Night Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but it is played out, over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.
– Pat Conroy

I was fortunate to experience a little world travel early on in life and it isn’t much compared to other travel bloggers out there, but it was enough to spark my desire to see more and explore more.

World travel can really enrich your life in ways that you may never have considered.

This list is based on my experiences and illustrates how.

World Travel…

1.  Causes You To Value Experiences  More Than Material Possessions

River Thames-Big Ben-London-Evening

My mum pauses for a picture on the River Thames. Big Ben & Parliament in the distance.(2008)

 

Walking the city streets of London, going to museums, and sight-seeing with my mother was a priceless experience.  I’ve traveled many times with family and friends to new and exciting places around the world even when my budget was tight, but I’ll never regret making those trips happen.

I think of all the money I’ve earned and spent on material things in the past 20 years, and many of those items I no longer possess or ever really needed in the first place.

Then, I think of all of the memorable times I’ve taken trips outside of the United States. with my friends, girlfriends and family that still make me smile.

Those trips with special people are more valuable to me than any time spent in an office, or any expensive item I’ve ever purchased.

World Travel…

2.  Builds Patience & Develops Your Respect For Other Cultures and Traditions

Wat Phra That-DoiSuthep - Chiang Mai -Thailand

A nervous Wai to a monk who was meditating on the ground inside temple.
Oops! I didn’t mean to interrupt his meditation 🙁 Chiang Mai, Thailand (2013)

 

Once, I accidentally disrupted a monk who may have been quietly meditating inside this small prayer room at Wat Phra That.  I learned in Thailand that when someone greets you with their hands together in a prayer position, it is called a Wai.  The type of Wai you perform is  based on the social status, or person’s level of maturity.

If you want to show respect to a monk, or priest you would place your thumbs between your eyebrows as you bow your head.   If it is someone who is the same age you would place only your index fingers to your nose as you bow your head.  If you don’t know and someone wai’s to you, then just place hands together in front of your chest.

There are many customs, traditions, and even taboos that you will learn about when traveling in a foreign country.  Even something as simple as removing my shoes before entering a home in Thailand became very natural to me after some time.

It’s best to respect the customs of the place you are visiting and try to find out what they are before arriving.  I believe assimilating to the culture, I lived in, deepened the whole experience for me.

World Travel…

3.  Sharpens Your Senses and Awareness

Wat Phra That - Doi Suthep Signing Scroll

Signing a scroll at Wat Phra That as Doug cheeses for the camera. (2013)

 

Traveling in foreign countries where your native language is not commonly spoken by locals will force you at some point to learn a few common phrases in the local language to accomplish even the most mundane tasks.  Exchanging currencies in another language and repeatedly calculating every price in your head while learning numbers in a new language keeps you sharp and focused.

Your senses are keen to the new sights, sounds, and smells as you become more aware of your surroundings and take mental notes of all the exotic and unfamiliar stimuli.

It could be that peculiar historical monument that you are seeing for the first time, the massive rock formation that looks like its from another planet, or the huge elephant that just stepped out in front of your motorbike as you were coasting around a corner.

Wherever the new destination it is, it will hold endless possibilities of new life experiences that make this whole world a lot more interesting and no longer intimidating.

World Travel…

 4.  Allows You To See The Bigger Picture

Pai Canyon - Little Human In A Big World

If you look closely you will see my buddy Tyson dwarfed by the landscape @ Pai Canyon, Northern Thailand

 

I used to watch the Travel channel religiously at home.  I lived vicariously through the hosts of different travel-themed shows, and envied how lucky the hosts were to travel and get paid for it.  I would often dream how much better it would be to see those exotic places “with my own eyes”.

During a trip to the Grand Canyon in 2005, I was amazed how grand and beautiful it really was.  It was one of those times when I thought how videos and photos didn’t really capture the depth and immensity of such places.

That trip reminded me how small we really are in the grand scheme of things.

They say, “It’s a small world after all.”

Literally speaking though, we are pretty small in comparison to other planets.  As you can see in the picture above, the world is an enormous and beautiful place, and it’s up to us to take time out of our busy lives to appreciate it.

 World Travel…

5.  Teaches You New Ways of Doing Things…

…and Will Inspire You To Learn Something New

SurfHouse-Flowrider-Kata Beach-Phuket-Thailand

Learning to Ride the Flowrider on Kata Beach Phuket, Thailand

Learning to adapt to the way things are done in other countries, will be awkward at first.   You might even realize, for the first time that everything you do in your native country is not always the best way, just different.

One of the most exciting parts about traveling to a new country is that you will most likely have the opportunity to learn something new.

Take surfing lessons on an exotic island in the Caribbean, take cooking lessons in SE Asia, sign up for a language immersion course in South America, or learn about organic farming and sustainability at an eco-friendly resort in Central America.

So much to learn and so little time.

World Travel…

6.  Forces You To Be More Outgoing and Social

Kecak Dance Uluwatu -Fire and Trance Dance Bali-Indonesia

Getting Involved At The Kecak Fire & Trance Dance in Uluwatu, Bali – Indonesia (2014)

 

I got caught chanting at the top of my lungs and waving and shaking my hands in unison with strangers I  just met at a fire dance ritual in Bali (see picture above).

Singing karaoke with locals at a dive bar in Chiang Mai or chugging beers and cheering with your British ex-pat friends during a Manchester United Football Match at 3am on an island in the Andaman Sea soon becomes the norm when you are traveling.

I’ve noticed while traveling how easy it is to meet people in foreign countries.

There are many other adventure seekers like you out there, maybe even you’re soulmate, but you’ll never know unless you go.

World Travel…

7.   Helps You Find Yourself and What Makes You Happy.

RumRunners Island Bar-Islamorada-Florida Keys

Maggie finally gets a taste of island living after moving to Key Largo
Islamorada, Florida Keys, USA

 

I visited Costa Rica for 2 weeks on a surf trip in 1996.  I remember meeting a bartending couple from Miami, who owned a tiki hut bar on Playa Hermosa and a Canadian Couple with a bed and breakfast in Tamarindo.  Actually, many of the restaurant, hotel and bar owners that we came across were from other countries and living in their idea of paradise.

That summer, I enjoyed surfing and exploring with my friends.  I really loved meeting interesting people from all over the world and eating local dishes for cheap prices!

Surfing Costa Rica 2009 - Playa Escondida

Aaron, Jason, Chicken, and J.P. showing me their favorite surf spots near Jaco, Costa Rica (2009)

 

The motto or saying in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” translated as “Pure Life”, I know for that brief moment in time I experienced just that.

Every so often when all of my old friends are together, we reminisce about those trips.  We used to talk about how we should buy land and build houses or surf camp resorts, just like the people we met.

It’s still never too late.

To travel is to take a journey into yourself. – Danny Kaye

World Travel…

8.  Gives you a real sense of freedom.

Macaws Flying over Playa Esterillos Oeste-Costa Rica

Macaws flying overhead on Playa Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica

 

The feeling you get when you’ve landed in a new country and you’re trying to figure out where to get money exchanged and how to get from the airport to a city you’ve never seen can be a little overwhelming but exciting at the same time.

It could actually be the moment you get on that train and stick your head out the window.

It could be while hiking the mountains of the Himalayas and stopping for a cup of tea, or your first motorbike ride on a quiet country road as the sun sets.

Wherever it might be, you know that feeling I’m talking about.

When you’ve left so much behind and let things go, you feel liberated, and excited at the notion that you have no idea what’s going to happen next.

Another way to describe it, is remembering how excited you where when the school bell rang on the last day of school before summer break.

I am sure you remember that feeling.  It’s kind of like that, but even better.

World Travel…

9.  Creates Countless Unforgettable Memories

Imperial Express 1st Year Open Breckenridge Ski Resort Colorado

Scott Claims Victory at the top of Breckenridge Highest Lift in US at the time. (2006)

 

Obviously, many of us will have amazing experiences in our lives aside from any trip that we might ever take.

Traveling breaks up the monotony of our routine lives.  If you’ve taken one vacation in the past year outside of your hometown, you might remember most of what you did for the few days you spent on that trip and you probably have pictures to prove it.

Try to recall what you did last week, or the week before that.   Can you remember anything?  Unless there was a special engagement, birthday, wedding, or project you completed, it’s probably all just a blur.  We find things to do to occupy our time all the time, and many of these activities are just a waste of time.  Television is an example.

Why not work towards planning a trip far away from home?  If you can’t, try a new restaurant that serves authentic dishes of whatever country or region you’d like to visit.  Attend a festival or a concert in a genre different than what you are used to.

The more you travel or expose yourself to different cultures, the more you will learn, and the more you will be open to trying new things and creating your own unforgettable memories.

World Travel…

10.  Brings Interesting People and New Relationships Into Your Life

 

My favorite part of traveling is meeting so many different people, like I said, it’s easier to meet people on the road.

I’ve met some really special people.  Some of them I still remain in contact with, and they will probably be life-long friends.

I’ll never forget any of them and what’s crazy is, I have an interesting story that goes with almost every one of those pictures!

Thanks for reading this post and if you liked it please let me know or just share.

Also, if you have something you’d like to add please leave it in the comments below!

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. 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

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Brian Dennis

I am a software test engineer, ex-mental health counselor and wanna-be vagabond with a passion for traveling, board-sports, nature and photography.
I want to provide information that will inspire you to learn more about our beautiful world and the people that live in it.
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