We haven’t been around very long. There are people living to be 100, and some of us are barely passing the quarter-century mark. Because of this, there are a lot of things that seem fresh and new, merely because we haven’t been at a point in life long enough to have the means or ability to experience them.
One of those things is travel.
Now, some of you are army brats—you’ve had your fair share of moving trucks and new schools. But that wasn’t traveling for traveling’s sake. Others are either in college, starting new jobs, new lives, new relationships, etc. This is the best time to travel; you’re unattached, have less responsibility than you’ll have in ten years, and hold a vivacity for life that will surely, and sadly, dull with time.
Don’t let it dull you before you get a chance to travel! And to help convince you, here are four of the biggest perks to traveling as a millennial today:
Experience Through Your Senses
This is possibly the most fun thing about travel. Experiencing the country through your senses—seeing its buildings and people, hearing them talk in their native language, smelling the food from street vendors, and tasting things you’ve never heard of, trailing your hand along a railing at a river's edge—is a unique and wonderful experience. It is new, and therefore, stimulating. I'll never forget London on a Sunday afternoon; a street performer played the tuba that shot flames out of the top while I nibbled on Maltesers and unzipped my jacket to feel the unseasonably warm breeze. What a remarkably memorable sensory experience!
Become More Open-Minded
Traveling has a way of opening a person up to new things. It comes from being thrown into a foreign culture where practically everything is new. Once you’ve adjusted to that, you’ll find that the open mindset sticks with you for life, easily transferring to day-to-day tasks as well. When I was in my first area of travel last year in the U.K., I was too scared to try any new food or activities. However, by the end of the trip I was eating haggis and riding the Tube with the best of them!
Meet New People
If you’re anything like me, initial introductions are terrifying. I’m not shy by any means, but for some reason meeting people turn my blood cold. Luckily, traveling abroad seemed to greatly alleviate this problem. I don’t know if it was the fact that I would never see these people again (unless I chose to), but my inhibitions just drifted away. It reassured me to realize that this was the only encounter I might ever have with them; I could not awkwardly run into them in the grocery store a week later because a week later I would not even be in the same country! Getting over that initial aversion soon led to some strong friendships. And what stronger form of bonding is there than getting lost in a foreign country together?!
Compare Your Culture to Others In A Positive Way
When I studied abroad last year, my professors constantly told me: “Don’t compare your culture to theirs” because the natives would find it offensive and ignorant. I agreed with them on a certain level. Obviously, I wasn’t going to climb up on Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square (London) and shout: “Death to the Brits because they don’t have anything in common with Americans!” Aside from looking completely idiotic, I agree that many people would have found that comment—as my professors said—ignorant and rude. However, I think that there is a positive way to draw a comparison between two cultures and see where one fills in the other's gaps. Seeing the stark contrast between the two almost always buoyed my opinion of both cultures.
Obviously there are many more perks to traveling (souvenirs anyone?). This is, by no means, a comprehensive list. So make up your own list of travel perks. Is it the food you enjoy most? Or the sites? In my opinion, anything that gets you out the door and on a plane is fantastic. Let this abridged list of perks be the catalyst to a lifetime of travel!