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It was only in 2006 when I first traveled outside my country.  And yes, the experience was like ‘love at first sight’.  The first flight turned to an addiction, which eventually led to finding a passion, an indirect full-time career and a brand new life.  

After 10 years and 36 countries ticked off the list, people still ask me the same question – “Why do you travel?”.  So I decided to compile a list of reasons that immensely rationalizes my concept of wanderlust based on actual experiences that made every travel story meaningful, memorable and inspiring.

1.  Travel brings happiness.  The simple though of landing in a new place is a happy pill.  Not to mention the actual idea of exploring a destination that you’ve never been is just pure bliss.  Whether it’s with family and friends or on your own, seeing new sights, hearing new sounds and tasting new sensations simply stir a positive emotion that boils down to genuine joy.

2.  Travel broadens understanding.  I grew up in a small family of four who are so different from each other.  We’ve managed to live harmoniously though by respecting each one’s individuality and understanding our uniqueness.  Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures expanded my family of four a thousand fold, which further deepened my understanding, appreciation and acceptance of diversity.

3.  Travel expands your comfort zone.  From eating alone, to sleeping in dorms with strangers, to jumping off a cliff close to 200 feet, to surviving -10 degrees under thick snow and a lot more ‘first time’ stories – travel brings offbeat instances that you simply embrace and eventually celebrate.  These experiences make you bolder right at that moment; more importantly, set you free from your tiny security blanket.

4.  Travel creates new relationships and strengthens old ones.  I once heard that the true test of friendship comes when you work together, live together and travel together.  If you remain friends after all three, your companion’s a mate for life.  Because travel brings out the best and worst in people, you clearly see one’s candid truth.  And it is this beautiful reality (the good, bad and ugly) that helps shape the foundation of every relationship.

5.  Travel develops wisdom and maturity.  They say that “experience is the best teacher” and this is the core of this subject.  What you face is a learning opportunity that you won’t read in any book or understand in any abstract concept.  The beauty about the wisdom that you’ll gain and the insights that you’ll takeaway is that they are all so practical, yet profound.  They will automatically make you wiser without you even trying. 

6.  Travel defines your values.  It is inevitable, you’ll be thrown in situations that will challenge the principles you stand for.  You’ll end up holding on to them or throwing them out the window (or most of the time, finding a way to compromise).  Truth be told, there’s no right or wrong answer as each culture’s value formation vary.  The main realization is to find and live the best version of yourself, grounded in values that will define you.

7.  Travel encourages more aspirations.  Trust me, it’s addictive.  Once you’ve ticked off a travel item from your bucket list, you’ll be thirsty to complete more or even add on to your long list.  Universally, people tend to have a natural progression.  Yet, a traveler has a certain drive to do more and be more.  Upon seeing what the world can offer, fear and inhibitions are suddenly gone and you simply aspire for greater heights.

8.  Travel inspires change.  Because the world becomes an open book and you experience how it unfolds, you see and learn new benchmarks that change your views and perceptions.  Being quickly satisfied doesn’t cut it any longer.  You inspire and drive change whether just for yourself or for others.  After being acquainted in a place with endless opportunities, you adapt, change and thrive.

9.  Travel builds character.  All the challenges that occurred throughout my travels helped me know myself better. They eventually defined my ideal self, which I believe I am bringing to life now.  Being in the midst of the unknown is always a character building exercise.  It gives us the opportunity to question our personal norms, give ourselves a boost and realize who we truly are.

10.  Travel pacifies your heart and mind.  Most people travel for leisure.  They see it as a chance to get away from it all, recuperate and heal.  It’s not a form of escape because they end up being excited to eventually go back to reality.  But we see it as a mindset, a choice and a livable concept that warms the heart, clears the mind and feeds the soul.  Some people say that it’s a luxury, but I believe that with all its great effects, it’s more a necessity.

This is not meant to glorify or put such unnatural gloss to what travel is really about or to encourage the shallow definition of going away by mere selfies or social media posts that people tend to do nowadays.

It is to share the beauty that an individual may profoundly encounter because he decided to move from point A to point B and see beyond the surface.  Plus (and more importantly), the after effect of such journey in which the tendency is always to make us a better person, an improved version of ourselves or a work-in-progress creation capable of living life to its fullest.