How World Travel Makes You a Better Person

world travel

World travel is one of the most enriching and rewarding things you can do. It gives you a glimpse into other cultures and lifestyles, exposes you to other languages and teaches you new ways of doing things. But perhaps the greatest gift of all is that it makes you a better person. Travel opens your mind and teaches you about the complexities of our planet and our place in it.

As the tumultuous Drake Passage racks up millions of TikTok views and traffic jams form on Everest, travellers are looking for experiences that combine adventure with deeper levels of self-empowerment. They’re willing to sacrifice the comforts of home, suspend their usual standards for food, art and recreational activities in the pursuit of a life-changing break from the ordinary.

A journey into the unknown can transform you, as Pessoa, Chesterton and Emerson knew well, but it’s hard to know exactly how and why. The enduring myth is that travel teaches you about the world and makes you a more tolerant, open-minded, intelligent and compassionate person. But this idea is a bit of a misnomer. The truth is that the experience of travel may change you in the most intangible and insidious way, and it’s impossible to measure.

When you embark on a journey into the unknown, it is easy to fall in love with the world. It’s an intoxicating mix of awe, curiosity and a bit of fear that comes from the knowledge that it is all going to end one day. It’s a strange thing, but it happens to most people who travel. It splits your life into the chunk that happens before the trip and the chunk that occurs after it, making the prospect of annihilation seem a little less frightening.

Whether it’s by air, sea or overland, there are many ways to traverse the globe, but the most common is to buy an around-the-world plane ticket from an airline alliance like Star Alliance or OneWorld. They offer itineraries covering multiple continents in a single transaction and typically follow one global direction, either east or west (to suit your circadian rhythm), with no backtracking.

For most people, the most meaningful moments come from the people they meet along the way. Whether they’re locals or fellow travellers, they become the names on their contact list and the destinations in their heads. Their stories, their dreams and their adventures are often the stuff of legends and become a hugely important part of their personal histories. The friendships you make while travelling have a powerful effect on your life and will shape the way you see the world long after your trip is over. You may be lucky enough to return home a different person, but the memories of your trips will remain with you for a lifetime.