The bucket list is an interesting concept, basically a to-do list of items to travelbooksaccomplish before you die. Most of the things on my list involve destinations. I caught the travel bug young, having been fortunate enough to have well off parents also nipped by that little bu g. Travel is an amazing experience, not simply because you get to see cool places, eat new food and meet new people, but because it changes you. Long trips, short trips, it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re stepping into a world that is different from yours. You gain new perspectives on the world when you’ve been places. Each location you visit creates a web that connects you back. It may only be with a fond remembrance, but it in a lot of cases it can craft you into a new person. Maybe it’s something you saw or experienced, maybe it’s the feeling of independence striking out on your own. Travel builds you as a person, it gives you the gift of knowing who you are more thoroughly, because you never know how you’ll truly react to something until it happens.

Being in new places can be scary, exposing you to all manner of things you’re not used to, but it’s also invigorating and you realize how strong you can be. You test your physical, emotional and intellectual limits when you travel, especially if you’re in a place where people don’t speak a language you understand. A good example of testing your emotional strength was about six years ago when I was lakes_of_killarneyin Ireland with friends. We were bike riding in Killarney National Park and my (now) husband fell off his and badly fractured both arms. Prior to experiencing this I was rather easily stressed by situations of a medical emergency nature and looked to others to guide me. This time there only was me and my best friend (who, while emotionally supportive, was more likely to hurl upon seeing the injuries than she was to actually be able to help). I was strangely calm and handled everything so matter-of-factly, navigating a week of wrecked plans, hospital visits, surgery, insurance, etc. entirely under my own strength. If I hadn’t been travelling when it happened there would have been no test, someone else would have been immediately there to assist and take over. While I’m obviously not glad that injuries occurred, I am grateful that the experience showed me just how strong and independent I could be in an emergency and I’ve carried that with me since then and there’s not much in the way of anything I’ve experienced since that I haven’t handled with that same calm.

Travel can also be heartbreaking. The poverty in some countries I visited 3644597314_2254515145_babsolutely broke my heart and drove me to team up with a charitable organization to fund their projects from home. To quote Disney a little bit, “you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew”. It’s really true. You have no idea what’s out there in the world until you experience it.

14995530910_ce1211eb16_bIf you have the opportunity to travel, do it. It’s difficult to regret any decision you make that involves integrating yourself into the global community. Near or far, anywhere you travel outside your comfort zone is going to change you. Be responsible. Do research. Be prepared.


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