The reasons to travel are infinite in my book. However, it’s so easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of life and forget to explore. Stress, money, family, education, work and health are just a few reasons we find ourselves stuck in our bubble or why we tether ourselves to same old reliable vacation spots year after year. When I get stuck in the travel rut, I make a list of reasons I love to travel and what destinations would be best suited for those reasons, and I find myself inspired to start planning my next travel adventure.
1. Meeting new people
One of my favorite parts about travel (actually, life in general) is meeting new people—especially people who have completely different worldviews and life experiences than myself. When visiting a foreign destination, my mind is even more open and receptive to different ways of living, eating and thinking. There is so much to learn if you’re willing to put yourself out there when you travel. No museum or sightseeing tour that will teach you as much about a destination than getting to know the locals and immersing yourself in their culture.
Destination: I’ve always dreamed of going to Thailand because I find it fascinating that it’s the only Southeast Asian country that has never been colonized. Thailand would be a great place to travel as far as meeting new people goes. With deep roots in Theravada Buddhism, Thailand’s rich culture would be best experienced through the help, wisdom and company of locals.
2. Getting to know yourself
When I travel, I feel like I’m a better version of myself. My normal schedule is so packed that I rarely have time to reflect on my life, the decisions I’ve made and all of those other life questions that I’m forced to overlook. When I travel, I like to push my limits, break out of my comfort zone and see what I’m really capable of. Traveling will not only free up your time, but it will free up your mind so you can start getting to know yourself on a deeper level.
Destination: Located in the eastern Himalayas between China and India, the Kingdom of Bhutan seems like the perfect destination to get back in touch with my spiritual and adventurous sides. From mountain trekking to Buddhist programs to festivals, there seems to be no shortage of ways to get to know yourself in Bhutan.
As all my friends and family could confirm, I pretty much tell time by what meal comes next. My love for food complements my love for travel perfectly and has inspired me to travel to places where I’d never thought I’d wind up.
Destination: There are innumerable reasons I’ve dreamed of traveling to Peru, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the cuisine was a driving force. I’ve heard so much about the varied and unique culinary styles of this South American country that every time I hear “Peru,” I start to salivate. With Amerindian, Spanish, African, Asian and Italian influences, it’s no wonder Peru is known for its eclectic dishes. Guinea pigs, or cuy, are considered a delicacy in Peru and at some restaurants you can even pick out your own—definitely not your average dining experience.
History is a fascinating subject, but there’s only so much you can learn from a classroom or textbook, which is why history is a big source of inspiration in my travel. I love traveling to places that I learned about in school or have read about—it really puts historical events in context.
Destination: While I’ve traveled to some great historical destinations, I have still haven’t had the opportunity to check Gettysburg off of my list. The historical site of the Battle of Gettysburg has a lot of history packed into it—from museums dedicated to the Civil War to ghost-walk guided tours.
While some people travel just to explore, some travel with a purpose in mind, such as surfing or wine tasting. My personal calling is scuba diving; this underwater activity has brought me to islands that I never even knew existed before. So even if you don’t have a hobby or a particular activity that inspires you to travel, it’s time to cultivate one. It will open up a whole new world of travel.
Destination: The Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean lay claim to one of the largest coral reef systems in the world as well as translucent waters (I’ve read visibility up to 200 feet!) that make for ideal scuba diving conditions. Shipwreck and wall diving are also available for the adventurous.
What inspires you to travel? If you need help deciding where to go next, try TravelMuse’s Inspiration Finder.