1. We have an unhealthy tendency to allow our lives to fall into a crippling routine. Encapsulating ourselves within a bubble for delusions of safety, we fear the unknown when we should embrace it. As cliché as it may sound, no gift is more valuable than traveling abroad. Not only will it pop your bubble perspective of the world, but it will pull the safety net out from under your feet, forcing you to live in every moment. It will show you that there is an inherent goodness found within the majority of people on this planet.
2. When we pass away, we leave behind our materialistic belongings. All these life trinkets ever serve as are excuses that traveling abroad isn’t for us — that there are other things our money would be better spent on. We get so wrapped up in spending money on useless junk to justify our existence, we forget how to live in the process. While we also leave behind our memories when we die, it’s the memories we have and share while we are living that matter; they drive us to become better people and to experience the world from different lenses. The next time you are about to spend a buck ninety- ve to upgrade a value meal, start thinking about the possibility of immersing yourself in diverse cultures beyond those of your hometown. That is where true value can be found.
3. You will never escape feelings of fear, dread, and anxiety — but nothing prevents them from
taking over more than being thrust into a different culture. Even when you try your hardest to not look like a stereotypical American tourist, you will fail and make an ass of yourself. Maybe you’ll fall down on the subway for underestimating the rough curvature of London’s tube system. Maybe you’ll get lost every single day without GPS at your disposable. e truth is, none of these hiccups matter. What matters is that you will survive and find your way home. After all is said and done, you will find yourself laughing over how you overreacted to these situations in the past.
4. Traveling abroad triggers your fight or flight response, but it never actually allows the fight aspect to fully kick in. You won’t give in to anxiety because you can’t — not as long as you have something or someone waiting for you back home. In the States, we flee from our problems. Abroad, you will face them head-on and bring back a trophy of self-improvement.
5. Most of all, by traveling abroad you learn without even trying. I still haven’t memorized my social security number, but I can give you the step-by-step play of how to get to Oxford from Bayswater tube station in London. No amount of reading a Travel for Dummies book can prepare you for what awaits, nor what you will learn about your destination and, more importantly, yourself.