There has been a series of events, questions, conversations and self reflection that has led to this post. I am the type of person that likes to share my passions (Exhibit A: Why I Started Running And Why I Still Run) and in order to really get to know who I am, I feel that I must share the origin story of another one of my biggest passions: travel.
The question most often asked by friends, family, and strangers on the internet is ‘Why do you travel?’. There are SO MANY reasons why I travel but it’s not time for me to write a book (yet) so I will try to keep this as concise as possible. Check out 14 reasons why I started traveling and why I still travel. Let me know which is your favorite.
And before you ask, yes, this post has already inspired a future ‘Why YOU Should Travel’ post so stay tuned for that!
Before we get into the reasons why I still travel, let’s start with why I started traveling.
Growing up, my family did not have a lot of money, so family vacations were not really a thing. The only time we ever left our home state of Arizona was to visit family in Mexico. So I guess I should consider myself lucky that I even had a passport that young….but this didn’t feel like traveling to me. We would drive the twelve long hours to Chihuahua, Mexico because we couldn’t afford plane tickets so I would spend the majority of the time sleeping and when I was awake, I would get car sick (not my idea of glamorous travel).
After I graduated from high school and started college, my friends started getting internships and jobs outside of the state of Arizona. So the very first time I got on an airplane (at 18 years old!!) was to visit my friend Ashley who had gotten an internship with Disneyland in California. This first airplane ride changed my life, it was the first time in my life I actually felt like I was traveling, and it was an enjoyable experience that I wanted to keep doing over and over again. And side note, it also confirmed that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer because airplanes were as awesome as I had always believed!
That was what started my travel journey, but so much has happened since then and I now have even more reasons why I still travel. I hope the following reasons resonate with you or inspire you to begin your own travel journey.
To See The World
As a kid the only places I really knew were Arizona and my parents’ hometown in Mexico but my little heart knew that there was more out there. I travel today because I want to get to know every corner of the world, I want to meet the people in these places, I want to learn the history. I want to see it all. Travel gives me the opportunity to discover how beautiful nature can be in different parts of the world.
My favorite part about visiting new countries isn’t always seeing attractions that are famous or familiar, it’s seeing everyday things that are just a little different from what we have back home.
To Experience A Real Vacation
Growing up, my family didn’t have much money so family vacations were not a big thing. So as soon as I started working, I made it a priority to save money and make travel an important part of my life. I want to experience those things that I missed out on and I’ve been very blessed to be able to take my parents and siblings with me around the world. When I have kids, I will also make sure that they see the world.
To Learn About The World
It’s so important to know what is happening around the world and to know where places are. For small reasons like getting a trivia question correct but also to understand that the problems happening across the world are closer to you than you might think.
To Visit Friends
I have been blessed to have many, many friends from all different parts of my life: childhood, high school, college, and professional life. These friends are nice enough to take me under their wing and show me their cities because these places they live in are now a reflection of themselves. And it’s always nice to reunite with old friends.
To Connect With Others
In a team meeting at work we were talking about where people where from and with every city, I realized that I had been to all of my coworkers’ hometowns. This made me feel connected to them in a way that I had never realized. I am so different from my coworkers but to know that we both had been to the same place and had the same food was really impactful. With each conversation, I found myself connecting and bonding with people who I may have otherwise had nothing in common with. I found myself being super grateful to have visited new places because with each new experience, I had grown and evolved personally. Travel was the reason I connected with these coworkers and these connections are the reason why I keep traveling. The world is so beautiful and there is so much to experience, and I am here for it.
To Appreciate Different Cultures
Travel has allowed me to open my mind and understand others. The first time I went to a country without knowing the language (Hello Belgium) was when I truly understood how immigrants felt living in the United States. I began to understand how vulnerable and uncomfortable they must feel and how intimidating it is to not know what people are saying.
To Appreciate My Own Culture
Traveling really drives home all of the history that we grew up learning and it truly makes you appreciate how similar we can be to people who live halfway across the world. Despite our many cultural differences, it shows that we still have some similarities.
To Experience A New Place Via Food and Drink
I LOVE FOOD. I especially love food from different places because the flavors from around the world can be so different than anything you’ve ever tasted. One great thing about living in the United States is that there are so many places to try international food (Little Italy in New York City, Chinatown in San Francisco, etc)…but traveling takes it one step further. Trying Italian food in Italy was such a surreal experience and I cannot stress enough how important food and drink can be when it comes to travel. Being able to eat and drink a specific dish or drink where it originated, in complete authenticity is one of my favorite parts about travel.
I have always said that racism and prejudice is fixed with travel. If you travel to a new place where you are a minority, where you don’t speak the language, where you don’t quite fit in…you will understand and become just a little more empathetic to how others feel.
Everywhere I have gone has had a big impact on my personal evolution. With every trip, with every waterfall, with every city, I’ve achieved some sort of growth.
To Visit Loved Ones (Before It’s Too Late)
This may be a really morbid point but we don’t live forever. Life isn’t always promised so take the time now to visit your friends and family while you still can.
To Connect To My Day Job
This one might be very specific just to me but traveling and my day job go hand in hand, not because I have unlimited vacation (thanks Honeywell) but because I work on aircraft! Being able to fly on the aircraft that I worked on for years (Boeing 787 Dreamliner) to Spain was so epic.
To Discover A New Place Via Running
One of the many reasons that I love to travel is because it affords me an opportunity to do another thing that I love : run. Running in a new city, new state, new country makes me feel like a local while visiting. It also gets me familiar with the area and when I go out exploring for real, I’m able to navigate to key points of interest without using google maps. Just ask my travel buddy from Toronto, I was able to get us to the Royal Ontario Museum without using my phone and he was impressed.
To Share With Others
I think everyone should travel, because it really is life changing…but one of the best parts about having a blog is that I have the opportunity to share my travels with those who are unable to travel for one reason or another. I have received so many incredible messages from people who have told me ‘thank you for sharing your experience in [insert location here] because I’ve always wanted to visit but can’t for [insert genuine reason here]’. It makes me sad that some people aren’t able to experience travel to far away places due to funding, immigration status, etc. I hope with my blog, they are able to learn about different places even if they never get the opportunity to visit.
Because I Enjoy It
Traveling is so fun and I genuinely enjoy it. I enjoy the long flights, the unexpected bumps in the journey, the hilarious fails that ensue…because for every terrible side of travel…there will always be way more glamorous reasons to keep doing it.
Travel isn’t always flying to a new place, travel can be taking a road trip to a new state or walking to a new area of your neighborhood. Travel can be anything and everything and I hope you experience it. Let me know which reason you like the best, enjoy! There are so many reasons to start doing something, and even more reasons to continue. I hope this list inspires you to go out and start your own travel journey whether it’s by exploring a new area in your own city or by booking a flight to that far away country.
To get more inspiration, check out my past posts about travel here. Thank you all for reading, and stay enthusiastic!