Photo credit: Elijah Henderson,
Photo credit: Elijah Henderson,

Life coaches like to ask, “How else can you look at that?”

One way is to get on a plane and get off in a place you’ve never seen.

Of course the coach’s question isn’t designed to help the travel industry. It’s supposed to prompt a mental jog into uncharted territory– that just might lead to unforeseen solutions. Any movement’s usually internal, not external. No suitcase needed.

But hold on, because travel’s actually a great way to shift perspectives. Indeed, the idea of investing in experiences instead of things is as old as bone ice skates– invented by the ancient Finns to zip around the ice and get a new look at their chilly world.

Over the years, many sage voices have weighed in, like:

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves.” – Pico Iyer

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” – Mark Twain

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Sometimes it’s easy to get trapped by our routines, and hard to figure a way out. Even meditation may fall short. Sometimes you just need to get away. And it doesn’t have to be Paris, even though, as Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea.”

Why bother? You might be put off by cost, time, and potential hassle. But the good outweighs the bad.

Here are six reasons to pack a bag and hit the road:

  1. It’s true that your field of vision broadens away from home. Immerse yourself in a new culture, talk to strangers, and get off the internet for a payday full of personal insights. This, many say, is also the difference between being a traveler and a tourist.
  2. You could very well be in a rut and don’t know it. Travel shakes things up. It forces you to toss out your schedule, try new things, and be more spontaneous.
  3. You’ll come home feeling more confident and creative. We know this anecdotally and intuitively, but there’s also science to back it up. More here from The Atlantic.
  4. There are lots of pre-journey benefits. Planning (without over-planning), sounding out friends who have already been where you’re headed, and setting goals are all rewarding activities (and it’ll give you a psychic boost!).
  5. Spending time away helps get you back in touch with your core values. While it’s arguable that the answers to all questions lie within, getting “without” – sampling new sights and sounds, for instance – will help reinforce what matters most in your life.
  6. As you gather new experiences, you’ll also build a stash of memories that gleam long after the shine wears off from anything you can buy. As author Paulo Coelho advised, “Collect moments, not things.”

When you return, all will not be perfect. The challenges you left may still remain. But you’ll look at them differently, and you’ll have more insight and energy to turn hurdles into highways.

Why make travel part of your journey? Because you just might find yourself somewhere on the road less traveled.