Looking for a good reason or a perfect excuse to travel? Whether you’ve just graduated, entered the workforce or still pushing pencils, traveling while you’re young should be one of your top priorities. More than just an adventure full of pleasant surprises, traveling in your youth offers a ton of lessons and experiences that can change your view in life. Of course, traveling early in your life also leads to countless of thrilling escapades that you may never experience again, as you grow older.
Technically, I’m still a millennial, but I’m no spring chicken, and I had quite a ton of life-changing travel experiences in my younger days that transformed me into a better person. If you had the chance to travel more right now, I’m strongly urging you to do it. Not only is travel packed with fun and smiles, but it can help you become a little wiser, stronger and more open-minded as well.
1. Travel keeps you sane
Your life, once you start working, will feel like an endless rollercoaster of meetings, bosses, deadlines and paperwork. Not to mention, your precious free time will be highly limited. Even when you’re not working, chances are you’re still thinking about your assignments, and your email is annoyingly exploding.
When you travel, you get to prevent burnout from your daily grind as well as escape temporarily from the harsh realities of life. Whether you love your job or just doing it for survival, rewarding yourself with adventures, and doing things that are life-altering will make your harrowing workloads a bit more tolerable.
2. The world is wide, and life is short
As the great and notable Benjamin Franklin once said, “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”. Life, in my book, is short, and we may never have another chance to explore our beautiful place. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but the reality is there is nothing your can do to ensure a long life or old age.
Even if you’re as fit as a fiddle, an awful accident can change the course of your life in an instant, and prevent you from seeing all the beautiful places you’ve been dreaming of. Remember, what happened to lead character in the film “Me Before You”? Also, the world is an amazingly big planet, and it may take over a lifetime for us, regular Filipinos, to explore it.
3. A world of heart-pumping adventures
There are a lot of different outdoor adventures that are simply impossible to do, when you are older, including epic mountain treks, cliff dives and even zipline rides. However, when you’re healthy and young, your body can handle almost everything your throw it. With a healthy pair of knees and an enthusiastic adventurous spirit, you are going to have dozens of unforgettable and spine-tingling outdoors at this stage of your life.
4. You’ll look good in your swimsuit (not for everybody, though)
Seriously, though, a healthy and fit physique won’t come easy, when you get older. With a metabolism as fast as Japan’s bullet trains, you may look pretty good in your swimsuit in your younger days. Don’t forget to go slow on sweets and carbs, though, if you really want to turn heads on the beach.
5. It will make you more independent
There’s nothing like being a hundred or thousand miles away from home, and realizing how much you have been relying on your family and others. When you travel without the ones you love, you’ll be compelled to find your own way, take care of yourself as well as make yourself more independent.
Can you cook your own meal or your own laundry? Believe me, traveling when you’re young will help you develop a few essential survival and life skills.
6. Climate change
Sadly, with today’s extreme weather and the increasing effects of global warming, there are a few places on the face of the earth that may not be around in the near future.
7. Fewer commitments and responsibilities
Want to backpack across Southeast Asia? Want to explore all the 81 provinces in the Philippines? There’s nothing big that’s holding you back, if you travel at this stage of your life. Unless you’re fostering a bunch of kids, you really don’t have to work so hard, to put food on the table. You don’t have plenty of bills of pay and have no long-term job position that has to be maintained.
8. You have a lifetime of work and stress ahead of you
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you should resign, and give up your job, so you can travel more often. Let’s face it, we need to work our butts off and earn money to survive in this world. What I’m suggesting, though, is you don’t have to rush things, as far as work. As long as you’re not picky, you won’t run out of job opportunities, even if you’re way past your 30s. And besides, you are going to work for a number of years to come.
Your work won’t end, but your youth does have an expiration date, so enjoy it to the fullest while you can.
9. It makes you more sympathetic and thankful
Most young people today are so blinded by consumerism and materialism that they forget to say thanks to the universal life force for all the graces they have received. But after passing by the remote highlands and slums of the Philippines, they will ultimately realize just how lucky and privileged they are.
10. Make connections across the world
You’ll expand your circle and social network as well as meet trustworthy people who might give you free accommodations or tours for your future trips.
11. It’s a little cheaper
When you’re healthy and young, you won’t mind staying in crammed hostel dorms, sleeping a couch or hitchhike your way to a destination on a rugged and dusty truck. In my life as a traveler, I have slept in many uncomfortable places, just to save a buck or two on my vacation.
A few years ago, I traveled to Boracay, together with 4 good friends, to experience this highly praised island paradise. And since we were on a tight budget, we decided to sleep in a friend’s apartment, to reduce our travel expenses.
Little did we know, there was only one bed to accommodate all 5 of us. Honestly, it wasn’t the coziest accommodations, but it did help us a ton of money for our 2-day-3-night Boracay escapade.
And I’ve also done quite a lot of hitchhiking in my life as a traveler. As a matter fact, I’ve just done it recently after our hike in Mount Babag and Sirao Peak with my hiking buddies – Sheng, Christine, Kevin, Wilfred and Donna.
But, I know the gift of youth doesn’t last forever, and sooner or later, I will no longer have the privilege to do these things. As our age increases, comfort starts to become priority, and we may become more accustomed to luxurious stuff, making travel a more expensive pastime.
12. Travel improves your social and problem-solving skills
Travel isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. From language barrier to delayed flights, there are many unforeseen hiccups along the way, on the road. But at the end of the day, these stumbling blocks will teach you some important skills that will come in handy in your life. It has, thus far, improved my problem-solving skills as well as took my confidence level up a few notches. I was an introvert, and travel has drastically improved my social skills.