A note from the Author: I’d like to introduce myself to you all, our readers, as I begin supporting the blog that Adventure EXP wants to create and share with travel enthusiasts & curious minds alike. My name is Justin Nedell and I am an Ohio native, but currently reside in Denver as a full-time Content Marketer. Having lived and worked in multiple countries, I have an intense passion for not just travel, but experiencing different cultures and using these experiences to learn life’s greatest lessons. I’ll be writing to you all through the next year and beyond, hoping to share some of the lessons I’ve learned through my own personal experiences. Travel is something so incredibly valuable and also something that, in my opinion, can only be understood through doing it yourself. Happy reading!
Travel is a unanimously rewarding experience for people, whether it be a month-long staycation at a couple of vacation rentals or a 6-month backpacking trip through the Andes Mountains. You have the opportunity to meet people, hear incredible stories, expose yourself to new cultures & languages, and ultimately grow as a person. It has been sung about, written about, and made into many, many movies.
A common theme – related to travel – is the growth you experience, specifically within your perspective on the world and those who inhabit it. Trust me, it’s real. The little-known secret? You don’t have to travel that far to experience all these benefits. They can be found in your own country or even in your own state. Wherever your trip takes you, I’m going to identify a few of the many ways that these experiences change your perspective on the world.
You Appreciate Home More
A shared motivator among those who enjoy travel, in my opinion, is that we want to experience more in life – a sense of curiosity is a simple way to put it. It’s easy to feel stuck in a place or your hometown and seek out a new experience. Some crave it more than others. However, it’s also important to remind ourselves of what we are grateful for.
You might be just beginning your years at a university or heading off to a summer job at a nearby lake as a first trip away from home. Initially, you feel excited to be in a new place, but eventually, this could hit the stage of homesickness that most people experience at one point or another. There are moments where you’ll feel frustrated with your new environment such as the way people operate or the differences in access to certain things. Maybe they don’t have big parks in the town or people are more relaxed & slow-paced. In our angst with this feeling, we don’t always fully understand it as anything other than missing our family and familiar surroundings.
However, this usually transforms into an appreciation & enjoyment of your new environment, and also of the things we know & love back home. This is one of the most important perspective shifts that we can have while spending time away from home, one where we learn to appreciate our home for what it is. Not only might you appreciate the smallest of things.
You Gain a Broader Perspective on the World
One of the most amazing parts of spending an extended time away from home is that you learn to appreciate other ways of living life that are different from your own. Small habits, behaviors, and routines will fluctuate from place to place, so coming in with an open mind will help you appreciate the news ways in which you live.
You have probably read about this when researching how to prepare for a trip abroad, but experiencing it firsthand allows you to really understand it & appreciate it in a way that cannot be replicated. Humans learn through experience and forming new habits, so imagine forming those new routines in your host location over the course of 6 months to a year. They might just stick.
A simple example of this is how Americans in New England tend to be fast-paced individuals (especially on the roads, watch out!) but when you head to the South, you’ll notice a slower way of life. Now, jet off to Italy and you’ll be greeted with kisses on the cheek, lots of physical touch, and long coffee breaks throughout the day. It might seem interesting at first, but spend some time experiencing this warmth and you might just want to adopt it.
Not all aspects of a new culture are worth taking home with you, but many times you’ll appreciate the experience for what it is: exposure to a different way of living. Once you return home, you might decide to keep some of these small routines alive. It’s something unique you can carry with you and share with others as well. Be sure to arrive at your new short-term home with an open mind so you don’t miss these small nuances.
You’ll Appreciate Experiences Over Material Possessions
You’ve probably heard the jokes about millennials and their younger counterparts having a greater appreciation for spending their money on experiences as opposed to saving it. Well, a study conducted in 2019 by Momentum Worldwide proved it’s validity when they released their findings that 76% of consumers prefer to spend their money on experiences over material goods. This consumer spending on experiences increases every year too. Why buy the latest iPhone when you can spend a week in Paris or the Pacific Northwest?
As a traveler, you’ll be pushed to the limits to be a light packer or learn the hard way. Lugging a large suitcase around town is not something you’ll want to deal with. During your time in a new place, you’ll also understand that obtaining more possessions to transport back home is not ideal, so what will you spend your money on? Experiences.
Think of all the new things you could do in or near Aspen, Colorado for example. There are beautiful hikes, live concerts, world-class skiing, hot springs, and so much more. Living there for a short time would only allow for so much to be enjoyed, so better to maximize your time right? This shift in your motivation to experience things in the area doesn’t leave room for trips to buy a new pair of jeans or the latest pair of Nike.
This eventually transforms into an appreciation and focus on experiences over short-term material possessions. The hope is that it will come back home with you too, after your trip. Material possessions tend to lose their value with time, but oftentimes, good memories will last much longer.
You Realize How Lucky You Are
We won’t deny the many things that travel makes us grateful for; we’ve mentioned quite a few already. The one that we’ve always found most interesting is defined by understanding your privilege in the world. It is safe to assume that those who have traveled are privileged people. To take time to experience new places, whether working or not, is a gift in itself. Many people in the world don’t have that option, so you’re likely to feel a greater sense of appreciation for your position in life after having traveled.
Even citizens of the United States have been reported to fall short in this area, according to a recent study reported on by Forbes and commissioned by the luggage company Victorinox. The study found that 40% of respondents had never left the country and more than half of respondents didn’t possess a passport at all. For a country as developed as the U.S. to show these statistics goes to show you that less-developed nations would probably report even higher percentages.
Outside of the U.S. and within, you’ll likely encounter communities where traveling to another state or even city isn’t an option. Life can get in the way of that sometimes: money, commitments, family, and more. Being able to spread your wings and fly is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted. As you travel and are exposed to other towns & cities, you’ll soon realize that you are part of a smaller group of people. Through conversations, you’ll learn that the knowledge you gain during travels is something to be valued, and is quite often not easily understood by those who haven’t traveled.
Where will you go?
There are myriad reasons to travel and just as many lessons you’ll learn along the way. We covered a few: an appreciation for home, understanding your good fortune, and a shift in your perspective on the world and the experiences it offers. My intention, with this short list, was to prove that travel serves a greater purpose than a perfectly curated Instagram photo or bragging rights. You’ll transform yourself in a million and one ways, thus helping you stand out from the crowd. It’s a beautiful opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
Now, get out there and see the world!
Justin Nedell is a half-retired nomad based in Denver, Colorado who has traveled to over 30 countries while gaining a wider perspective on the world. He spent much of this time teaching English as a second language, working in hospitality, volunteering for nonprofits, and backpacking across multiple continents. Currently, he works remotely as a Content Marketer for PropLogix – a tech-enabled due diligence suite of SaaS services for the real estate industry – while also writing freelance for Adventure EXP.