I love to see the world, and it was hard to narrow this list down to only my five favorite things about traveling.
After I left the country and taught English for two months in Belize, I knew that I wanted to keep doing it after college. Since then, Di and I have found different ways to travel over the last three years.
We started by teaching English in Abu Dhabi for two years and were able to travel to several countries. We then kept it going by working remotely as freelance writers. Over these three to four years of traveling, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world.
Here are my five favorite things about traveling.
1. Trying New Food
Numero uno. Food. There’s a lot of downtime when you’re traveling full-time and working. The best thing to do in that time? Eat.
Whether you’re traveling in your own country or abroad, there are always new restaurants, foods, and beers to try. Some of our favorites have been limonada de coco in Medellin and ceviche in Lima (I didn’t even know what ceviche was before I moved here. Now, I love it.)
2. Making Myself Uncomfortable
It’s easy to fall into my same routine every day. Wake up, work a little bit, read for a bit, watch TV, go to sleep. One of my favorite things about traveling is that there is always something new to try. Something that takes me out of my comfort zone.
In Belize, it was that I was living and teaching in a village of people experiencing poverty that I had never seen before.
In Abu Dhabi, it was a lot of things. There was a new culture, a new (read: barren) landscape, blatant racism, and overindulgence at every turn.
In South America, it’s the absence of English. I’ve never lived somewhere where almost nobody spoke English. I’ve had to learn a lot of Spanish and get comfortable speaking in a different language.
At every turn, there’s something to learn about myself and the world around me. Which brings me to my next point…
3. Everything is New
One of my favorite things about traveling is that it makes me feel like I’m a kid again. When you’re a kid, everything is new. You’ve never been to the park down the street, you’ve never been to your parent’s favorite restaurant, you’ve never seen your favorite band play live.
Over time, that magic fades. You go to the same restaurant or bar every Friday, you go to the local park every Saturday, you go to the same breakfast spot on Sunday. Rinse, repeat.
For me, travel helps keep the spark alive.
I get lost in a new city, hear a different culture’s music, wonder why there’s fireworks and parades every single day (looking at you, Peru), and experience the world much in the way that I did as a kid.
4. I Appreciate Home More
Despite what I say about the magic fading when I fall into routine, one thing that traveling has done for me is that it’s helped me learn to appreciate everything that I have at home that much more. When I’ve been out of the country for eight or ten months, there comes a point where all that I can think about is home.
Skyline Chili, baseball games, football games, backyard cookouts, parties, ice cubes (and fresh, clean water) from a refrigerator, pasteurized milk in a jug, and everything else that makes home such a great place (like my family and friends, I guess).
There’s nothing like leaving the country for an extended period of time to help me appreciate the little things that I can only find at home.
5. Nothing Really Matters
When you’re living out of a backpack, people come to have certain expectations about you.
Maybe they think that you’ve worn the same clothes for a few days or a week without washing them. Maybe they think that you don’t have a stable career path. Maybe they think that you’re flaky. Those expectations are what makes life traveling that much easier.
Since people already expect it, I go ahead and wear the same clothes without washing them for several days. Since people already think I’m flaky, I don’t have to have a cell phone plan. Since people don’t think I have a stable career path, I don’t really have to explain what I do.
In essence, one of my favorite things about traveling is that I don’t have to worry about a lot of the small things that I would have to worry about if I were at home in a normal living situation.
As I travel more and am exposed to new cultures, foods, languages, and people around the world, I can’t imagine who I would be if I had never left home.
Let us know what you love the most about traveling in the comments section below!