Lottie Croker is a 23 year old adventurer from the UK, she’s recently been travelling around South America and South East Asia for 6.5 months. She started a blog to document her travels and in doing so reignited a passion for all things travel, writing and photography. Here’s her take on why you should all go travelling…
Are your cocktail-sipping, jet setting friends turning you green? Your sunset-filled Instagram feed fuelling your wanderlust? Maybe it’s time to take the plunge and start packing your bags. The beauty of travel is that you do it your own way. So no matter who you are, where you want to go, for how long or how much you can spend, I truly believe there are many fundamental reasons why making travel part of your life might just be the best decision you ever make. Sure, they’re cheesy and totally clichéd, but there’s a reason they’re not going anywhere…
1. Because ‘the bad news is time flies, but the good news is you’re the pilot’
Time really is our only asset, so don’t squander it. You’ll never have that time again. What is life if it’s not an adventure? Our world is a wonderful place, so get out there and make your travel dreams a reality! The sad truth is that no one is guaranteed old age, nor do we have some magical pill to make us live longer. ‘One day’ is a pernicious disease you don’t want to catch; if you wait for that elusive day to come along then you’ll end up taking your travelling dreams to the grave. You could spend the rest of your life saying ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘I wish I’d done that’. But guess what: only you can make it happen! We also need to stop picking on Mondays; it’s not Mondays you dislike, it’s your job and living for the weekend! When you’re on the road, a Monday is every bit as good as a Friday.
2. To ‘find yourself’
It’s true that ‘not all who wander are lost’ (sorry, couldn’t help myself), but travelling really can be a voyage of discovery in more sense than one. How do you know what you want to do when you don’t know what’s out there? The way I see it, life is a bit like a jigsaw; we’re all trying to find the pieces that fit together properly to expose and build the bigger picture. Each experience we have and every person we meet, is another piece of the jigsaw. Before I embarked on my 6.5 month world adventure, I lacked motivation and felt numb, I was in need of some direction. I definitely didn’t find myself along the way, but with new landscapes and people comes new outlooks and ideas; so now I’m finally starting to build the inside of my jigsaw instead of just the easy edge and corner pieces. Who knows where life might take me, but with travelling under my belt, the world seems a little less daunting and I’m a little less lost.
3. Because ‘travel is the best form of education’
Learning about yourself: tick. Learning about everything else: tick. At the tender age of 23, I certainly don’t profess to know everything. However there are a myriad of things I learnt from my trips that I simply didn’t gain from 16 years of institutional education. Seeing the world past your doorstep makes you realise that however much you think you may know, there’s always more to learn. Long term travelling can be testing at times which teaches you important life skills that make you that ‘well-rounded’ person your parents always bang on about. The list is literally endless, but travelling will teach you independence, budgeting, planning, cultural understanding, the ability to adapt and time management. As well as being important in daily life, these additional skills make you very employable and way more interesting in an interview.
4. Because ‘life begins at the end of your comfort zone’
Comfort zones are static places that don’t allow growth. Give yourself the space to grow and challenge yourself often – whether it’s a bungee jump, eating the seemingly bizarre local delicacy or starting up a conversation with a stranger. The chances are your confidence and courage will grow and soon enough you’ll realise you can do absolutely anything. Nothing beats the feeling of fulfillment when you stand up on your surf board for the first time or don’t get ripped off by a taxi driver because you’ve learnt the local lingo. You might find leaving your comfort zone could also open doors, offer new opportunities abroad and at home, and help build your friends and professional networks. It’s incredibly easy to stay in your comfortable bubble and forget there is more out there, but try to challenge yourself as often as you can and do so on foreign soil too. Curiosity killed the cat. But you’re not a cat. So go explore!
5. Because ‘travelling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer’
Unless you work whilst abroad, chances are your bank account may deplete during your travels. But, arguably you’re still going to find yourself richer. Travel is a real investment in yourself, and your future. You probably won’t actually realise how significant and valuable your trip is until you take it. As well as the aforementioned skills, you’re going to return home with hilarious stories, unforgettable experiences, new friends and the comforting knowledge that you now have many second homes across the globe. As beautiful as that new bag is, the limitless list of things you stand to gain is undoubtedly more valuable to your happiness and definitely won’t ever go out of fashion. I can promise you that no amount of money or assets will surpass the experiences you have on your travels, so try to choose those experiences and memories over material possessions. And you never know, you might just find you fall in love with somewhere, something or someone.
In my opinion, travel is a personal experience, and one you may or may not share with other people . It’s an experience that may happen just once in your life, or repeatedly. The important thing is to jump at every travel opportunity that comes your way, and keep finding ways to incorporate it into your life. Travelling may not be for everyone but don’t knock it until you try it – you might (you will!) discover a world you never knew!