Older people know many important truths about life. One of these nuggets of wisdom is the fact that you should travel when you're young. Postponing your travel dreams to an uncertain future isn't a wise thing to do. Many people have regretted not venturing out into the open world when they were in their 20s or early 30s. Here's why!
1. You aren't tied down yet
Many people start their families and have kids once they hit their 30s. Even the ones that are adamant about not having any children tend to break their holy vows of eternal life on the road and settle down. That's just life. It’s not that they will suddenly be leading boring lives, but the priorities usually do turn 180 degrees overnight. Once you have children, the consideration factor expands from a “me” to an “us”. Booking a spontaneous weekend trip to Rome or embarking on a week-long Indian jaunt might not be on the table as viable options anymore. Sure, there are nomadic families who take their kids all over the world, but this isn't the lifestyle for everyone. You might get your best ooh-let's-go travel moments when you're still young.
2. You will develop strong empathy
Understanding the world is one thing, but to empathize with it is a whole other game. And gaining the ability to be empathetic towards the surrounding world and people is essential in the process of becoming a good citizen of the world. When you read the headlines and you haven't really traveled to the place, you can easily skip over the true meaning of the news relevant to the area. Earthquake with heavy toll in Iran in 2017? So many of us would have felt sympathy, albeit with a limited spectre of emotions when confronted with news like this. Having stood somewhere in the Kermanshah region, your two feet on the still ground, while enjoying a mint tea with your local friends makes you really understand the consequences of this disaster. You can imagine the plight of the people and their struggles in the aftermath. The younger you are, the less hardened you are to the rigors of the world and hence more empathetic.
3. Your learning curve hits a new high
Traveling allows you to enter the best-equipped classroom in your life so far. It's our planet. This interactive classroom gives you an opportunity to stand face-to-face with an infinite number of situations, challenges, and discoveries. There are more people in the world you could ever meet and get to know in your lifetime. In the same way, there are more lessons in this world that you could ever have the chance to be exposed to. And what better time to learn when you're young? A young mind is more open and agile. You'll learn new things and skills quicker compared to people who are 20 or 40 years older than you. One of the best ways to learn about the place you are visiting, is to engage with a local who can show you the customs and everyday life in a way only locals can do so.
4. You can't be sure of your future health
While you might be financially more capable to afford a holiday when you are older, travel doesn't get easier when you get older. Yes, one of the dominating mindsets in our times is based on the idea that all of us will lead very active lifestyles even in our old age. Health is in our hands only to a certain degree. In reality, it's a lottery and we can't be too sure about our joints being strong enough to climb mountains, or our lungs boasting a capacity to participate in scuba diving adventures. Some of this comes down to genes and pure luck grounded in random bodily processes. Don't put off your travel by planning it as a part of your retirement. Start today!
5. You can get big discounts
Some of the reasons to travel young are very simple. Many things are cheaper or even totally free! Thanks to the ubiquitous youth and student discounts, young people can really reduce some of the travel costs. Youth discounts can be used in visits to museums, galleries, national monuments, and nature trails. Plus, having an international student card will allow you to gain discounts from restaurants, cafes, and even nightclubs. Some private tours carry a smaller price tag when a young person books the local tour. Even private guides realize that paying the full price might be a tad bit too much for students, and offer concessions in conducting a tour.
6. You will get some interesting lessons in independence
Independence is something that all teenagers yearn for years, but once they get the taste of it, some shy away because of the responsibilities and personal fears. Growing more independent is one of the best benefits of traveling the world. You will have to plan your time and money while learning which strangers to trust. You'll find yourself in novel situations that need solutions you don't have already at hand. Making mistakes is part of the growing process and each lesson will shape the future person you will become. Taking the risk of setting your sails and finding yourself in strange waters is all about the long, but rewarding journey of becoming more independent.
7. You won't have any regrets later
There's a saying that goes like this “I regret traveling... said no one ever”. That really seems to be the case because it is quite rare to find people who'd trade their wonderful travel experiences for more work or staying at home. Family time? That's different, but it's part of the message to travel as much as you can while you are young and able to be the master of your own time and experiences. This is the time when nobody is (usually) depending on you. Realistically, you might regret slaving away your 20s in an entry-level corporate job but probably won't regret exploring Morocco's maze of alleys, climbing the Kilimanjaro with a local guide, walking down a lava tube in Iceland, or volunteering in Cambodia!
Robert is a writer, entrepreneur, and photographer discovering the world while sharing the finds with his readers. He loves hiking and active holidays. Never says no to trying a new gelato flavour!