There is a surprising amount of people in the world who find themselves pinching pennies while dreaming of traveling to new places yet hold themselves back due to fear. Whether the fear consists of work, school, deadlines or financial instability, it almost always wins over one's hopes for adventure.
If this is the case regarding your life at the moment, there is something you have to keep in mind. It is a cliche for a reason - you must live every day like it's your last.
Yes, it's easier said than done, but there are ways to make it work and so many reasons to allow yourself the chance to see the world. Everyone should have that chance, honestly. Life is unfair, I know that for a fact.
Saying goodbye and boarding a plane for the first time is almost as exciting as when you finally breathe in the air of an entirely new place. Leaving everything behind and inviting endless new experiences to come your way is one of the biggest thrills you can have.
Deciding to take a break from your job or school may seem scary and impractical at first, but when you finally take the plunge and book a spontaneous trip to a place you've always dreamed of visiting, you will regret waiting so long to do it in the first place.
Again, it's a cliche for a reason.
You only live once, why not make the most out of what you've got?
Personally, the best memories I've made are from traveling. Even as a kid, I can still remember swimming with sharks and stingrays in Belize, spending weeks in Disney World and even eating at the Cheesecake Factory for the first time in New Jersey.
Even the little benefits of traveling are understated. Imagine gaining new ideas as a writer and new subjects as an artist. Or connecting more with whoever you choose to bring with you. Maybe you could go to see friends and family who live abroad. Or how about building a new photo album of your adventures.
Not to mention, there are billions of people you've never had the chance to meet all over the world. Sure you may miss your friends back home, but just imagine how many new ones you will find along the way - people who you may not have ever imagined could exist or change your life. The things I've done and the people I've met have made me the person I am today - which I wouldn't trade for the world.
Some people may not have an interest in the culture of a new country (maybe you would rather have your own experiences) but it is something that isn't easily avoidable. Even without realizing it, you are constantly learning and absorbing the culture through sightseeing, interacting with locals and listening to the language when you are traveling.
But luckily for those people who love to learn new languages or "history buffs," travel provides unlimited access to information and interaction. You have the luxury of learning while surrounded by the source itself. Museums and historical sites are usually filled with knowledge in its most authentic form, and there are countless native speakers of the language you may be learning to practice with and learn from.
Even just participating in conversations or learning local customs can create a new interest in culture in general. My favourite things to do are trying the traditional cuisine (like Canadian poutine and beavertails from Quebec) and learning little things like how to translate Italian hand gestures - and so on and so on.
All New Cuisine
My favourite part.
It is no surprise that there are many different cuisines all over the world that you may have never tried. That can change pretty quickly if you decide to take the plunge and travel. Whether you want to have authentic Chinese food or drink Russian vodka in the country itself, there is no limit to what you can try.
As a bonus, picky eaters - like myself - can always find something to enjoy when being given so many options. It may be difficult at first when the cuisine is so new and different but your options will vastly increase once you step outside of your comfort zone.
Did I forget to mention shopping? Well, one of the hidden gems of traveling to a foreign country is visiting nearby supermarkets. As mundane as it sounds, it can not only show you how normal life is in that place for locals but it can also give you full range to try all sorts of foods that you cannot find anywhere else. That's pretty rad in my opinion.
Fancy Foreign Cafes
Yes, this is a crucial point that must be made.
Imagine sitting alone in a nice cafe in some beautiful romantic city with a specialty coffee (or tea or whatever if you don't drink coffee) while people-watching, daydreaming and having your own movie moment.
Or - for people who are a little less romantic - spending hours with unlimited caffeine while writing about your adventures, where you've been and where you want to go next. Those types of journals are also great to keep and look back on in the future. Just a sidenote.
Or just catching up on work that you want to finish before you move on because you're strong, independent and raking in the dough. Whatever you use your time for, at least you get to experience something comforting, new and beautiful all at the same time.
True Relaxation Time
If you are someone who is either a student, has a job or both, you are in need of a break. Even if you feel fairly calm most days, you can never feel true relaxation until you are lying on a beach somewhere with no responsibilities or deadlines in mind.
The human body shouldn't be put under as much stress as it normally does day to day, and letting it relax even for the length of a short vacation is worth the trip. De-stressing clears your mind and helps you to focus on the important things in life, like a really long meditation session that's a lot more fun and gives you a better tan.
Trust me, giving yourself a break is completely justifiable when you're living in these modern times and surrounded by expectations.
Think about what you find to be the most relaxing and go for it. Whether it's a big city or tropical islands, you deserve to find peace somewhere in the world.
Many people have a love-hate relationship with tourist attractions nowadays. While you may really want to get into that famous art museum that every tourist website recommends, you will almost always be met by long lines, a lack of cultural immersion and often scams and pickpockets who prey on foreigners.
While some may choose to stay away from the crowds of other Westerners to try and blend in, there is no getting around the fact that they are called tourist attractions for a reason.
Sometimes it's actually worth it to brave the crowds if you've always wanted to see something like a French museum or a Scottish castle. It may take forever but seeing something like the Mona Lisa up close might be worth the wait. Actually, it definitely is. I recommend it personally.
Like I said before, touristy things are not always pleasant. As there are usually long lines and jacked up prices for most attractions while many European countries are filled with scammers who will target foreigners at the same time, it may be in your best interest to find something else to spend your limited time on.
First of all, consider how many countless things you would normally do at home that you can have a lot more fun doing in a foreign country? Visiting cafes and going to supermarkets is just the tip of the iceberg, especially since different places in the world have so many unique experiences to offer. Who says you can't also make up your own tours as you go? That's right. No one.
Hiking Through Nature or Mountains: Free
Finding Local Restaurants or Small Shops: Much Cheaper
Various Community Events: Free
Make & Hang Out With New Friends: Free