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Explore. Dream. Discover.

This week is the celebration of the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. With that auspicious voyage in mind, I am reminded of a famous quote by Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Dare to live the adventure. There’s more to it than you think. New friends. New experiences. New stories. This summer marked my first trip to Europe. I’ve traveled extensively in the US (only 7 states to go, and most of it seen through the car window with a diet Mountain Dew and bag of Cracker Jack), but I wasn’t prepared for what traveling overseas would add to my life. It’s an experience I thought would be a one-time deal, but now I find myself wanting to go back. To see more, to learn more, to experience more. Why? What does traveling do for you? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Peace of mind. Traveling forces us to temporarily disconnect from our hectic, stressful, normal routine. Break free from the norm and have some fun.

2. Increases original and creative thoughts. When you get out of your comfort zone, the mind gets more creative. Break out of your daily lifestyle.

3. Improves communication skills. Traveling, especially to areas where English isn’t the primary language, forces you to learn to communicate with all manners of different people. I wish I had learned at least a few French or German phrases before visiting those countries.

4. Connecting with different people from different cultures broadens our understanding of differences. As so brilliantly said by Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Experiencing the interconnectedness of humanity

5. It builds your resilience. When traveling, situations don’t always go as planned. Dealing with unplanned situations helps to stretch your tolerance to uncertainty, and changing plans.

6. Increases your confidence level. Being in a place where you don’t know anyone boosts your confidence. You can be anyone, and that usually turns out the be the best version of yourself that you are sometimes afraid to show at home.

7. Memories of a lifetime. Memories, photos, shared experiences all combine to build stronger bonds with family and friends.

8. Helps you to know yourself. You may find yourself in situations you would not ordinarily find yourself in. How you handle yourself in that type of situation will help prepare you for how you handle future unexpected situations.

9. Traveling helps you appreciate your home more. Literally, your home, but also your town, your state, your country. It’s easy to take for granted what we experience every day, but when you are away from the it – you learn what it might be like to be denied everything you love about ‘home’.

Not all who wander are lost. Sometimes we wander to find the best selves we can be. Dare to live the adventure. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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