I can’t understand people who don’t want to travel. They say they’re happy where they are, that they don’t need to go somewhere else to have fun. In my opinion they miss the point.

Sure, many people travel purely have to have fun. The gaggles of students that hit Florida beaches each year can attest to this, as can the European party-goers who mob Ibiza (or whatever the cool spot is now) and its clubs.

But I think fun, while an important reason to travel, is almost incidental when you consider everything else that comes with the experience.

I think that, while it’s cliched to say it, travelling really is an eye-opener. It places you in a different culture and forces you consider yourself as a stranger in that place. Unless you’re a completely self-centred boor (and we know there are plenty of these types of travellers), you’re going to try to respect the customs of this culture. You’re forced to take a step back to realize the enormousness of the world.

At the same time you realize how much like you the people in that other culture are. Like you, they have the same basic needs, but they also love their children, care about their communities, and want to live a life within the bounds of their laws. We may be separated by distance, language, and customs, but in the end, all people are human beings.

You can learn so much from other people when you travel, including other travellers you meet along the way. Travellers are usually more than happy to share their thoughts and ideas about cool places to go and interesting sites to see. Oftentimes this is how you’ll hear about things that are off the usual tourist routes. Some of the best friendships are made with other travellers. The act of sharing an experience in a foreign place creates a bond because it’s a common anchor that roots the friendship.

I used to not like travelling: too much hassle, expensive, and boring. Since then, I’ve had opportunities to travel with friends and on my own, and I’ve come to realize that hassles can be planned for, expenses can be controlled by staying in hostels and eating where the locals eat, and boredom can be overcome by simply talking to people and finding out what there is to do.

I can’t imagine life without travel – as much as I love Vancouver, I have to leave it every now and then. I have to see what else is out there.


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