Written by SAM K MUGABE
1. Traveling changes the way you relate to the world.
I grew up in the district of Kanungu ,South western Uganda in a rural village Called Mabare. I had had no opportunity to travel when I was younger, and this gave me difficult time envisioning much else outside my comfortable country bubble.
When you travel to very many protected areas(Tourist destinations) and countries of this world and and see the amazing beauty of sunsets over seas, eagles riding mountain currents, monkeys swinging through rain forests, grizzlies catching salmon in the rapids, majestic waterfalls spilling off vertical drops, and volcanoes smoking under their fiery breath, you realize the world is full of more beauty that you are capable of seeing in a lifetime. But, you still have the intense passion to try.
If you don’t see this when you are younger, you have less desire to venture out when you are older and have job and family constraints in play. If I didn’t know what I was missing, I would have less of a desire to put the effort into taking the time to travel. You also develop a deeper sense of obligation to save our planet’s beauty for the coming generations. After all, you’ve seen it firsthand, and it’s worth saving!
2. Traveling changes the way you relate to others
Unfortunately, the area I grew up in didn’t have much diversity. Everyone looked and acted basically the same. When i grew up and started to travel, I learned about other cultures. I realized that my life could be enriched by developing friendships with people who didn’t look or act like me. Far from my home district and village , I developed friendships with people who were nothing like me, but were exactly what I needed. This taught me to embrace, not fear, experiences and relationships that were outside my comfort zone. It also taught me the importance of communication skills. Let’s just say I paid a lot better attention during my training as a security officer and a Student of Tourism at Kampala International University after visiting very many places and protected areas.
3. Traveling humbles you enough to realize it’s not all about you.
The older I become, the more I realize I actually know very little about life. It seems the confidence of knowing it all is usually graced upon the young. However, the sooner that bubble bursts, the better; at least in my case. Traveling sometimes puts you in tough situations. You see that the world is so much bigger than your perspective on it. You soon realize the world doesn’t revolve around you. You learn that you really weren’t the big fish in the ocean, but just a tiny minnow in a pothole.
Now, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still important, but it does change your perspective to be more open to learning from other people and situations vs lecturing and bestowing your vast wisdom to those lucky enough to be in earshot. Traveling teaches you to let go of the perceived concept of control. You learn that it’s a big enough challenge to just control yourself, and learn to give up trying to do so for the rest of the planet.
4. Traveling empowers you to take on new challenges.
Just as traveling is humbling, it is also empowering. You realize you can do things you never thought possible. For example, I have lived for the past ten years in Kampala, the Capital city of Uganda . I have always enjoyed driving on the left side of congested roads of the Uganda. Here, you learn how to drive on the roads that are narrow and dusty and the broken roads that aren’t much bigger than a one-lane driveway, yet they expect two-way traffic to freely meet around the blind corners. Add to the lovely mix the fact that there are drop-offs with no guard rail along most of the drive.
5. Traveling gives you empathy for global suffering.
When you travel, you learn how much you truly have that you take for granted. Many people live in poverty that is unfathomable to those who have never walked their streets and heard their stories. Watching the wars and famines on the news takes on a whole new meaning when you have a personal connection with the people there. You lose the callousness and egotistic attitude that can sometimes develop when you can’t relate to that region of the world. And, it compels you to help others and give back.
6. Traveling pushes your educational horizons.
Sadly, I never liked history in school. Just reading the stories in books seemed so boring to me. However, when I visited the Kabakas palace, Kasubi tombs,National theater, Bahai Temple etc all in Kampala, marveled at the architecture of basilicas in Uganda, hiked Mt Elgon, Rwenzori I couldn’t help but get a new appreciation for history. Traveling makes history come alive. The stories are no longer pictures in a book, but tangible memories you remember much longer than anything you could study in school.
7. We are never guaranteed old age, so enjoy life’s experiences now!
I think a lot of young people put off traveling because they want to be responsible, work hard, get married, have kids, and build up a life. However, I think it’s a mistake to put off traveling in exchange for the belief that you can do it when you retire and have more time. I will continue to travel so that i have no regrets. So travel and experience the world to the best of your ability by taking every opportunity presented to you to see all of this gorgeous planet that you can. Traveling has made me the person that I am, and I’m so grateful that I have plenty of years left with this version of me to continue the adventure.
The writer is the CEO Mabare Tours & Travel