My mother is baffled by my need to travel. I’m planning a trip almost every month (of course, most of these don’t materialise), and my favourite pastime is looking at air tickets and hotel rates. For my mom, this yearning is foreign, as alien as the concept of memes. But every time I’m lugging my suitcase down the two flights of stairs, she climbs down with me and tells me to have fun. Every time I bring her something from my travels, she finds a place for it in her room. Always when I land, she asks me what I’d like to eat, and welcomes me home with a smile that says, ‘Why do you do this?’
It will take her more time to accept that I travel because it keeps me sane. I have an inexplicable need to escape; to see what’s out there, good and bad; to feel the wings flap and thrust me into the skies.
Benefits Of Travelling
My first trip was to Mussoorie, when I was 21. It didn’t change the course of my life–my job at Travel+Leisure India and South Asia did. I had the perfect excuse to exercise my passport; I had the means to see all the places I hadn’t ever dreamt of; I finally found out that life can’t be lived in a box.
Turns out, it has made me a better version of myself. Travelling comes with a set of advantages that are irrefutable. These are the reasons that you should give to everyone who asks you the question, “Why travel?”
Travelling Makes You Happier
Scientifically, travelling is good for health. It makes you happier, it’s a great stress buster and it even makes you more emotionally independent.
Travelling Opens Up Your Mind To New Possibilities
It broadens your horizons. You interact with people of different opinions, different faiths, different perspectives and you come back with more ideas in your head (even if you don’t agree with them all). Plus, you meet a lot of like-minded people and make friends for life.
You Find Yourself While Travelling
There’s so much time for introspection really–when the flight is delayed, when you’re watching the sunset on the beach, when you’re jet lagged and can’t sleep. In the comforts of your life, you might know how well you deal with a crisis, if you’re adventurous enough to eat an octopus, if you can sleep on the plane, if you can pick up a language in a few days. There’s so much you can find out about yourself. If you’ve not read Eat, Pray, Love, may be you should. The writer travels to three countries after her divorce and finds more about herself than she did all her life.
You Learn When You Travel
I had never tried Japanese before I went to Japan (sushi doesn’t count). Never heard of French band Nouvelle Vague. Had no idea about South Africa’s four tribes. Travelling is a learning experience. Even if you don’t go to any museums, you will still observe another culture and learn more about the people than you ever did in any classroom.
Travelling Gives You A Sense Of Adventure
Of course, it’s not all happy and shiny and unicorns out there. I have lost my luggage, I have missed flights (more than once), I have slept at the airport, I have been lost in foreign cities and found my way back. Every flight that I board leads me to a new adventure, and I am up for it. I do complain about them and panic sometimes (most times), but I have great stories to tell at social gatherings.
So yeah, I would rather lose my luggage a couple of times more than never take off.
It seems so easy: book a ticket, book a room and fly off, but the logistics are so complicated. From taking time off work to saving for a holiday, it can be a challenge sometimes. For some women I know, it’s also getting their families to support them even if they are financially independent adults. In the end, it’s all worth it.