In my life, I’ve always found that travel has been a mechanism for personal growth.
There’s an old cliché which says travel broadens your horizons.
Like most over-used clichés there is an element of truth in it.
Not only does it broaden your horizons but it can change the course of a life.
My first experience of another country was at the late age of 21.
Nevertheless, it created a domino effect and 30-something countries and countless experiences later it got me where I am today (wherever that is).
Another well-worn but equally true cliché is that we should value experiences over material items.
The pleasure we get from experiences can often last a lifetime whereas the pleasure from material items is usually short-lived.
It’s what authors Chip and Dan Heath talk about in the book, The Power of Moments.
When we look back on our life, certain moments (and experiences) are ultimately all we remember.
Many of these moments often have travel at their core.
As the book points out, having routines in life are good but they are not memorable.
What are memorable are the times when you get off the beaten track, so to speak, and experience places, people and things you would never have otherwise.
Regrets, I’ve had a few.
I’m thankful that so far I’ve lived a life with few regrets.
Too few to mention, anyway.
But over the last few years, something has been niggling at me.
A lingering thought in the back of my mind.
Not a regret, but a forewarning of a regret that I may have as I get older.
The regret of never having seen as much of this wonderful and amazing planet as I could have.
Some people choose to wait until retirement to do all the things they’ve wanted to do with their life.
I have two issues with this line of thinking.
The first being is that I prefer to travel while I’m still fit and healthy rather than waiting to be some old dude at the end of his life going from country to country on a cruise liner.
The second being, and perhaps the most important, the future is never guaranteed.
On Sunday I fly out to Ibiza for a mate’s stag do (who I met while travelling years ago) and from there I’m flying to Rome to embark on some world travel.
I don’t have a schedule in place other than a broad idea of where I intend to visit.
My itinerary includes parts of Europe I’ve never been to, a selection of US states, maybe Canada, South America, Asia and from there I’ll continue to play it by ear.
I prefer spontaneity over having some solid plan in place which means I can go anywhere I like for as long as I like.
My aim is to see as much of the world as possible and there will never be a better time than right now to do it.
Now is the greatest time to be alive.
There is no other era I would prefer to be born in.
In the modern world, we have unprecedented access to information and technology.
We have better health care and on a cultural level, people are less stigmatised than ever before.
We live longer, eat better and there are fewer wars than there has ever been.
While it isn’t perfect I’ve always believed (and the data backs me up) that the world is getting better.
My generation (Gen X) is probably the first to have the option to travel almost anywhere in the world.
We take it for granted now, but there was a time when international travel was reserved exclusively for the rich.
Also, many countries 40 or 50 years ago were off limits due to communism, war or because there were no feasible means to get there.
Not only that, but thanks to technology and the internet, there’s an opportunity to make money online while travelling and doing the things you love.
What a time to be alive.
Vaccinations are done.
Bags are packed.
Arrangements have been made.
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