My first overseas trip was when I was 22 to the good ol’ USA. I hit all the major cities including Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas and Philadelphia. Later I went to Europe and toured around the UK, Germany, Belgium and Austria. After a while though I kind of got over these destinations. That’s not to say these are bad or boring places; far from it! But at a certain point western culture becomes similar. When you have seen one European church you get tired of seeing the next 17.
After this realisation I became better at the ability to keep an open mind. I became more open to venturing to places that aren’t necessarily popular destinations. Looking for a complete change to what I was used to, I became open to going absolutely anywhere. I’m now fond of telling friends that if they want to go somewhere just let me know where and when and I’ll be there. I don’t care where it is, I can always find something great about it.
With that in mind, here are my top reasons for you to keep an open mind and allow yourself to go anywhere in the world!
The thrill of the unknown
This may be one of the biggest reasons for travel for me. I love the nerves and excitement of travelling somewhere I know little about. I love the culture shock and seeing exactly how other people live. Before travelling, I will always read books and articles about a country to try and gain some insight into what to expect and what challenges the people there face. But nothing is ever like the real thing. By being open to going anywhere you gain the ability to throw yourself head first into a completely unknown adventure. It’s utterly thrilling.
Travel cheaper and for longer
Generally, the most popular destinations are also the most expensive. Tickets and accommodation around Europe, Japan and the US will always set you back more than other countries. By being open to going anywhere you can cut costs, allowing you to travel cheaper for longer.
One of my favourite tips is to follow the cheap airfares. I hadn’t ever really considered going to Sri Lanka until I saw a sale offering cheap airfares to Colombo. Now I’m booked and ready to go! Check out Scott’s Cheap Flights and have a look regularly at Vayama, Google Flights and Skyscanner to catch any bargains. The destination at the end may be unknown but you’ll save a packet and be able to stay for longer.
Find more authentic experiences
By being open to going anywhere you’ll inevitably wind up off the typical tourist trail in some far flung destinations. Saying ‘yes’ to opportunities allowed me to travel with a nomadic family in Morocco, a completely authentic experience I will never forget. By getting away from the popular paths trodden by thousands before you will be able to really get a feel for another culture and people and truly understand it. There’s more to travel then finding the best bars.
Push outside your comfort zone
Try something new. Travel where you can’t speak the language. Go somewhere where the dominant religion is different to yours. Go to a third world or developing nation, or one with a different political regime. All of these things will test and challenge you in ways you don’t know. This isn’t to say you should be silly about it; always make sure of your safety first. There’s no need to go to a war zone just because it makes you uncomfortable! But embrace new experiences and go places that will challenge in good ways. Doing so will teach you to keep an open mind and embrace differences. By doing that……
You’ll look at everything differently when you return home
Travel changes us. It can make us more aware of who we are and what our values are. After seeing another part of the world you won’t look at yours the same way again. Seeing a different culture and a different way of life can make you appreciate your own or wish there were aspects your own city could embrace. Sometimes it is hard to incorporate these new aspects or hobbies into your daily life (I work in a corporate job fulltime and they aren’t keen on my Spanish siesta idea!) but try and you will find new ways to look at and appreciate your home in the same way you did others.