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I consider myself to be very lucky. I had the good fortune when I was very young to experience the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, the Grata Familia in Barcelona, Komodo Dragons in Indonesia, Tacos in Mexico, and snorkeling in Belize’s atoll.
It Changes Your World View
When you’re young, depending on how much you moved around – if at all – you only know your home. By that I mean its landscape, wildlife, culture, and way of life. But when you go away, far away, you experience the sunset – except this time across the ocean. You see eagles flying – through mountaintops. You may even see monkeys swinging from trees, majestic waterfalls pouring over vertical mountain drops, volcanoes, rain forests, along with a whole bunch of sights you’ll only experience once in a lifetime.
It Changes The Way You Relate
The other thing about growing up in the same place is that there’s usually not a lot of diversity. Even if where you’re from is fairly multicultural, many of the foreigners have assimilated to the way of life in your hometown. But when you travel, you get to experience first hand what it’s like to be from there. In Spain the language isn’t only different, the way people communicate with one another is. In Nova Scotia Canada, for example, you’re welcome into many a stranger’s home, just for walking by. In remote places of Belize, everyone you see waves hello.
It Humbles You
They say, “Youth is wasted on the young.” A saying that implies that when you’re young you lack the maturity, respect, and humbleness only a lifetime of living can bring you.
It Empowers You
When you travel, whether alone or with someone, you’ll find yourself in situations you’d never be in otherwise back home. You may get sick with no mom or dad to bring you chicken noodle soup. You may be pick pocketed and have to survive on less than what you brought. You may get lost and have to rely on your cub scout training to direct you back to civilization. The point is, you’ll learn to lose control of situations, and gain control of yourself.
It Makes You More Compassionate
Ask anyone that’s ever taken a trip to Africa to volunteer in a remote village, and they’ll tell you it was one of the most humbling experiences ever. And while we covered humbleness already, by traveling to impoverished places where children are malnourished and everyone is literally living day-by-day, you not only become humble – but more compassionate as well.
It Educates You
What would you rather do; read about the Eiffel Tower – or see it? How about Machu Picchu; would you rather learn about it from a book – or first hand and in person for yourself?
You’re Not Guaranteed Old Age
The problem with being young is that it gives you the illusion that you’ll be young forever. That you’ll be as strong, energetic, and healthy as you are now for the rest of your life. But life doesn’t work like that. It makes us no promises. In fact, sadly, many don’t even reach old age, as lives are cut short all the time.