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Hiking in Yading National Park. Sichuan Province, China

Mark Twain once wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”   Mohamed stated, “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.”  John Steinbeck said, “People don’t take trips…trips take people.”

Learning from other people and cultures through traveling has completely changed my life.

Visiting a rural home in Cambodia

Discussing spiritual ideas with Buddhist monks high in the Himalayas, huddling under blankets at night at Día de los Muertos in Michoacán, Mexico, and joining the joyous throngs singing and dancing in Brazilian carnival will change you.

When you travel you become more humble, and more aware of vast variety of the world around.

You become more patient, as you become a journeyer who is not in micromanaging every second.  You become more trusting, as you realize that this world is full of good people who will help you along your way.  You become more compassionate as you see that everyone in this world wants to love and be loved.

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Having dinner with a local family in Brunei

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  Yes, the first step to get out the door and travel the world can seem daunting, but millions of people have done it!  Fear cannot stop you from living your dreams.

 

I have been there countless times…the unsureness and excitement of not knowing exactly what will happen when I get to a new country.  Every time I go, as soon as I get in a new country, the richness of my experiences reminds me not to let fear or doubt get in the way!  Here are a few ideas to help you get started on your journey.

Millions of People Travel

There are hostels, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, maps, and tourist information all over the world.  Millions of people of all ages are traveling right now.  I have met teenagers to people my grandparents’ age on the move, loving life.  In most places of the world where you want to go there is a major tourism industry set up to help you!

Friends at my Portuguese language class in Curitiba, Brazil

You Will Not be Alone

I have met thousands of people in hostels, guesthouses, restaurants, tours, buses, and walking around on my journeys.  If you want people to do things with you will have loads of options.  Everyone else who travels is like you, trying to soak up a new place and looking for people to share their experiences with.  You will meet countless interesting people who love sharing their stories with you and hearing yours.

People are Good

All over the planet I have been helped by thousands of people.  Don’t let the news fool you.  A couple of years of Graham Hughes became the first person to visit every nation in the world without taking a flight.  When asked what stood out the most to him he responded,

“That the world is full of good people who are willing to help you.”  When you travel you will have questions, but rest assured as there will be someone there who can lend a hand.

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New buddies at our hostel in Yunnan Province, China

Travel Makes You Better

1. Travel makes you smarter. On the road learning is real. I’ve talked with people who have fought rebels in Colombia, seen East Timor become a country, trained pro baseball players in Cuba, and become monks in Myanmar.  These experiences can’t be taught in books!

2. Travel makes you less materialistic. When you travel you learn what you need. Extra stuff gets in the  way of you having more awesome experiences.

3. Travel makes you more adaptable and easy-going. You will learn that stress is unneeded. The bus will arrive, you will have a place to stay, you need to trust that there is good today and will be good tomorrow.  You quickly learn that there will be curveballs thrown your way, but that you can handle them with poise and patience.

The Pico family in Bogota, Colombia who treated me like family

4. Travel makes you confident. When you climb Mount Fuji, navigate Bangkok, Thailand, or Sao Paulo, Brazil, or learn to surf in Mexico you will be more sure in your ability to achieve what you set your mind to.

5. Travel makes you awesome. When you do come home you will have experienced and seen that many of your friends and family will have only seen on TV, read about on the internet or dreamed about. Your stories and ability to share can help inspire them to get out and see the world!

Buddies in the Colombian military who fight against the rebels

You Will Have New Experiences and Adventures Every Day

I used to be a more narrow-minded person.  Travel has ripped this mask off in a hurry.  Trying new food, becoming fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and taking countless new adventures has taught me that the more you try new things the more fun and exciting life will be.

Staying with a friend’s family in Manuas, Brazil

Many Countries Will be Much Cheaper than Your Own

Growing up in the United States, the cost of living is high compared to much of the world.  You will be amazed at how little you can spend when you travel to Latin America, Southeast Asia, or Eastern Europe.

Crossing the border from Thailand into Myanmar

There is Never a “Perfect Time” to Travel 

There will always been some reason not to go….not quite enough money saved, a social event, not enough time to make it worth it.  There is always a reason to put off your journey till another day.  Just go!  You won’t regret it!  If there are good activities now for you at home, there will be good activities when you get back too.