The question I get asked the most from people is “What is the best part of traveling abroad?”
I never have to think long and hard about what I want to tell them.
There are a number of reasons why traveling abroad is so amazing but when I do get asked this question, these 5 incredible reasons to travel abroad come to mind repeatedly….
For me, one of the absolute best things about traveling is the people I get to meet. I have met people from all over the world, and some of these people have become my greatest friends. So many stereotypical ideas I have had about people from other countries and walks of life have totally changed.
Everyone is just like you!
Traveling is like a revolving door. People are constantly coming and going everywhere you are.
I was easily meeting 10 new people each week, some I connected so well with that we still keep in touch. In a short amount of time I got to know these people, I lived with them and traveled with them. I built bonds that I never thought I would with people that are so different from me but at the same time so relatable.
Travel friends are some of the best ones you will ever find in life because they appreciate life in a different way than some of your non-traveling friends do.
One day I was sitting at a hostel hanging out waiting for a pub crawl and the next thing I know a girl comes up to me asking if she could put glitter on my face. So naturally I said yes, we spent the next 6 hours dancing on the beach and enjoying life.
We lived on Koh Phangan Island in Thailand for 6 months basically spending everyday together and when it came time to leave, she was going to Australia and I didn’t have a next plan on where I wanted to go. So, I said why the hell not, I’ll come with ya.
After 6 months in Thailand and another 4 in Australia we parted ways but we are already making plans to meet in South America.
I would have never expected the girl that asked to put glitter on my face would become one of my now greatest friends.
You honestly do not realize how much someone is going to impact your life, until they do. When you travel, I promise you will find these people!
It’s inevitable and I am lucky to have her as well as a hand full of other great friends I have made with stories just like this!
Being someone that had never left her Buffalo bubble I had no idea what other cultures were like. Even when you learn about cultures in History class, its nothing that will ever prepare you for what you experience traveling abroad.
Each Country with their own set of beliefs, ideas, rules, languages and ways of life. How people dress, eat and act. Each country I went to had a different way of doing things, and I got to be a part of that.
I amerced myself in someone else’s way of life and that’s part of what makes traveling abroad so interesting.
I tried to learn new languages, not very well might I add but at least knowing the basics goes a long way not only for you but also for the culture you are in.
People will respect you so much more as a foreigner if you actually try to amerce yourself into their way of life. I learned about new holidays, traditions and truly caught a better understanding of how people live in other countries.
It made me appreciate the culture I come from and how mine differs from theirs. These new cultures have given me a diverse perspective on the world and that’s not something you can teach someone to have.
Once when I was on a remote island off the coast of Indonesia called Nias, I was living my most cultural experience yet.
We were in a very poor area, I lived with lack of running water, the toilets didn’t flush, the showers only had cold water, and the beds were far from comfortable.
I amerced myself into the Nias way of life. It was hard at first, I remember calling my Mom saying, “I can’t believe this is how these people live”.
After traveling for the last year and a half I now know how ignorant of a statement that is, but you honestly don’t understand what it’s like until you are experiencing it first hand.
In those two weeks staying in Nias I learned what it was like to be a part of a culture different from my own, I learned appreciation for how I was raised and all I was given in life too.
You see these people in this culture that have so little and are happy, genially happy, the kids all come up to you laughing saying hello and wanting to play with you.
The Indonesian people smile and wave to you when you walk down their dirt roads.
Every night we had family meals together with the Indonesian family we were staying with. We all had a great time sharing stories together while laughing all night long.
In just two weeks I saw and experienced things that I never in my life would have otherwise living in my Buffalo bubble.
What is one of the main reasons people travel? Well to see incredible sights all over the world of course. I am the type of traveler that is always in search of the next epic sight to see.
Whether it’s a National Park, monument, waterfall, museum, historical site, temple or a wonder of the world. Each country I am in I go looking for the hidden secrets, gems and well-known marvels that each country or city has to offer.
There are so many places you will go see and it will take your breath away, some will give you a sense of peace and some will even teach you something about that country you never knew before.
You will see some of the most magnificent views and sights that will be imprinted in your mind and even your heart forever.
I know it sounds cheesy but it’s 100 percent true!
When I think about the “wonders” that I have seen there are two that come to mind immediately, and I do not mean wonders as in the 7 best man made or the natural wonders of the world. Anything can be a wonder if you love what you’re looking at.
By far one of the most incredible places I have ever seen is Anchor Wat in Cambodia. Is this surprising? For those of you that have grasped the ancient architecture then you are probably thinking yup, its incredible.
When you are in this place of intense history you cannot believe that people in ancient times created this temple with their hands. How on earth is that even possible?
The first time I saw Anchor Wat, I remember walking towards it as the sun was rising even though the rain thinking there is no possible way this place is real. We spent hours exploring the temple and it didn’t matter what part we were in, each had its own uniqueness to it. The detail of Anchor Wat will forever be something I will never fully be able to comprehend.
My second favorite “wonder” was Mu Koh Ang Thong National Park in the south of Thailand. This National Park has the most inspiring view I have seen since being abroad.
After a pretty intense hike (but well worth it) to the top of the park, you look out and oversee hundreds of rock formations in-between turquoise water. I remember being completely out of breath when I reached the top but the second, I saw the view I had this sense of peacefulness come over me.
How could something be this beautiful? It is hard to believe that these places do exist and if this is such an amazing thing, what other “wonders” can I seek to find in this world.
One of the best things about traveling abroad is all the different types of food you get to try.
If you are an exotic eater then anywhere abroad will be a smorgasbord of food for you. I am a picky eater but still find the food in each country I have had to be fantastic (for the most part).
Each place you go will have a plethora of food tailored to their culture and you’ll be constantly surprised at the flavors this world has to offer.
While discovering new foods in a foreign country is wonderful, so is trying a food you’ve eaten many times before and finding a totally new flavor in it or it tasting completely different then how you’ve experienced it before in the western world.
For those times that you are tired of eating traditional food, in most places you can find westernized places to eat. I have actually eaten at some of the best western restaurants in my life abroad.
Since moving abroad my favorite cultural cuisine is Thai food. I am a sucker for curry and rice. When living in America I was never a fan of Asian food, especially not Thai food.
I had tried it a couple times before I moved to Asia but once reaching Thailand, I realized I had to adapt and start to eat the cultural food since western food is quite expensive and let’s be real, if you are a traveler you are trying to find the cheapest ways to make your travels happen.
So, for me adjusting to food abroad was easiest in Thailand and I fell in love with curry and fried rice.
What I have learned in my time traveling is that I am not the same person I was before I stepped onto that overseas flight. The person I was a year and a half ago is someone who has transformed into what I think is a better version of myself.
You will 100 percent have to be independent. You can’t rely on people to help you, you can’t call your Mom or Dad and have them make everything better for you either.
You are thousands of miles away from home, the only person you will rely on is you, and it’s certainly the best way I have learned independence.
I learned how to be more confident and adventurous. I jumped out of my comfort zone and expanded my way of thinking as well as how important it is to be accepting of everyone.
Traveling has given me so much time to reflect on my actual experiences abroad and how my way of thinking has changed.
I sincerely believe traveling makes you grow into a better you. So, with that being said, what the heck are you waiting for…Book that ticket!