Fellow travel-addicts, please support me on this one: There is nothing more exhilarating in life than traveling the world.
Whether you are deciding to study abroad, or finally crossing a country off of your bucket list, you are committing to yourself to discovering the unknown.
You are saying,
“I am ready to put my traditions, values and life outlook on hold, so I can see the world through someone else’s eyes and gain a different perspective.”
Anyone who has the courage to travel understands the feeling of stepping off of a plane and feeling completely out of your element.
You have to put your full trust in the cab driver to take you to your hotel; you have to point at a random dish on a menu (because you can’t pronounce it) and pray that it tastes palatable.
And, in more cases than not, you stick out like a sore thumb because you have your camera in one hand and life-sized map of the city in your other.
Traveling on your own or in a small group is the definition of gaining self-trust and independence.
“I can put myself in this completely foreign situation and navigate all of the obstacles that come my way in order to come out at as a stronger person.”
If you have not yet had the courage to travel, I strongly urge you to find your inner-explorer.
But, if you don’t feel ready to dine in the Eiffel Tower, explore the Buddhist Temples in India or zip-line through the tropical rain forests in Costa Rica, I plan to convince you through the wise-yet-simple words of Dr. Seuss.
In celebration of the legendary author’s birthday (or what is otherwise known as Read Across America Day), let’s talk about why you must travel.
Right now, you may be thinking, “Isn’t Dr. Seuss for first graders?” No. I mean, the guy was pretty rebellious.
He wrote under several different names, never got his doctorate (he added Dr. in front of his name to seem more credible and to make it seem like the received a degree his father told him he could never get) and wrote the famous “Green Eggs and Ham” on a dare.
I know, scandalous.
But, in all seriousness, Dr. Seuss mastered using the simple ideas in which we all believe as children to remind adults of what is important in life (trust me, we do forget).
As we enter our 20s and 30s, we often forget it is important to travel and grow, and life is not just about making money, getting married and popping out children.
The “white-picket fence” lie we tell ourselves seems to outweigh the joy we used to find in our daily lives as children.
So, in honor of the wanderer and the dreamer himself, here are five truly thought-provoking quotes that will induce your travel craving and remind you Dr. Seuss’s work is not just for children:
1. “Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”
While we all understand hard work leads to success, this reality does also possess a downfall.
Because of technology, we suffer from feeling like we are constantly working. In past generations, people worked from 9 am to 5 pm, and then they clocked out and went on with their lives.
Now, with technology, you could be laying in bed, watching Netflix and all of a sudden, get an email from your boss about a project due next week. And, BAM, your mind starts racing.
This 24/7 work mentality leads us to forget about the importance of being creative and exploring. For some reason, we feel guilty for having this urge and consider it to be childlike.
We feel like having fantasies about our actual dream-jobs, or the fact that we desire to explore the coliseum in Rome, is some sort of sin.
Whether you are in college pulling an all-nighter in the library for a final, or you’re just frustrated your professional life seems to be outweighing the time you get to spend with yourself, this is where traveling comes in to encourage a healthy mind.
When you are overseas, your boss can send all of the emails he or she wants, but if you’re not in an area with WiFi, you won’t see it.
Believe it or not, other countries put creativity first. Adults openly practice painting, theatre and hiking, and they don’t feel guilty if they have 25 unanswered emails.
In fact, in France, employees in technology are discouraged from checking work emails outside of the office. CNBC reports, “About a million French workers in the digital and consulting industries will be required to switch off work phones and avoid email before 9 am and after 6 pm.”
Embracing new ways of life will open up your mind to new possibilities, which will transfer over to the way you live life back home.
Long story short, when you travel to a completely unfamiliar country, you have no choice but to live in the moment, fantasize about where you are and the adventure on which you hope to embark throughout your journey.
2. “It is better to know how to learn than to know.”
When you are in school, you are taught to know. You have a list of 25 vocabulary words to memorize.
You remember them for your test, but right after you complete the last question, all of the information escapes your mind; you can no longer recall the words, even if your life depended on it.
In school we are taught to know, but how many times in life do you get the opportunity to learn? Travel teaches you to learn, not to memorize information and to spit it back out.
You learn how to use a map when your life depends on it. You learn a foreign language when it’s your only ticket home.
And, you learn the meaning of happiness when you finally get the chance to sit still without being harassed to hand in your final paper for chemistry class, or to race all around New York City to get your boss a venti half-soy latte.
3. “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”
As most of our generation is now experiencing, the transition into real adulthood is challenging.
Most of our parents guided us up to this point and set us up for success. But, what happens when that is all taken away?
If you are going to study abroad or work abroad, you will quickly learn the definition of independence.
Imagine having to use GPS just to get to the grocery store and struggling to find the basic ingredients you need in order to make your dinner.
Imagine being the only individual of your faith in your neighborhood and knowing all eyes are on you as you walk down the street.
When we live somewhere that’s comfortable, we judge others who are “different,” but this time, it’s you who is different.
This gives you a wake-up call and makes you a more sensitive and understanding person because you know what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes.
4. “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Believe it or not, there will come a time in life when the option to travel will not be open to you. When you grow to have a family of your own, the cost of a trip can triple or even quadruple.
Suddenly, your dream to sit front row on an African safari becomes nothing more than a far-fetched pipe dream.
Never allow your significant other or your family to make you feel guilty for having the courage to live your best life. Remember not to take your work so seriously that it doesn’t allow you to make lasting memories.
When you constantly see a popular image on television, like Buckingham Palace in London, and you finally have the opportunity to see it in person, it truly feels like you are living a dream.
But, when you look at your surroundings, you notice everyone around you is looking at the sight through a camera lens, not eyes, because they know these types of moments only happen once in a lifetime (if you’re lucky).
If you get the chance to travel, make an effort to see the sights with your own eyes for at least a few moments.
It’s rare you get a chance to be fully in the moment without feeling the need to check your Instagram or see what your ex did last night via Twitter.
5. “If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”
Traveling teaches you to roll with the punches.
If you are new to traveling, I promise your trip will not go as you planned. When you travel, you are basically telling the world you are accepting relinquishing control.
You may have spent thousands of dollars on your trip to Greece to explore Santorini, and as soon as you get there, it starts pouring rain and you have to reconsider your plans.
Or, maybe, you get to what was supposed to be your luxurious hotel only to find out your travel agent was just a pro at Photoshop.
Travel teaches you to embrace flexibility and to expect the unexpected.
If you have ever dreamt to travel and discover new places, but have never had the courage to go on your own, I challenge you to take a risk. I can’t promise what you will encounter on your journey, but I do know you will never forget it.
If you live by the words of Dr. Seuss, your decision to travel will lead to countless memories and lessons you will treasure throughout your life.