Today more than ever it feels like the world is literally at your fingertips and you can virtually go anywhere you want without even needing to leave the safety of home. That’s a good thing right now, while so many of us are still sheltering in place during the pandemic. But while we’re grateful for our virtual portals to the rest of the world right now, we’re definitely dreaming of hitting the road again as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Why? Well, at the very core of everything that we do at HI USA is the belief that travel is a powerful tool for creating a better world and citizens who celebrate our planet’s diversity. In our ideal world, everyone would have the chance to go somewhere new at least once (we even have scholarships to help make that happen). But even beyond making the world a better place, there are plenty of good reasons to travel as much as you can.
1. New experiences
Routine is the killer of the soul, and there’s nothing better than the feeling of experiencing something new in a new place. Whether it’s to a new state or a whole new continent, traveling somewhere you’ve never been before is a great way to get out of the same old same old of daily life and rejuvenate the imagination. When you get back home, you’ll feel refreshed and charged to take on the challenges of life.
2. Food! (and other cultural experiences, too)
Australian Tim Tams, a full English breakfast, an authentic chicken tikka – these all taste better in their home country, and one of the best things about traveling is unashamedly eating anything and everything you can’t get back home. Food is a great way of understanding and connecting with other cultures, as are local art and music, because these are all expressions of humanity and our experience of it.
There’s something about travelling – maybe it’s the newness, maybe it’s the challenges that come up – that makes people connect with each other on a level that seems to transcend the rules of regular society, especially when you stay at HI USA hostels. If you’re traveling alone, you get to “bond” with yourself as you navigate you way around, and you’re also more open to meeting new people who can end up being friends for life. If you’re traveling with your friends or loved ones, the experiences on the road tend to bring you closer together as you make memories and overcome obstacles together.
4. Gaining a sense of perspective and appreciation
Visiting a new place is a good way to look at your own life and see it from the other side, so to speak. Seeing places where people have different rights, different incomes, and different ideas will make you challenge your own experiences and opinions and help you appreciate the good in your life that it’s often so easy to take for granted.
5. Opening your mind
There is just no denying that travel is essential to opening the mind. As you meet different people, have new experiences, and visit foreign places, the reality of these things shatter any preconceived ideas you might have had before. You’ll see people as people just like you and not as stereotypes based on geography, and you’ll discover that there’s more to famous cities than their well-known sights. The challenges, the kindness of strangers, and the beauty and diversity of the natural world will only make you more open to and accepting of different ways of thinking and being.
6. Making memories
This one is a little cliché, but it’s true: no one looks back on their life and wishes they’d upgraded their iPhones more regularly. They think back on the unforgettable train ride in Europe, the time they got lost in New York and found the best slice of pizza, or how they met their husband at a hostel. Your travel experiences will always be with you, and when you need a pick-me-up, they can be a valuable resource for reminding yourself how good life can be.
7. Staying at HI USA hostels
Traveling is good, and staying at hostels is even better. Our hostels are in diverse locations – from coastal parks to major cities – and they all make it easy to truly get to know a place, its people, and its culture while creating opportunities for travelers to interact with each other. Best of all, when you stay with HI USA you’ll be helping us to create a more tolerant world for future travelers just like yourself!