We got to a cross-roads in our relationship and in our lives, about two years ago. We had good jobs and a bit of money. We could have invested the next few years climbing up our career ladders, purchased a house and a lengthy mortgage to go with it, or we could spend our money and go traveling. 100 points for guessing which path we chose! We did jump into it not really knowing what to expect, but one year later, we’ve come to realise we made the right choice. If you’re wondering if and why you should travel, here’s some of the reasons that made it worthwhile for us.
Traveling Puts Things in Perspective
Your eyes are opened. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been sheltered all of my life. The first time I saw a homeless person in London I freaked out and crossed the street. In Cambodia especially I saw people missing limbs, on the streets, begging for coins. All my life I’ve only ever seen old people in a comfortable house, watching TV, or in a shopping centre having a coffee. Not bent over backwards working in a rice field, having to worry about buried bombs.
I’m not a better person because I’ve seen these things in a foreign country, but I feel I’m more understanding of what happens in the world. I’m not so wrapped up in my own world anymore wondering which dress I should buy online, or which cocktail I should order. I feel I’m a bit more grateful for the opportunities I’ve been offered in my life and that my life isn’t so bad; that I shouldn’t complain if I’m working full time and Monday morning rolls around.
Traveling Introduces You to Different People and Different Cultures
Luckily, you and I speak a very universal language, and this has allowed us to communicate with people from different countries. Yes, we’ve met locals from the countries that we’ve visited, but more interestingly, we’ve met other travellers from various countries. We’ve heard their stories, their viewpoints, and what life is like in their countries. You can learn interesting things too; I met an Israeli who explained that as he was Jewish and held an Israeli passport, he would not be welcome to Muslim countries like Malaysia or Indonesia! I never knew this prior to speaking with him. What an absurd rule!!
Most people I’ll never speak to or see again, and thank god for that. But there are a few people we’ve met on our travels that we will remember fondly and we consider really good friends. So many people have offered their homes to us if and when we visit their home country, and we now have acquaintances from lots of countries that we can ask for advice and can show us around when we travel around their region.
Traveling is a Worthy Investment
I love money. I love spending money. I love making money. But money can always be made, and you don’t necessarily need a lot of it to make great memories. We’ve spent a huge chunk of our savings for this year long adventure but I think it’s been a worthy investment so far. The money is gone but our memories of having a motorbike accident, engaging in an epic water fight with a remote village, or seeing Ho Chi Minh’s dead body, will always remain and be good conversation starters. We know we can make money again one day, we’re lucky that we live in countries where we could easily pick up a job in a bar or an office. If you can afford to travel, you can easily get a job and make money again.
Traveling is Fun
We are so lucky to have the choice and chance to travel. In Cambodia we struck up a friendship with the three receptionists at our guesthouse. They remembered our names, we could barely pronounce theirs, they gave us fruit and tea everyday, we made them laugh with our poor Khmer, etc. On the last day they asked us where we would be going on our trip and we quickly reeled off a list of countries that we were planning on visiting. They were in awe and remarked that we were so lucky since they would never get the chance to even visit their neighbouring countries as getting a passport would be very difficult. I felt so bad there and then for not even considering that not everyone in the world would be given the chance to travel like us. If you have the chance, you should definitely just do it. There is no reason not too.
So proud of you two. Enjoy the rest of your trip.