The surface area of our planet is approximately 197,000,000 square miles. How much of it have you seen? If you answer that question honestly, the answer will surely be, “Not enough!” Augustine of Hippo once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Most people say that they want to travel and explore the world, but they do not realize how truly life altering it can be.
Without travel, you cannot really know the place you are from. This may sound strange, but think about it. To a certain degree, we all take things for granted — food, electricity, transportation, and even family. Going to other countries where these things are not always available can be extremely eye-opening.
I can personally vouch for this because in July of 2011, one year after the devastating earthquake, I went on a mission trip to Haiti. During my week long stay there, we had no hot water or air conditioning, and there were only limited food choices (and this was at one of the nicest hotels, mind you).
Each day, we went to help build houses and a church in Jacmel. We saw the tent villages that so many people called home, and one day we went to pass out food and clothes to the Haitians. Upon arrival, there was such excitement from the locals. We walked down the rows of tents, and people of all ages began reaching for anything they could get their hands on.
It showed just how much they appreciated and needed the things that we take for granted everyday. The trip to Haiti made me realize how comfortable my life is, and it exposed me to things that the media alone could not.
Traveling to a place away from home is refreshing. By surrounding yourself with new people, cultures, and lifestyles, you can get a new outlook on life. When you travel and actually experience things rather than read them in books or see them on TV, it can get you out of your comfort zone, help develop your character, and give you memories you will never forget.
Pico Iyer wrote, “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.” Travel can completely transform a person. It helps you to grow and can be a very powerful influence in someone’s life. Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to travel, but if you do, embrace it! You could be forever changed.