Today traveling is something that most of my peers love to do and are constantly planning for. However, I have enjoyed traveling almost from the word go thanks to my parents who seem to have passed on their wanderlust genes to me. So, I still have photos of when I was a few months old, right outside Taj Mahal which was a few hours drive away from Delhi. Most of my summer holidays would include traveling to our ancestral places in Punjab as well as a holiday in either neighboring countries like Nepal and Bhutan or some part of India, which has enough varied locales to explore and keep us busy for over a decade.

 This week, when I was racking my brains to think of what to write I realised that travel has actually helped me grow as a person. In a way, travel acts as a great equaliser as well as helps to broaden horizons. I came up with some pretty solid reasons why if you have money and time, travel must be a priority:

Helps you get out of your comfort zone

One of the main means of growing as a person is to “get out of your comfort zone”. What better way than to completely change your surroundings and then find your way about it? While we go prepared and do our research when before we get to our destination, there can be enough surprises on-ground to make you think on your feet. For instance, when we visited London in February once, it was bitterly cold to the likes that we have never experienced. Nor were we too well equipped in terms of clothing to battle it. However, we still have really fond memories of it which mostly include warm food!

Sense of observation and wonder

When we are living in our daily lives, doing the same things day after day, there is very little scope to observe anything per se. We go through the demands of what needs to be done to live another day. However, when we travel, with everything being different, the smallest of details ends up catching our fancy. Be it the height of an escalator leading to a metro station or the small little religious offerings in Bali called Canang Sari or the beautiful church architecture across Europe. Mostly my eyes remain popped out and the head is continuously swivelling in all directions just to drink in as many details as I can.

Global palate

If I were to talk about my favourite part of travel, it can be summed up in 3 words – Food & Drink. I am a foodie and trying new foods is a passion. For a long time I used to hunt out such experiences and write about them on my previous blog Bohemian Foodies. While I still hunt those experiences out, sadly I am inactive on the blog. Today, my research for any travel destination includes attractions and food. In food again I research on street food, food markets and desserts. During travel, any resolution to control sugar intake also goes out of the window. In fact, my best travel memories often consist of something to eat or drink – be it kulfi in Lucknow, stroopwafel in Amsterdam, mylari dosa in Mysore, Grand Marnier crepe in Paris, warm poi in Goa, langos in Budapest, kachori in Jaipur or apfelwein in Frankfurt. If you like food, you gotta travel.

Creative cardio

To think creatively, there needs to be new stimuli every now and then. We are finally inspired by our surroundings whenever we think. I consider travel almost like cardio exercise for creativity – it gets fuelled up for sure. Just looking at some really beautiful vistas is enough for my brain to hit refresh and experience exhilaration. Travel helps make you think differently and even look at the same thing from different angles.

People & Conversations

Another thing I love about travel is coming across different people and the kind of conversations we end up having – with fellow travelers and locals. Today, most people across the world know about India so we have rarely come across blank looks when we tell them we are from India. What has often surprised us is the universal appeal Bollywood, especially Shah Rukh Khan seems to command in far-flung countries. When we have stayed at home stays, we have mostly had the good fortune of getting great hosts which is often another avenue of memorable conversations.

If travel so far has seemed scary or tedious, I can just hope this list inspires you to make a start. It’s not important as to how far you travel, as much as it is that you travel. 

Do you travel? If you do, what do you love about it? If not, what’s stopping you from making plans for your next trip? Let me know in the comments below.