Social media has transformed the travel game and the perception of travelers and traveling. It is impossible to miss the fantastic voyages of your close, and not-so-close friends if you are a member of a social forum like Facebook or Instagram. However, this assault of travel experiences by often well-meaning travelers has created a belief that a person must keep-up (competitively) with their Super Traveler friend. Instead of enjoying the beautiful experiences of others, some believe that this is a completion of more followers, more likes, and more countries visited. Why this belief? Underlying it all is a perception that travelers are “better people” or that the more countries you visit makes you a "well-rounded person.” Is this true? Well, the answer is “no,” but let’s explore why the more countries you visit does not make you a better person, and when traveling frequently makes you a well-rounded individual.
Why Some Travel More than Others
As previously stated, there is nothing in being a frequent traveler that inherently makes that person better than someone less-traveled. A person who has visited 50 countries is not more well-rounded than someone who has visited two countries. Exploring why some people travel more extensively than others will help us to see why this is the case. Here are three reasons why some people travel more than others.
3) Financial Resources
Having the ability to travel frequently may mean that one has more financial resources than another. Visiting other countries can be expensive, depending on how you prefer to wanderlust. Individual financial situations differ from one person to another, so do not be disappointed if you cannot globe-trot as much as you would like because of limited finances. More importantly, do not be envious of others who do have the means to travel. Learn from and enjoy the experiences of others.
Personal circumstances are a big reason why some can travel more than others. For instance, a person may have a job that requires them to be on the move. This individual may incorporate pleasure travel with their work.
Many people work online and can work while traveling. In a situation like this, a person may only need to see if their destination of choice has fast internet access, and then they are ready to explore.
I have also noticed many people who are retired and who use their free time to travel. They may have a pension or retirement fund which allows them to travel extensively. They have the circumstances and money.
Desire is the primary reason why some travel more than others. People who travel a lot have a strong and overwhelming desire to wanderlust, and a lack of money does not seem to hinder them from doing so. I met a young woman who traveled throughout Europe with only 600 euros. Now, that seemed quite impossible to me, but she was able to do it. Frankly, extensive travelers value traveling more than others.
This strong desire to explore the world causes many people to sacrifice other things to travel. They may forgo a new home, eating out, new cars, a demanding but high-paying job, or other personal luxuries. They subsequently use those resources to fulfill their traveling passion. It always amazes me how people who don't make a lot of money, by most standards, find a way to travel.
When Does Traveling Make You A Better Person?
I am a firm believer that the more countries you visit, the more well-rounded of a person you become. Of course, this personal development depends on having the correct attitude and perspective while traveling.
To become a “better person” from traveling, you must be focused on learning about the country and its people. The value in going to many countries is when you take your time to discover the culture of the country. It is vital to determine why the people of a particular region are who they are. Growth comes when you learn about each country's history and people, and then you add that knowledge to the tapestry of knowledge gleaned from other experiences.
Once I traveled to Chile and was surprised by the number of German people in the country. Our tour guide explained why there are so many Germans living in Chile, and the answer surprised me because it had nothing to do with WWII.
Anyway, the more countries you visit does not make you a “better person.” You become a better person when your travel experiences make you more tolerant, humble, and understanding of differences. You become a better person by understanding the culture, meeting the people, appreciating nature, and learning as much as possible all while having a great time.
For most, travel makes us humble; but for a select few, it becomes a competition. Never let the latter be the case. Develop an open mind and heart, be happy for others, and cultivate a strong desire to learn about the world and differences among people. When you have this outlook, you will become a “better person.”
I'm just a guy who likes traveling, taking photos, and writing about my travels. I am not a writer by trade, so the main reason I write is to relive my travel experiences. Documenting vacations via photography and writing seems to add another layer to memory.
Article by Mark Pringle
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