I recently wrote about 14 reasons why I hate travel, most of it was minor bickering disguising the fact of how lucky my wife and I are to be able to live anywhere we want in the world. Bloggers tend to glamorize travel and online income opportunities in order to sell ebooks so I am trying to offer a little more reality to what it is really like on the road. However, in fairness I should also talk about all the things I love about living abroad. These really are amazing times.
First of all, I should clarify that constant travel is much different than living abroad. Many people talk about ‘location independence’ when they are really living in a foreign country. I love living abroad, it is regularly changing locations that gets too tiring and time consuming.
Here are 15 Reasons I Love to Live a Travel Lifestyle
It is great to be able to try authentic international food around the world. Japan has the healthiest, freshest and highest quality ingredients but other countries like Hungary, Italy and Thailand are also at the top of my list.
My wife and I are espresso fanatics. There is nothing we love more than sitting in a nice cafe and people watching. Starbucks brought cafe culture to the world, but nothing compares to smaller independently owned cafes with high quality coffee and a great artsy vibe.
After cafes, music is another passion of mine. I love the diversity of music around the world. There are so many amazingly talent people that most people will never hear of. It is too bad that English speakers rarely listen to non-English music. I particularly loved the fusion of Middle Eastern and rock music in Istanbul.
I love seeing how people live in other countries. I am not so interested in the typical sight-seeing attractions, but experiencing how others go about their daily lives is very fascinating. Even small things like toilets, kitchen utensils and typical meals are very interesting. Foreign festivals are also amazing. There are so many rituals that have lasted centuries around the world.
5. Cost of Living
There are many countries that offer a fantastic quality of life for much less money than home. I have been away from my home city of Calgary, Canada for 14 years now but every time I return I am amazed at how expensive it has become. Calgary is more expensive than my last home city in Japan. Regular travel, however, can be very expensive. It is best to stay in one place for a while.
6. Life is Not Work
Most people in richer countries don’t really know how to live. So much time is spent working, commuting, shopping and using technology. I love the slower pace of life in Europe and South East Asia. Slow meals with family and friends are still important. Normal people take 4 to 8 weeks of vacation a year. That is what life is about.
I am not much of an aficionado but it is great to have access to inexpensive, quality alcohol, particularly if spent in the company of friends and family. Hungary offers one of the best price/quality ratios in the world. For all you Italians and French, sorry but you can get twice the quality at half the price in Hungary.
8. Personal Development
Travel makes you a better person. It really does. New cultures help you question all the ridiculous assumptions we just accept without thinking. People are not born to work and consume!
It is impossible to travel with many physical possessions. Living abroad forces you to cull your life to only essential items. This not only saves money but it also reduces stress and frees up mental capacity from constant shopping and the maintenance of physical goods. I just spent Christmas with family in Canada; it is astonishing how much time, money and energy go into buying things.
Internationally minded people are the most generous and interesting you will encounter. Traveling exposes you to a diversity of people and ideas that you would never meet in ordinary life.
I have built close relationships with people I have meet surfing or at couchsurfing meetings. There is no better way to develop deep and close relationships with strangers. Check out my post, CouchSurfing.org is What Social Media is All About
12. Family and Friends
Being away most of the time means that when you return to your home city, time with family and friends becomes much more important. Everyone makes a bigger effort to meet you because you are leaving soon. Also, you will likely stay with family so even a week back home is probably more direct contact than you will have in a year of occasional visits.
Exposure to new cultures, people and ideas unleashes a flood of creativity. I particularly love good airports. The excitement and anticipation of going to a new destination open a flood gate of new ideas for me.
I am originally from Canada, need I say more?
15. Home is Best!
Living abroad makes you appreciate your home country much, much more. Every country has is good and bad points, being away for a long time makes you really understand how great your home is. Canada Rocks! Japan is pretty cool too.
If you are reading this blog it is very likely that you have the means to travel virtually anywhere in the world you wish. Travel is easier and cheaper than ever so there aren’t many excuses for not seeing the world. One caveat though, is that very, very few people can travel constantly for a long time. The few super travelers you read about generally have family that they regularly stay with or they live for extended periods of time in one location. (I lived in my home base in Japan for 13 years.) I only know of a handful that are truly nomadic.
Am I missing any more good reasons to travel?