“Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” – Pico Iyer
Travel is a truly beautiful thing. I cannot think of a single other endeavor (perhaps other than yoga) that will both simultaneously rip you apart and tear you up while also lifting you higher and higher to elation.
Travel teaches you endless messages and forces you to grow in unbelievable ways. Travel never bores. It faultlessly offers lesson after lesson. Travel draws you out of your comfort zone to educate you in ways you never even knew existed. It puts your life into drastic perspective and teaches you gratitude and appreciation.
But more than anything else, travel (again, like yoga) draws you back to your inner most self. You travel further not to see better places, but to better see and understand yourself.
Why Money Spent on Travel is Money Well Spent
I am a passionate world traveler, a nomad of sorts. I have explored over fifty countries and lived in six of those. I tirelessly take to the road to continue to learn and grow and experience and live. And I spend all of my money on travel.
And, to be honest, I don’t regret it one bit. There are countless reasons why, but here are five verifiable reasons why it is truly okay to spend all of your money on travel:
5. It Is The Only Thing You Can Buy That Makes You Richer
“Everything I was, I carry with me. Everything I will be, lies waiting on the road ahead.” – Ma Jian
Yoga and travel teach very similar lessons: nonattachment, acceptance, internal reflection and, most importantly, living in the present moment.
It has been scientifically proven that people who spend their money on experiences rather than things are exponentially happier. Experiences create memories that last a lifetime, even long after they have passed. Experiences create lasting relationships and bonds, and promote internal reflection and realizations.
Travel is truly the only thing you can buy that makes you richer in experiences, friends, knowledge, wisdom, memories, and richer in love with this beautiful world we live in. Travel is not a waste of money for short-lived purposes; it is an investment in your own future and, more importantly, in your present.
4. It Will Be Your Greatest Education
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness… Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” – Mark Twain
My two greatest teachers in this life have been travel and yoga. One has taught me about the world. The other has taught me about myself. Travel opens your eyes to everything that you are ignorant about in this world. You learn about history, culture, religions, architecture, art, cuisine and people.
You learn what binds us together as humans and what tears us apart as “enemies.” You learn to face your fears head on and to topple them with compassion and love. You learn about all the devastating historical events that were never covered in your history textbooks and you learn about all the wonderful souls that exist across the globe.
You learn how to take care of yourself and how to manage your budget. You learn so much about yourself as a person, as a member of the human race, as a sentient being of this great earth. And, most importantly, you learn how to live in the present moment, the only moment that truly matters, which is a lesson that only yoga has taught me with equal emphasis.
3. It Draws You Out Of Your Comfort Zone
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkein
Nothing will make you grow more than travel. Travel (sometimes violently) draws you from your comfort zone and forces you to accept different living conditions than you are accustomed to. Sometimes you have to sleep in an uncomfortable bed, miss your favorite food, embarrassingly try to speak a foreign language or trust a total stranger.
Travel teaches you that so much exists outside of your world of comfort. So much growth is awaiting your arrival outside of your bubble of security, if you just have the courage to approach it.
2. It Will Put Everything Into Perspective
“A wise man travels to discover himself.” – James Russell Lowell
I have seen starving children and I have witnessed severe desperation. Nothing has taught me greater gratitude and appreciation for the unbelievably fortunate life that I live than travel.
I have learned that clean, running water is not a guarantee in this life nor is shelter, food, love or security. I have seen how powerful a single US dollar can be and how much a scrap of spare food can transform a person.
Travel has drastically placed my life into very clear perspective and I honestly try to keep that perspective in mind every time that I want to complain about my food being too salty or my water not being cold enough. Seeing how others live has taught me how unbelievably fortunate I am and how much I want to share my incredible (albeit seemingly small) wealth, and that is a lesson that I do not think I could have learned otherwise.
1. You Can’t Afford NOT To
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal!” – Paulo Coelho
The most common question that I am asked is how I afford to travel so much. Obviously there are a few basic factors that allow me to do this.
I am incredibly fortunate to have been born in a country with a strong currency that actually allows me to travel, I have a profession that allows me to tour the world while doing what I love and I, very fortunately, speak the international language, which automatically opens endless doors.
And while, yes, these factors (and many more) play a huge role in how I am able to travel so much, my answer to that question is still always the same: I cannot afford NOT to. Travel has been an endless carrier of wealth for me. It has taught me priceless lessons and completely changed who I am as a person. So my honest answer is, I cannot afford not to travel.
Not traveling, in my opinion, is simply too high of a price to pay in this short lifetime. This world is big and beautiful and unique and interesting and magical. If I don’t go and explore it, I have lost so much more than I ever dare to dream about.
I want to live this very precious life that I have been given. And nothing makes me feel more alive, grateful, and connected than traveling. And, to me, that is worth infinitely more than a savings account filled with millions.