Something you experience while you are traveling that you don’t typically experience while doing your day to day routine is what I call, the ultimate freedom. This is the time where you can escape your 9-5, see amazing places and not be bound to your home responsibilities. You can just pack up the car, and start driving. Or pick a random place on a map and go, even if it is overseas. Everyone has their own version of this that suits their budget and available time.
There is a lot of value in getting this time away from your chains of responsibility to open up and see who you really are. This is your chance to reflect on your life and see where you want to go next. It is the time where you make lasting memories and yearn for more exciting times to come. There is so much to see on this planet, and it would be a shame if you never even left your home city or country during your life. It took me 38 years to finally leave the U.S. and I regret that it took so long. Now I can’t wait to do more international travel.
I strongly encourage people to take a vacation that is overseas in a location that doesn’t speak their home language. While English is spoken all around the world, it is not spoken well in places like Japan. It really makes you think about how small you really are when you go somewhere completely different than you are used to. Knowing that there are other ways people live and work that are different from your own, helps you become a more well rounded person. And who knows, you may just discover something that would be useful in your home town that wasn’t available before and start a niche business like a themed cafe for example.
With so much intolerance in the world and so much fear of immigrants and people different from you, this is an opportunity to flip the page and be on the other side of that. You become the foreigner. I believe as long as you respect the home countries values and customs, you will be welcomed. If you go in all “I’m an American and this is how we do things in my country!” you will definitely be frowned upon. Take time to understand the culture and do your best to take part in it. It is a blast! People naturally fear the unknown and this is the best way to overcome that fear. It is kind of like the first time you go snorkeling, you are scared at first and then you overcome your fear and it is one of the most amazing experiences of your life.
Once you experience the ultimate freedom, it becomes addictive. You become a different person, and your view of the world changes. While you are taught your home country is “The best country in the world”, it may not be even though we all take pride in where we are from originally. There may be places you would rather be as happiness is not defined by our wealth, location, or our possessions, but instead how we choose to live each day and the connections we make with other people. I don’t consider myself or my country better than anyone else’s, it is just different. This isn’t a sporting competition, we are all human beings that share this world together.
I plan to visit my third country in a couple months and have ambitions to do trips that are longer than any two-week vacation entails. There are ways to do this cheaply and this site has incredible information on how to do just that. World traveling isn’t for everyone, and I realize that. But for those of you who are adventurous, it can’t get much better.
I would like to hear about your travel experiences or any questions you have on how to plan an international trip in the comment section.