Tag Archives: benefits of travel

The Language of Traveling: How Experiences Turn Us Into Storytellers

Traveling makes us richer. It makes us richer with memories, experiences, and stories. It makes us richer with moments that take our breath away. We leave the comforts of home and throw ourselves into the unknown all in the name of these priceless moments (or perhaps a new profile picture). We can read all about the places and look at pictures, but concept is so much different from experience.

Traveling isn’t easy, of course. You invest time and money. You prepare yourself to be recklessly thrown into situations you have no control over. But on the other hand, the benefits of traveling are way too many to pass up while you sit in a corner your whole life. Studies claim that traveling is the best medicine — it makes your heart and brain healthier. It keeps you young and it makes your soul happy. Whether you are exploring a new city or relaxing by the beach, the wonder of being in a different place keeps our hearts healthy. A trip to Boracay Island in the Philippines will give you such feels. The warmth of the sun against your skin, the calmness of the beach, and how the sand exfoliates your skin are just some of the health benefits of beach travel. Yes, travel benefits both the spirit and the body.

It also makes us better storytellers. St. Augustine famously said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” The many experiences and memories we gain, both good and bad, make us more informed and aware. That moment when we see a place for the first time and we are speechless is exactly what makes us good storytellers.

The best and most believable storytellers are those who have seen and experienced the world. Here’s how traveling turns us into a storytellers:

 

The good, the bad, and the breathtaking

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No matter how many travel blogs and reviews you read, nothing will ever prepare you for the things that await you in one place. For example, before traveling to Boracay, you probably know all about the fine white sand and the postcard-worthy sunset, but knowing how the sand feels between your toes and how the sunset makes you swoon is something you have to experience. You have to feel it. You have to see it. Seeing the place for the first time and then falling in love with it over and over again is what makes an experience and it is what makes you a perfect storyteller. You get to tell other people exactly how the sand felt.

 

Experiences into life lessons

There are thousands of traveling tips that you can easily spot online — what to bring, what to wear, where to go, which hotel accommodation to book, etc. But it is only when you get to the actual place that you realize what you missed to pack. It is only when you experience a place that you get to realize that there are so many other options, so many things you didn’t do or things you did that you shouldn’t have, what to say or not say, etc. These experiences turn into life lessons that make every story more valuable.

 

Beauty of getting lost

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Preparing itineraries, maps, and schedules are a good thing. But getting lost in a new city and roaming free is when we actually discover the most beautiful secrets of a place. The importance of getting lost when traveling ranges from discovery of a place to the discovery of oneself. You suddenly realize that your problem-solving skills are superb. You realize that you are capable of figuring things out on your own and at your own pace. You learn to trust your instincts, you learn to enjoy conversations with locals and other travelers, and you learn that you are perfectly capable of finding your way back.

 

All of your senses at work

Airport terminal

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When you travel to a new place, your senses work very hard. You get to know a place by its exotic smell, its quaint sights, and how it feels — does it make you feel happy, giddy, safe, or scared? You go beyond visual details and go into sensory details. As a storyteller, you get to tell it as it is.

 

Meeting the locals

Locals are a big part of every adventure. Just by being in a bus full of locals will give you a glimpse of the different types of people when you travel — friendly, snobs, busy, tired, etc. You will learn about their peculiarities and what makes them unique just by observing and talking to them. You don’t get to read a lot of those in travel blogs. Traveling isn’t all about places. Most importantly, it’s about the people. You have to speak to the locals and allow them to get to you.

 

The food is everything

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Food says a lot about its people. When traveling, skip the fast food and go for the authentic. When you travel to Boracay, you will realize that Filipinos are all about good food — fat, salty, sweet, and yummy. Healthy? Well, not so much. But fresh seafood? Now we’re talking. You will learn that in this island in the Philippines, food can be a conversation piece and can bring families and friends together. Meals are never quiet and formal. They eat with their hands and you should, too. You can write a book just by tasting a country’s delicacy.

 

New city, new rules

When traveling, you learn how to balance between allowing yourself to roam free while minding boundaries and restrictions. Rules are very important in telling stories about a place and an experience because they caution against needless hassles. Did you know that building sand castles is no longer allowed in Boracay? Did you know that giving “tips” is frowned upon in Japan? These are reminders that make a trip free from hassles and worries.

The possibilities when traveling are endless. You have to lose yourself. You have to be in the moment. Traveling turns us into storytellers by leaving us breathless and speechless. Experiences and memories fill our stories with sights, smells, and perspective. Traveling gives our stories value, authenticity, and emotions.

 

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Sustainable Setting To Travel And Learn

Doesn’t the mere thought of traveling makes you happy and giddy? While typing “things to do” and “what to eat” in a certain country or city, you suddenly realize how wonderful it is to live. Add a little more something to it like a diploma and a degree and you got the recipe for the most perfect getaway.

It should not be surprising that the number of international students around the world is on the rise. Studying abroad has “lucky” written all over it. It’s not every day that you get to travel while learning. According to a 2009 statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, there are around 3.7 million international students worldwide. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics finds that the numbers are increasing by 12% each year, which means that as of 2015, some 2.6 million students have had the privilege to study abroad. In short, there are at least six million extremely lucky individuals who get to experience first-hand the benefits of traveling and learning at the same time.

The U.S., European countries, and major Asian cities are among the most popular destinations for international students. Young people get to study abroad via sponsorships, grants, and personal expense. Sometimes all it takes is to fill out that application form and know that there’s more to learning than crashing frat parties and scoring a date with a cheerleader or a football star. Yes, the struggles are real and there will be challenges and you will miss familiar places and faces. But it’s a big world out there. Go out, learn, and have fun.

Whether you are into the romantic, rustic, cultural or modern vibe, there is a very wide and diverse list of the best and coolest countries and cities to choose from, depending on the course or degree and other personal preferences. Here are some of them:

Oooh, Paris!

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For the third year running, Paris was ranked number one in the QS Best Student Cities index. The French capital is admired for its architecture and cultural heritage. There are a lot of internationally-ranked universities in Paris that often attract those studying culture, humanities, design and architecture, and also fashion. Do you know what is the common course requirement for studying French architecture? A trip to the Louvre.

The cost of living in Paris is rather high, especially for students, but the tuition fees are relatively low compared to other cities which offsets living expenses. In addition, you can stare and have the cheesiest photo at the majestic Eiffel Tower as often as you want.

Diversity in South Africa

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South Africa is among the most culturally and ethnically diverse places in the region. It’s history is also very interesting considering the country’s struggles during the apartheid and colonization. So if you want to learn about cultures, politics, and international studies, South Africa should be on top of your list. Plus, it’s also a great place to study linguistics. Did you know that they have 11 official languages? Nature is also a good discipline because of the wildlife and yes, the safari. And according to Abroad 101, Cape Town, South Africa’s capital, is among the top 10 friendliest cities in the world.

Awesome Australia

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You’ll never be bored in Australia. It is truly the perfect setting to travel and learn. From the beaches to the rainforests and postcard-worthy sites, Australia is simply a gorgeous country. Most of Australia is known for the beach life, night life and music. And of course, the way humans co-exist with animals.

Among its strong academic programs involve ecology, geology and marine biology. This is mainly because of the country’s varied topography and unique climate. The student population in Australia is large, diverse, and inclusive. There are also a lot of internationally-ranked universities across the country; seven can be found in Melbourne.

Nerdy in Germany

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Germany is a cool destination for students, especially for those interested in the sciences and technology industries. It is a good place to study engineering and business, as it is a leader in both fields. Given its very rich history, Germany is also a good choice to study European politics. Students would also be glad to know that Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, gives subsidies to foreign students, making it an affordable study destination.

Museums and gardens are aplenty. Beer is also part of the culture.  Party nights can be a little notorious in cities like Berlin.

Lots of lovin’ in Dublin

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Ireland is a passionate nation. They pack so much pride for their sports teams, history, and heritage. Ireland is enriching on so many levels and it is just a fun country to be in. No wonder that among its strong academic programs are on the romance side — literature and writing. James Joyce, anyone?

Most Irish universities put a lot of academic responsibility on the students. These universities do not cover everything in lectures, and exams are not very popular either. Learning materials are given to students and they have to be responsible enough to go through them. Just a friendly reminder: it rains all the time in Dublin so be prepared. Aside from passport, visa, and other academic requirements, climate is also among the major things to consider when traveling and studying abroad.

A great Spanish mix

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There are a variety of lessons you can learn in studying abroad. Aside from the course requirements, there is also the rich history and culture. And when you think of the perfect mix of modernity and tradition, Spanish-speaking countries got you covered.

Spain has it all — culture, history, heritage, and tradition. Art, theater, architecture, and linguistics are perfect disciplines. Hailed as one of the most livable cities in the world, its capital Madrid is both enchanting and exotic. It’s very modern and the traveler in you will surely enjoy the awesome nightlife and flamenco dancing.

Argentina is also a good study destination. If you are looking for a Latin American perspective on politics, history, and religion, then Argentina is the place to be. Given the European history of its people, the social sciences are also a strong point. Argentina is also home to a lot of exciting rural areas and vibrant cities that you can explore.

The demand for quality universities in Costa Rica is high because of the high literacy in this Spanish-speaking country. It’s 96%! Costa Rica has a very lush environment, making environment-related fields of study its strong point. In fact, many of its universities sponsor educational trips to research on and explore the vast natural resources.

Royalty in the United Kingdom

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The UK is home to some of the oldest and most respected universities in the world, so you are guaranteed to find a really good one. It also home to some of the world’s most notable politicians, economists, scientists, and writers so you could basically study anything in the UK. For the travel part, you can experience royalty in some of the palaces, eat fish and chips, dine al fresco, go crazy over soccer, and fall in love with the cute accent.

Fall easily with Italy

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It’s easy to fall in love with Italy over and over again. The food is great and the sites are gorgeous. Every corner is worthy of a selfie and you won’t run out of updates and posts for your social media pages. Art, history, and architecture are good study courses in Italy. There is also Rome for classical history, arts and architecture. Then there’s Milan for fashion.

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity. You get to see the world in a different perspective. You don’t go by an itinerary, but instead slowly take it all in. Do not be intimidated by the thought of studying in a different country. Embrace it like a true citizen of the world.

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Travel Nightmare: The Fear of Not Attaining One’s Bucket List

Nowadays almost everyone has their own bucket list, a phrase derived from the expression “kick the bucket,” which is a term for death. A bucket list represents a breakdown of the things a person wants to do before he dies. Travel is one of the high priorities in most people’s list and they do everything they can to reach the destination of their dreams. For some, failure to complete a bucket list is considered a nightmare, something that they really dread happening. Perhaps because for a lot of people, achieving one’s bucket list ideas has become a pursuit to beat not only oneself but also others.

Photo from Claudio Vaccaro via Flickr

Making and completing the list has become a competition of sorts, with individuals posting travel photos in their social media accounts as proof that they’ve really done it. Attaining a bucket list has somehow become a measure of self-esteem, a yardstick of achievement. There’s also the fear of not being able to enjoy life to the fullest before dying. According to psychologist Linda Blair, the whole business of creating and achieving bucket lists is “a way of denying the idea of death, not coping with it at all. People usually do this to ensure that there are things to look forward to, which means there are things that are still going to happen. My experience warns me that it’s probably done in order to prevent thinking about death.”

Whatever the reason is for your fear of not attaining your bucket list, there’s something you can do to stop it. There are things you can initiate in order to stop fear from paralyzing you and preventing you from ticking items off your list. Here are the steps you need to do in order to achieve your travel goals.

Transform excuses into tasks

 

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It’s human nature to flake out and make excuses for the things that we fail to do. These excuses can be convenient at first but as time goes by, these excuses can have an effect on our overall motivation to achieve things. Slacking off can become a lifelong habit.

You can deal with this by pointing out the excuses you’re making and then turning them into tasks. For instance, if having kids is your primary reason for not traveling, then you can research about the stories of other travelers who have managed to take vacations with their brood. If lack of money is your primary reason, then you should create an estimate of the amount of cash you need to go to your dream destination and figure out ways how you can make that kind of money. If you fear solo traveling, then you can search for inspiring stories about solo travelers to rest your fears about traveling solo.

Change your mindset about traveling

 

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A lot of people are blinded by beliefs that prohibit them from their travel dreams. These people hold on to the idea that traveling, especially solo journey, is terribly expensive and a selfish, self-indulgent activity. They always think of traveling as an overly complicated hobby. These lines of thinking should be adjusted to accommodate ideas that will encourage them to travel. True, traveling can be expensive but there are ways to travel on the cheap. You can stay at budget accommodations and eat at inexpensive restaurants. No, it’s not true that traveling is a selfish act; there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see the most beautiful beach resorts and experience other cultures. It’s a great way to enrich one’s soul and you owe it to yourself to do so. Yes, traveling can be complicated but patience and practice can make things easier in the long run.

Set specific goals

 

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Items on your bucket list look more realistic if you can make specific goals to achieve it. You need to establish a set of criteria in working towards reaching your destination. You can choose a place closest to your current location. You can opt for a place with the least expenses. You can center on that destination that you think you can’t bear to miss out before you die and concentrate all your efforts on it. You can choose a place where you have friends or relatives.

Obsess over the idea

 

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There’s bad obsession and there’s the good kind, which can be very helpful in achieving your travel goal. It’s all about finding out what moves you as a traveler. If it’s your ultimate dream to go to Morocco, find people who’ve been there already and ask them stories about the experience. Search travel videos of Morocco and promise yourself that you will see those spots with your own eyes in the near future. Hoard travel books and read them until you memorize everything there is to know about Morocco. Search for the nicest picture of the place and use it as your mobile and computer screensaver. Watch movies that used Morocco as a setting. Doing these things will fuel your passion for the place and will encourage you to give everything you got to reach that destination.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

 

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People who are not that enthusiastic with traveling can dampen your spirits and make you hesitate in achieving your travel goals. This is why you should socialize and make friends with travelers or at least people who are really dead set in packing their bags and flying off to somewhere mysterious and exotic. It doesn’t matter if you plan to become a solo traveler or if you prefer to travel with a group. Travelers can give you realistic tips on how to find safe and affordable accommodations, food, and transportation. You can also sign up for forums and clubs that share your level of wanderlust.

Used wisely, bucket lists can help immensely in making you attain your travel goals. Do not see it as means to compete with others in terms of self-esteem and achievement. Travel because you want to see the world and gain experience that will make you happy. There’s no need to compare your bucket list to others; the only competition you need is yourself. Manage your fears and allow yourself to see a brand new world that only brave souls like yourself will be able to enjoy.

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