Great Benefits of Traveling the World

by Olivier De Winne
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One of my favourite quotes is by Ibn Battuta: “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

It is so true. When you are traveling as a backpacker you will be fulfilled by the country landscape at first but soon you will immerse yourself in different cultures and tradition. You will learn new ways of living. As I told my children, traveling is the school of life. You can’t come back the same; you meet new friends, you discover new food, you see amazing sights and you mingle with the locals. Locals are the best part of the journey because they love to share information with someone who is ready to listen and understand without judgement.

In India, they sacrifice goats for weddings. This may look cruel from our point of view but for them it is literally a big sacrifice – it can cost months of a salary. I was sat outside a street food stand in Vietnam and I had a chat with two Vietnamese next to me. They showed me the meal they preferred, and it was an egg. Not a fresh egg but an egg with a bird foetus inside! You just need to have an open mind and learn everything you can.

Each time I come back from a trip, I’m sad. I need to travel again to see more and learn more. As soon as you start, you will need to carry on.  It’s like a drug. I’m not talking about fully inclusive hotels where you just find a nice buffet and swimming pool with the same people you commute each morning in the train to go to work. I’m talking about traveling Off The Tourist Treadmill.

What Are The Benefits Of Travelling?

1. You Get Detached From Material Possessions

Firstly, the benefits of traveling are to experience not to possess. You are going to live your life, and you will quickly notice that life can be very simple. The most important thing you are going to have is memories, and they are free and last forever. In life, you struggle to possess an object as soon as you can buy it.  You are pleased to get your precious possession.

Do you remember when you bought the latest mobile phone?  You were so proud to show it and you took care of it. Where is your phone now? On the table perhaps with a broken screen and it isn’t precious anymore. However, I always remember my amazing experiences when I travel. These are in my memory forever, just for me, or now for us, because I have the chance to share these experiences with my partner.

mobile phone

2. You Improve Your Social Skills

Traveling alone forces you to communicate with others. Most of the time they aren’t speaking the same language.

You are obliged to ask simple questions like where is the bus station? Or, do you know how I can go there? When I was younger, I was always afraid to ask, but now when I travel, I speak with everybody. As soon you have a smile on your face, you can ask questions even if your language skills aren’t perfect. Most of the time, I use my hands because it is easier. However, I always try to learn few basic worlds like ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’.

With these two words you can ask everything. On your way, you will meet other backpackers and you will be able to have a proper conversation with them and, most importantly, always share tips: where to go, where to sleep here or which bus to use to go there. It is a sharing community. Don’t be afraid, you aren’t alone in the world.

3. Improve Your Patience

If you want to test your patience, you need to travel in India. Here you are going to learn the hard way what patience means. When you travel by backpack, you are like a snail with your house on your back. And like the snail you should travel at a slow pace to appreciate everything completely and have time to enjoy it. If you go to India for just one week, you will be very disappointed. 

You need a lot more time to understand how Indian people think. Everywhere in the world you need to be patient and give yourself time to understand the traditions of the visited country.

The hard bit when I travel is to return to a peaceful state of mind.  I need a good week to calm my mind from the stress of our life. As I said life is simple – we are making it complicated.

waiting man

4. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Get More Creative

When you get out of your comfort zone, your brain creates new connections to help you adapt with a new situation. Basically, this means you are learning to adapt. It may create fear for new travellers but after a few trips, you will learn that there is always a solution.  You may not see it now, but you will at the end. Adapting yourself to a new environment will become a new habit and it will create excitement.

You will be very proud of yourself when you figure out how to solve this problem. When you travel for long periods of time, you are going to have problems to solve. They won’t be the same problems that you have in your house, but others.

The only difference is that you chose to have these problems as you chose this life. Are we going to find a guest house for tonight? Which buses do we need to take to go there? These are the kind of problems you are going to face and you will be creative in finding solutions. If you are ready to take your first step in getting out of your comfort zone, click here to read how to travel cheaply or for free.

5. See The Real World

You can watch the real world on plenty of TV travel programmes. You can see videos of your friends, but this isn’t real. When you are in front of the volcano, “Piton de la Fournaise” (eastern side of Reunion Island), you appreciate exactly how big it is and how dangerous it can be. All your senses are alive; you can see it, you can feel it and when it rumbles, you can smell it. You will then realise that we are small compared to nature and you will feel alive.

6. Uncertainty Isn’t Your Enemy

Gradually, you are going to learn not to be afraid of uncertainty.  You will face situations where you just don’t know the best solution. You may be stuck because you don’t have the answer.  Perhaps you planned to use this train, but typically it isn’t working today. You are going to learn how to face uncertainty and not be afraid of it. We are slow travellers so there are no time constraints.  Go for a breakfast and think about other solutions that the country can offer you. Instead of being upset, use this time to do something else. Learn to not let uncertainty dictate your life.


7. Learn New Ways Of Doing Things

You are in a new country with new traditions and culture, so you need to learn from scratch the basics. Going to the toilet in India can be challenging sometimes. You are doing your business and you notice there isn’t toilet paper.  When you entered the toilet, you noticed this water pipe and you don’t know why they put a water pipe in the toilet. Now you know why.  For this reason, they always eat with their right hand in India because the left is for the toilet paper. Never use the left hand to eat in India or you will upset the locals!

8. Get Liberated

As soon I land in a new country, my senses get heightened. I feel a lot of freedom.  As soon I’m outside, I take a deep breath and I already feel comfortable. Excitement, excitement – how do we get to the city? Do we need a taxi or there is another way? I don’t particularly like using taxis.  I just tend to use them when there is no other solution. Take time to think.  Don’t rush everywhere.  Instead, look for local and watch them. What are they doing? Maybe you can ask them.

Don’t get stressed by the taxi vendors. It is a new country with plenty of new experiences.  You can go wherever you want, and you can taste new street food. The key is to do what you want to.  You are free with no commitments anymore.


9. You Need To Believe In You

You may feel lost, perhaps you don’t know where you are, or you don’t know how to get to the hotel. Don’t worry, your confidence will be boosted year after year. You are the competent and you are going to learn very quickly. What you need is to have some common sense. You are not going to travel alone in the middle of nowhere during the night as it will be not safe. You are going to make little victories each day and that will boost your confidence.

10. Educate Yourself

You are going to experience plenty of different cultures and traditions and you are going to learn a lot about these traditions. When travel infrequently, you read the first page of a big book. You don’t know the book is full of different ways of living. If you never turn the page to see the other side, you will miss a lot of education and different people’s philosophy.

By traveling, you are going to open your mind to all different cultures. Never judge other’s beliefs, but instead try to understand them even if they are very different from what you think. Be modest!  Do think you have the truth in your hands and the others are wrong? By understanding and opening your mind, you will educate yourself to new horizons.

11. Create Unforgettable Memories

I started this article with a quote of Ibn Battuta.  You will be speechless at the beginning but traveling will transform you into a storyteller. You will create memories along your travels whether they are an old lady in the local market or when you arrive at the Machu Picchu. Believe me, you will remember them. Think about it.  What did you do last week? It’s hard to remember, isn’t it?

12. Extend Your Social Circle

While you are traveling, you will meet plenty of other people.  Some of them are going to become friends and you may host them for a couple of days in your house. By travelling, you will become rich – rich in your mind and rich in your heart. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.

people have fun

13. Have Fun

Whether you are old or young, you need to have fun. Nobody is here to judge you.  If you want to sing karaoke, do it even if you are a terrible singer like me!  Go with others and participle in all activities. Get out of your comfort zone and try everything you want to. Everybody feels conspicuous when they are doing things they are not good at, but not trying things because you are afraid is worse.

14. Health Benefits Of Travelling

At home, I always have problems with congestion, or I’m tired, or I have the flu. When I travel, everything looks and feels much better.  Most of the time, we eat street food where the food is fresh, we walk a lot, we are always outside doing something or relaxing with a book and we are doing plenty of activities. All this helps our body to get better and to be in better shape.  Importantly, our mindset is more relaxed.

15. Traveling Helps You To Discover New Flavours

When you are traveling, there is amazing food everywhere and I love to go and discover it. Most of the time I’m not sure of what I’m eating but it is always full of new flavours. How good is it to have a very big fresh lobster grill, or simply an amazing soup?

Great Benefits of Traveling the World and Why traveling is important?

Traveling helps you to understand yourself better.  It helps you to learn to be more confident, to learn the only limit is the limits you put on yourself. There are better things in life than material objects. You will be proud of yourself regardless of whether you achieve one big goal or lots of small goals. These are the benefits of traveling abroad.

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