Sophie Hollis

Hi! I'm second year student studying English literature and drama. I'm a Londoner, born and bred, and I like to read (anything from Daphne De Maurier to Michael Morpurgo), drink tea and play the drums. An undying dream of mine is to "travel the world",...

Why Travelling is Good for the Soul

Hoi An, Vietnam. Woman rowing in the Harbour at Sunset, Hoi An Vietnam, by freelance editorial travel photographer Matthew Williams-Ellis

You’ve probably heard of the term ‘wanderlust’ before, particularly if you have Tumblr (it’s all over that thing). If you haven’t, wanderlust is a strong desire or impulse to wander, explore and travel the world. Whether it is a fifty minute walk into the next town in North Africa, a seventy two hour cross country American road-trip, or an EasyJet flight to Majorca for £89 quid, all around the world humans travel, from one destination to the other. In just under a month’s time, I will be embarking on a three month summer adventure across the Atlantic. Very soon, the time will come to heave my dusty suitcase from the cupboard, count my socks and shirts, and, most importantly, forget to pack something (sunscreen and toothbrush go in first, my friends – thank me later). If ever you’re mulling over whether to see somewhere new, somewhere out of your comfort zone, somewhere with a different culture from yours, I am writing this article, on this drizzly, ‘where’s-the-cappuccino-at’ day, to tell you to take the plunge. Here are three reasons why travelling is good – no, great, (gratifying, wonderful and astonishingly stupendous) for your soul.

  1. It expands our awareness of different cultures. Though it may be surprising, not everyone drinks tea and watches Game of Thrones- (I know! I couldn’t believe it either). In fact, the countries of our beautiful world are jam-packed with interesting, diverse cultures much cooler than that, offering all sorts of food to be eaten, beverages to be drunk, and places to truly experience. For example, did you know that Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve by eating twelve grapes on the stroke of midnight? Or that there are 6,000 languages spoken in the world, with many of them by less than one hundred people? Yep, travelling will help you learn the quirkiest facts about our cultures that will make you more accepting (and generally lovely) as a person. I say put the Wotsits down, sign out of Netflix and go and discover what they are, yeah?
  1. It helps us learn what really matters, and what doesn’t. If you’re not already sick of the 9-5, or continuous stress with exam revision, or journeys home during the rush hour, chances are you probably will be soon- (sorry to be a Scrooge). Unplugging yourself from your daily routine through travel is as refreshing and revitalising as L’Oréal hair products. What’s more, while you’re away, you’ll realise what you want to do more of at home. If you hate your job, get a new one. If you want to take up tennis, google your nearest club and smack some serves Murray-style. Some people might huff ‘it’s not that simple!’, but they’re kidding themselves, because nothing could be simpler. In the words of writer, Henry Miller: ‘one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things’. Unforgettable memories await you, so do yourself a favour and leave the drama of home life behind – if not now, when?
  1. It invites us to face our fears. Whether alone or in a group, leaving the comfort of our bed, washing detergent and favourite pub and going to explore the big, wide world of the unknown is a terrifying and unique thing to do. It is only through travel that we can see what tiny place we occupy on Earth, and share remarkable moments with people who, only two weeks ago, were strangers to us. All of these experiences make you stronger as a person. Being without your family, you’ll learn independence; being without accessible Wi-Fi for long periods of time, you’ll realise that it is something far greater than the internet that connects the world together. Ultimately, with every fear faced, you’ll grow mentally, emotionally and physically as a person, and I’m rooting for you. (Psst, you can do it).

So wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, be good for your soul today and plan a trip in 2015. Watch yourself grow. Enjoy it. My words of wisdom have come to an end.

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