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Reason #7: Culture
Mopeds zoom up and down busy streets beside me. My head jerks back and forth. I'm looking side to side, trying to find a gap in traffic. But it seems like it won't ever come!
Traffic honks loudly, cyclers pedal fiercely, and food stall workers buzz around prepping for yet another busy night. Stand still for one moment and multiple tuk-tuk drivers are there to greet you, offering everything you may need. Move too fast and you'll miss that chance to cross the road in that gap of traffic to get to that restaurant where your newest group of friends has agreed to meet.
That's rush hour in Asia, only to be experienced by standing right in the middle of it. There's no other way to learn about a culture, but to submerge yourself in it. No books, no videos, no media back home will really show you what it's like to be part of another culture. So get out there and be part of one!
"People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home."
-Dagobert D. Runes
Reason #6: Get Perspective
Getting tired of waiting for the newest fancy gadget to come out? The one everyone wants to be the first to get, even though, within a week, everyone will own it anyways.
Why not put all that in perspective by trying your hand at travelling somewhere different? Away from the comfort of your own vehicle, or the public transportation system you already know inside out. How about somewhere without high speed trains that easily zip you around to anywhere you'd like to go.
Try Thai time for a change. Where afternoon means any time from eight in the morning to a few hours after sunset. Here, buses are never on time, but no one is stressed or phased by it. Nothing other than the traffic seems to be urgent. Bring a deck of cards, and enjoy your hour long wait for dinner. Enjoy a good book and a few naps while waiting indefinitely for a bus that was supposed to have picked you up five hours ago.
In Asia you never know what's going to happen, so relax and live a stress-free life like the locals. Kick back, relax and enjoy it!
"The voyage of discovery lies not in discovering new lands, but in seeing with new eyes."
Reason #5: Eat and Drink!
Ahhh, a world where food means more then a can of Alphaghettis, or a pre-packaged microwavable dinner full of chemicals. Europe has fresher tasting ingredients than North America. In Asia they're even fresher. The land where even I like to have extra vegetables in my stir fried dinner.
How about some pasta? Head down to Florence and see how the Italians really cook it up. Think that Guinness beer tastes good back home, try it fresh on tap at the Guinness factory in Dublin Ireland. Or head back to southeast Asia and get yourself a fresh fruit smoothie, with locally grown fruit!
Food and drink always tastes way better in its country of origin! Find out where your favourite food was first served, then go discover how it really tastes. As well as what other wonderful dishes they might also serve.
Eat your tripple A steak and beef back home, but save the French baguettes for Paris, Pad Thai for Thailand and Couscous for Morocco!
"Eat well, travel often."
Reason #4: Adventure
Not getting enough from your weekend outings to visit the mountains? Time to go further than the next town down the road? Do you need to find yourself that new and better camping get-away?
Are you always looking for a bigger adventure? Then a trip around the world is the perfect thing for you! Take to the night markets of Asia, go trekking in Nepal, ride a camel at sunset in the Sahara desert, ski the swiss alps or take a boat to an island in Thailand. You'll always be about to set foot on another adventure, as soon as your finished the one your currently on!
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
Reason #3: Opportunities and Connection
If the most exciting opportunity of your daily life is getting to do that new task at work that only arises once a month, maybe its time for a change.
When you're on the road, great opportunities arise nearly daily. From that awesome day trip spending time hanging out with locals in their own village, to meeting someone new and exciting to travel with for a few days, to the chance to see your favourite band live in a foreign country with a group of new friends, you never know what's going to happen next on the road. Embrace it and make as many connections with others as you can. The rest will work itself out. Drop off your laundry to a local cleaner instead of having to do it yourself, and jump on that opportunity to rent a bike and explore a foreign land by cycle.
"The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are."
Reason #2: No Frowning Faces
Don't like hopping on that same bus every Monday-Friday morning and being surrounded by hundreds of frowning faces? Are you becoming one of these frowning drones? Sadly, this is common in the Western world, but there's hope!
The rest of the world isn't like this. Take a look at the Khmer locals and they'll always be flashing a smile at each other. Right back at you too. Here, smiles are contagious! You will catch their case of the "smiles" before you have a chance to realize you're no longer frowning.
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
The #1 Reason to spend your money travelling: No Routine, No Stress, No Worries
Wait, what's that? It's 11:30am Monday morning and I'm still in bed. Something's funny. I'm not sick. I didn't sleep through my alarm. Oh yeah! That's life on vacation. No job to attend every morning, nothing to stress about. No relationships and drama to deal with. Just me, myself and I.
So turn that frown upside down and get out there and enjoy life as a backpacker, stress free!
Backpacking is much cheaper then most people believe. Almost every backpacker destination is cheaper than home, and this will be apparent in your daily budget. Accommodation can be found for as low as one dollar a night. Prices for meals are just as low. Transportation is cheap and great activities normally range from free-$10.
Of course it's easy to splurge on everything, but if you are determined, your budget can be as low as $10 a day in Asia. A more comfortable budget will set you around $25 a day depending where you are. To compare, that means one tank of gas back home equals four days of travel!
Still not convinced? Being a world traveler also looks great on your resume!
The next opportunity you get, take that leave from your job, and go out to explore a world unknown to most Westerners. You'll meet tons of other like-minded Westerners all smiling and having an exceptional time.