Don’t be a frog living in a well
Here are eight reasons why you should travel.
You realise the “big, bad world” is a myth: It’s true! Total strangers will go out of their way to help you. They will expect nothing but a smile and a thank you in return. At Squamish in Canada, I was walking to the Chief, a popular hiking trail. On the way, I asked directions to an elderly woman. She decided that the road was too far for me to walk and called up her husband, who came on his car in 10 minutes, picked me up and dropped me at the Chief!
You learn to agree to disagree: Travel broadens your mind as you experience new cultures, new food habits and new customs. You like some, your probably don’t appreciate some so much. But you learn to appreciate differences and that is what makes the cultures of the world so varied, so interesting.
You learn to adapt and be adventurous: People often pull their Bengali friends’ legs saying wherever they go, they look for rice and fish curry for lunch! While this is not true for all Bengalis, a few of them actually tend to do this. But when you are out of your state and your country, there are high chances you wouldn’t find your comfort food. This is when you eat what you get and this is one of the ways you learn to adapt to new places and situations.
You learn to be patient: When you’ve dealt with getting lost in a new city, missing a flight, being stranded on an empty railway platform with not enough warm clothes and bad street food that gave you diarrhoea, you learn a thing or two about being patient and tackling one problem at a time.
You learn to be more responsible: When you are on the road, your well being depends solely on you. This is applicable especially if you are travelling alone. You have no real back-up and you have to take care of everything and work Plan B when Plan A fails. This makes you more confident and more responsible.
You learn to make friends easily: I have never been an extrovert but travelling has taught me to strike up conversations with random people. It’s not that hard, really. And if the person you are approaching is another traveller, chances are that he or she was already thinking of beginning a conversation. On my trip to Thailand in 2011, I met this Dutch guy at Bangkok airport and we took the train to the city together. We kept in touch and I stayed at his place when I visited his city the following year.
You learn to appreciate the small joys of life: After a long day of hiking on the mountains, you set up your tent in a valley and have dinner of over-boiled noodles under the stars. I can promise you, few people in the world would be as happy as you at that moment.
You become wiser and happier: When you’ve seen the world, you look at things from a whole new perspective. You’re not only wiser, but also happier, because you’ve travelled far and wide and have been able to do what your heart desires.
And the whole point of everything, my friend, is to be happy.