Why leave the United States of America? This amazing country has so much to offer that people have been flocking here ever since our birth in 1776. So why leave now? Not forever, but for a new experience, an amazing vacation, or an extended travel trek. Just to get away.
I’ve been to 9 countries so far, on my way to 50 by age 60. Yet, sitting at the table next to me is a young lady who’s never left America.
Here are some great reasons to get you on that plane or over that border.
1. The shopping in Hong Kong is not only amazing, but fun. Especially if you like the art of negotiation or simple bartering.
2. The Taj Mahal is simply freakin’ amazing. Read the story behind it, shed a little emotional tear and get there.
3. One must see that the world is much bigger than the [normal] life we live.
4. Wanted in 30 states.
5. Far away friendships cannot be described. (Everybody needs friends of another culture and another land)
6. Travel helps define who you are and you learn so much about yourself [on the journey].
7. The journey is just as important as the destination. Both are amazing experiences.
8. The castles in Europe need to be constantly explored by people who’ve never seen them before.
9. You can learn a new language and actually put it to good use. Yes, the locals may laugh at you and that’s OK. The effort you put into your attempts are a compliment to them, regardless of your butchery.
10. Reading about a particular place in history is one thing. Walking where that history happened brings it to life all over again.
11. Google Earth can only open a crack in the door, despite their attempts at big city 3D. To see a place, any place, in person is a unique experience that cannot be packaged.
12. Look west as the sun sets and remember the sun never really sets.
13. It’s five o’clock somewhere. Go find that next five o’clock in your live and live a little.
14. You get to meet amazing people with fascinating stories. Stories you could never make up or even read about. They’re personal, real, gripping.
15. Nothing is more eye-opening than riding a bus in a third world country.
16. Coming from America, you’ll begin to realize just how good you have it here, even during a recession. You will come home with a much bigger appreciation for what you have and realize you may just have a little too much.
17. To share your story with someone else may be just what they need. You’ll never know how wonderful your own story is until you tell it to someone who has never experienced your culture.
18. Canada IS another country. Go there and discover the differences. Try to speak French. I dare you.
19. Machu Picchu at sunrise will take your breath away. I plan to experience this myself in 36 days from this posting.
20. Pitching a tent on a remote coffee farm in central Peru with the threat of rain looming overhead just sounds like a great way to get to know another country in a very personal way.
21. Discover how simply people of another culture live. Learn from their adaptability and apply it to your life back in the States.
22. Asian food must always be eaten with two wooden sticks and never with metal (or plastic) utensils. Even if it was from the Teriyaki Bowl down on 8th Avenue.
23. Look for the contentment in individuals from another land and seek to find the same contentment in yours when you come home.
24. To escape the routine that you need to be rescued from. Your brain will thank you for it.
25. Just to be a tourist and stimulate someone else’s economy for a change. Come to think about it, it takes less to stimulate some other individual’s economy in a third world than to stimulate ours. So, get the most bang for your buck somewhere overseas.
26. Immersing yourself in another culture is the only way to experience it and come close to understanding it.
27. Visit your roots. Your real roots. I’m Scottish and Irish so a combined trip to the motherlands, so to speak, would be a blast. Where are your roots?
28. It’s cheaper than you think it is, if you learn the skills of cheap travel. Even if you don’t, it’s still cheaper than you think.
29. You’ll have epic stories to tell when you get back. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures. Don’t you just love digital cameras?
30. Does anyone know how to obtain diplomatic immunity? Wouldn’t that be fun?
31. Cultural festivals and holidays in other countries must be experienced firsthand.
32. Cheaper pharmaceuticals. Hmmm?
33. Luxury is a very relative term. Go and find out what a luxury is in a third world culture.
34. To get over your fear of flying. Unless you just go to Canada, or Mexico. Overcoming a fear is a great reason all by itself and can be done without going far at all. But if you’re going to fly, fly somewhere you’ve never been before. Make it worth the time and money.
35. To see places you only see in movies. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a little bit of Middle Earth? Or Red Square? Or Big Ben? Or the Eiffel tower? Or Victoria Falls? Or the rooftops in Tangier? Or the Great Barrier Reef? Or Mount Fuji. Or __________…
36. The world is as small as you make it or as big as you want it to be. Given a choice, choose bigger.
37. To pretend to be someone else just for a few hours. (In another life, I would be Jason Bourne. I used to have two legal passports, until today, actually.)
38. To try foods that you’d never have the opportunity to try at home. Give your palate a chance to enjoy something new. Tease your taste buds with local delicacies you never knew existed.
39. To sweat like a pig in a hot, humid rain forest, swim in crystal clear water, run on a beach where nobody knows you, climb a mountain no one said you could climb. To stimulate all of your senses, fears and enjoy heart-pounding excitement.
40. To rent a car and drive on the left side of the road… legally.
41. To escape modern day Babel. (Deep)
42. Sick of the comforts of home. Comfort is a relative term. Go find out for yourself.
43. Just for the fun of it.
44. You only live once. Why live it in just one place?
45. The opportunity to experience exotic wildlife in their natural habitat. (I don’t have to outrun the animal. I just have to outrun you.)
With my thanks to Nina, Dave, Chris, Kristin, Davida, Cheryl and a few others.