1. You will meet people that you would not normally meet. We live in a world where it is harder and harder to connect on a meaningful level. Social media offers us a false sense of connection, yet as humans, our desire for connection is innate. Travel offers the opportunity to connect on a deep level with people we may otherwise never have the opportunity to meet, because our natural defensives/guards are typically down. I see people from all walks of life who never would have met develop lifelong friendships that start while traveling.
  2. Travel teaches you patience. Other cultures have mastered the art of slowing down much more than we have in America. At long, leisurely lunches in Spain, Greece or Italy, you may wait an hour before someone takes your order. Reservations at a restaurant in Cuba often disappear even though they were checked and rechecked in Cuba. There are hours and hours of traffic in India. All test and teach you patience.
  3. Travel opens your eyes to the fact that we are not the center of the world and that there are different ways to approach life. Take for example the typical American approach to food and waste. Often in America when we are hungry we open our refrigerator and even if it is full of food, if it does not have something that we are craving, we close it and go to the grocery store, a restaurant or order in. This is not the case in other parts of the world. People eat what they have, regardless of what they are craving, so that it will not go to waste.
  4. Travel makes you more aware of what you take for granted. It will be the simple things — running water, electricity or toilet seats — resources that we have with the twist of a faucet or the flip of a switch in the United States. I remember ordering fish to eat in a remote fishing village in Cuba. All that showed up was the fish head. It was not what I was expecting, yet it was what they had to offer. Travel is eye-opening and leaves you grateful for all you have back at home.
  5. Travel is fun, rewarding, engaging, soul-stirring, mind-expanding and often adventurous. And who does not need a bit more of all of these things in their life?
  6. You will find treasures, both material and mental, that you will cherish for a lifetime. From the one-of-a kind etched glassed you purchased in the markets of Amman, Jordan to the coral and silver clutch you bought at the base of Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan, each purchase carries with it a memory of a moment and the place in which it was found, just as the stories of your travel experience will last a lifetime.
  7. Travel takes you outside your comfort zone and that’s where change happens. I often meet people in my travels that are contemplating a career change or having a baby, starting a new chapter in their lives or letting go of a relationship that no longer is serving them. Travel takes them out of their comfort zone so that they can gain perspective and find answers to their interpersonal quests.
  8. Travel keeps you curious and interesting. Who does not enjoy being around a person who asks intelligent questions and has wonderful stories to share? Travel often and you become the ideal dinner party guest.
  9. You will see the world differently when you return home. You may notice things you never noticed before now that you know to stop and smell the roses.
  10. Travel teaches you more about life than you can ever learn in a textbook. Travel exposes you to new cultures, new ideas and new ways of doing things. Travel teaches you about government, history, anthropology, archeology, art, literature and life and more than anything, it teaches you tolerance, one of the most vital yet often overlooked qualities in today’s world.

Erica Gragg is best known as the co-creator of the acclaimed travel, fitness and lifestyle program Escape to Shape. With over 15 years of experience and insider-access knowledge of over 62 countries and counting, she serves as a Luxury Travel Advisor, curating vacations for individuals, families, couples, corporations and groups alike.