6 Reasons Travel Will Make You A More Awesome Version Of Yourself

There's nothing like a plane ticket that will help you grow.

6 Reasons Travel Will Make You A More Awesome Version Of Yourself

Travel doesn't only offer you a visa-laden passport and stories to bring home and share around your usual brunch table. It's not all postcards and kitschy souvenirs, cathedral pictures and folded up maps crumpled inside suitcases. There's something about hitting the open road that changes you - whether you want to or not, whether you're ready for it or got blindsided. And it's ah-mazing.

Below are six reasons travel will make you a more awesome version of yourself - get ready to be dazzled with who you've been hiding underneath.

1. You Become A Whole Lot Better At Leaping

Before travel, chances are you'd take some time to hem and haw your options and try to plot out every worst case scenario that could happen before finally - finally - putting your hands over your eyes and jumping. But after being on the road for awhile? Baby girl just cannonballs right in.

Take it from me - I'm made 100% out of wimp-dom. If I can sit in a onesie underneath a blanket fort eating blueberry muffins all day while my mom stands guard at the door, I would. But travel makes you feel like the world isn't against you, but with you. It's your sidekick and wants to have fun with you, and so you link arms and throw your legs right off of the edge. You'll book those tickets to the steamy, humid places; you'll jump into moving trains and sit next to chicken cages in pickup trucks; you'll accept a free couch from a stranger when it's offered and sleep on a mattress perched on a roof. The leap is no longer all that scary - it's the first sentence of a new story.

2. Bravery Is Now Your Middle Name

Don't get me wrong, getting more stamps in your passport doesn't make you less scared of things. You still feel that clutch in your tummy and that uncomfortable zing that makes you want to curl your palms into nervous fists. But now when you think of booking that ticket to Morocco alone, taking that snowy hike through the mountains, getting off of the path and following the river with your bike - you still feel scared, but you don't let yourself listen to it. You're brave now, and you like the way it feels on you.

3. You Don't Stress Mistakes Anymore

In my five months of on-the-road-ness, I can't tell you how many buses I've missed, plane tickets I've cancelled, hostels I skipped, restaurants I got overcharged at, mechanic bills I had to pay, bus benches I slept on, credit cards I lost, and scams I happily tripped into. It's been a mess. And instead of crumpling to the ground in a five year old type of tantrum, I now take it in stride. I'm more level headed, collected, ready to find the silver lining. Because I've quickly learned that life is messy, and mistakes and scraped knees are part of the process rather than something to be avoided. And with each bump in the road, I now know how to do things differently next time, and I won't be repeating the same mistakes twice. 

4. You Become A Little Wilder

There's a vodka in Vietnam with a rattlesnake marinating in it, you say? Hand over a shot. Dare I climb those Tolkein-esque mountains in nothing but gym shoes and a will to live? Yes, yes I do dare, and I'll hum the Lord of the Rings soundtrack the whole way up. Should I cancel my train ticket to Spain and follow the boy with the blue eyes to France? Is that even a real question, of course I will. 

Travel makes you wild for experience, hungry to see what you can find around the corner and curious to see if you'll like it. And it's an amazing, wonderful feeling.

5. You Begin To See How Colorful Everything Is

When you've been kicking around one zip code for long enough, you forget what kinds of colors are out there. Everything sort of blends into this homey version of oatmeal and, even though you love it, you forget that you can look at the world through a kaleidoscope if you want to. And you begin to realize just how loud and colorful and uncontainable everything is. From the citrus colors of saris in India to the blue buildings in Morocco that borrowed shades from the sky; from the sherbet buildings winding through Madrid to the wild acid colors and sequins of Brazil, you can all but taste life. 

6. You Learn To Be Happy With Little

There were moments where I was sitting at a cafe with a little glass of vermouth, or sitting next to a campfire in a desert as the man next to me played a harmonica, or I was crouched eye level with a five year old with brown eyes, accepting a red flower he ran across his farm to give to me, and I felt this knock against my chest that felt a little wild. It was happiness, in the most sigh inducing, sunshine in your eyes feeling, way.

And during moments like those, I got my perspective: It doesn't matter what's in my suitcase, what's waiting for me back at home, how I compare to other people, how impressive my resume and my lifestory looks on paper. All that matters is this feeling. This feeling of connection, contentment of the moment, and this quiet wonder of getting to experience.