much from others all the time, keep your heart and mind open when meeting new people. Making foreign friends is much more than having a couch to surf on in another country, you can meet the love of your life or your future best friend. Even If you don’t see each other again, you will always remember the great moments together.
If you are one of those people who get lost in walk-in closets, you need to start packing right now lol. I wasn’t always the person that knew what direction to go, even having the map right in front of my eyes. So, yes, I get it, It can be overwhelming. To be fair, I still don’t know where East or West is, but I will get you there! When you are about to leave your hotel, make sure you review your route on a map, and memorize it. I developed a sense of knowing how to move around unfamiliar places pretty quick, by creating mental maps. The more you travel, you will understand there is no reason to panic If you get lost, cause you become more intuitive on where to go next, it will happen naturally. Also, you learn that it’s ok to ask for directions, some people are shy to do so or think it’s an inconvenience to others – it’s not, and It can save you a lot of time and headache.
My first International trip was from Brazil to China. I spoke zero mandarin, they spoke zero english, and oh, so did I. I couldn’t even understand my modeling agency’s text messages without a dictionary. YES, people, the hardcover type. I had one with me everywhere I went, it was ridiculously cute. I wasn’t even 15. I remember going to the grocery store and buying cucumber juice thinking it was lemonade. I had to learn english in order to survive. I couldn’t understand the photographers, I would show up for auditions on the wrong dates, looking for the wrong person. Something needed to happen. I HAD to learn. Thank God for my friend Daniela, she helped me so much, we didn’t have Google translator back then. Today I speak 5 languages. Sure, sometimes I can’t even remember a specific word in Portuguese (my first language) but it happens If you don’t practice. Don’t be afraid to start or engage in a conversation because you think your english is “broken” or your french accent is not perfect. It took me some time to understand that the other person doesn’t care, and sometimes even thinks it’s cute. You will also learn things you are not supposed to say, and catch local habits by observing people. You will never learn If you don’t take the first step. Listen to people talk, ask for them to correct you as you speak. Listen to music, read books in the language you want to learn. The key to learning a new language is to listen. The key to learning anything in life, is to listen.
You expose yourself to so much vulnerability and how awesome is that? Yes, you are expanding, getting out of your comfort zone. It’s not easy to arrive in a new country where many times you don’t speak the language, you know zero, zilch, nada, about their culture – you don’t even know If you like the food. But, guess what? You bought that ticket, you hopped on that plane and you landed, perhaps looking like crap but full of excitement. #YAY. You took action, and that’s what life is all about. You know your way around, even though you have no idea where South is #ICanRelate. You managed to get through a challenge that takes courage, planning, money and time! You became more self-sufficient. And you are always ready for the next destination. #HighFiveBitches
I mean, hello?! The beauties of this world! The awesomeness of this planet. Created beautifully to be our home. Yes, we need to take better care of it. So start taking the first step. Be kind to the places you go. Be nice to people. Be more gentle with children. Be more loving to yourself. When we take care of ourselves, we take care of the planet. And when we take care of the planet, the Universe rewards us in many beautiful ways. When you go out there, honor this gorgeous world, be respectful, be present. Make sure you are taking everything in, letting it transform you. Make sure you make your trip pleasant to not only yourself, but the ones that you left behind and the ones that are on the journey with you. And If you can’t go on a trip soon, stick around, I will take you many places.
Life is short, buy the ticket!