After graduating from college, I sold and donated everything I owned and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. I did so because I suspected that seeing the world would stretch and challenge me in ways that nothing else could. And I was right. I made this leap of faith back in 2012 and it's been by far the single greatest investment I have ever made.
It's provided me with more personal growth and life-altering experiences than I thought possible, it's shaped how I treat people and adapt to life's ups and downs, and it's even defined my career as a purveyor of travel keepsakes with my business, The Wander Club.
As a result, I firmly believe that world travel is the most worthwhile activity a human being can do.
You should travel as far and as wide as possible. It's the only way to taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon hiking through the Swiss Alps. Get lost in the busy streets of Tokyo. Scuba dive through the coral reefs of Belize. Climb to the top of Machu Picchu. Get your heart broken in Poland and Cambodia as you learn about their history of genocides. Swim with whale sharks in the Philippines. These are the moments that impact you the most.
Traveling forces you to expand. It pulls you from your comfort zone and your pre-existing beliefs are challenged by the second. It will teach you to care for issues that are much, much bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small; that you are both significant and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. You will have a newfound respect for pain, poverty, and suffering and as a result, your empathy muscle will grow.
While you're able, get to know this incredible planet and all the unique cultures that fill it. The world is so much more than just the hometown you grew up in.
World travel allows you to feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way. It introduces the idea that no matter where you're from or what you look like, all people cry, laugh, eat, worry, love, and ultimately die. We are more similar than we are different and seeing this with your own eyes is incredibly important to becoming the most well-rounded version of yourself.
And this is why I believe that world travel is the most worthwhile activity a human being can do.
Simply put, it makes you more human.
See more from my TEDxUCI talk from 2014:
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