5 Reasons Why You Should Travel in 2022

5 Reasons Why You Should Travel in 2022

by Michael Satterfield -12/28/2021

Mark Twain once said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." Yet today, in a world that is more accessible than ever, over 60% of Americans don't have a passport, a number that only saw a slight bump over the last two decades by the post 9/11 changes requiring a passport to visit Mexico and Canada. It is no wonder that in the current political climate so many Americans don't know what they are talking about when it comes to their fellow Americans or the world in general.

I have always had the urge to travel, to see it all myself, to talk to people, to share stories, and take pictures. Not everyone has this innate need to travel, some don't have the desire to see it firsthand, others make excuses why they can't. Time, money, they don't speak the language, fear of terrorism, or just about any other reason. But no matter, if it is a weekend road trip to a neighboring city or an epic overseas adventure, the benefits of experiencing the world yourself, are countless, here are five of my top reasons why you (especially us Americans) should get back to traveling in 2022.

It will expand your worldview:

5 Reasons Why You Should Travel in 2022

There is the world you experience and the one that the media presents to you. The world outside of the US is often portrayed as a place where you better hope Liam Neeson is your dad and he wants to get you back. The reality is you are more likely to die in the bathtub or choking on your dinner than in a terrorist attack while visiting Thailand. The world is a lot smaller and a lot less dangerous than the movies and news make it out to be, so don't let that stop you.

What you do find as you travel around the world is there are some universal truths. People want to raise their kids, cook with their moms, and enjoy the company of friends. They are just like you are, but also completely different, and if you connect and become friends you are both better for it. You see more similarities than you thought you would have had. You are no longer "the ugly American" and they are no longer "from some shit hole country" rhetoric and assumptions melt away over a local beer and a bowl of noodles as you talk about your shared passion for sports, or motorcycles, or your kids, even if you have to use Google Translate.

It will make you appreciate other cultures:

5 Reasons Why You Should Travel in 2022

From the moment you step off the plane, boat, or train in a new place you are on an adventure, embrace it. The sights, smells, flavors, everything is new and you are only going to experience it for the first time once, so make the most of it. You will find some things strangely familiar, others radically different, be inquisitive, respectful, and open to people you meet, You might be surprised at the opportunities that open up if you just be yourself and talk to locals. 

I have found in every country I have been to, people are excited to share their culture, proud to showcase their arts, and for the most part friendly and interested in meeting travelers. The key is to get off the beaten path, visit some of the less-traveled areas, see how people live outside the tourist zone, you might get invited to someone's home for dinner, or be shown a place that isn't in the tourist guides. Of course, you should be smart, be aware of your surroundings, but that’s the case regardless of if you are traveling in the US or abroad. 

It will make you appreciate your own culture:

5 Reasons Why You Should Travel in 2022

It is always easy to talk smack about what you know, Americans are good at pointing out how terrible a place it is, while simultaneously debating about why "everyone" in the world wants to come here. I have found that most of those who compare America to other countries have often never been outside their home state and if they had it was to visit Las Vegas or Atlantic City on their 21st birthday. Don't listen to Johnny who works at the local liquor store, or the social media intern at work who has been to a resort in Tulum once, they don’t know what they are talking about

When you are interacting with people on your travels they will ask you questions about your home and your life, many times it will be things you may have never thought about. Things that will inspire you to want to learn more about your city, state, and country. It is not uncommon for people to go overseas and then find themselves wanting to travel more in their own country when they get home. 

You will be more grateful for what you have:

5 Reasons Why You Should Travel in 2022

You might not have the nicest car in the neighborhood or the biggest house, but by global standards, if you are from the USA you are doing pretty well. Even if you find yourself in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution, you are still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants according to a study by The Economist. This is something that becomes apparent if you venture out beyond the controlled environments of the tourist destinations and explore outside the guidebook's suggestions.

But once you get outside the seduction of the familiar, the comfort of every day, you find yourself noticing that the world is a vastly different pace than the neighborhood you grew up in. You will see that, in much of the world, people don't have the same freedoms, opportunities, or security that many of us take for granted. You will also see that people are living their lives, finding happiness, and optimism for the future. Because while American is not perfect it is one of the most unique places in the world with an exciting blend of cultures and landscapes.

It will inspire you more than you know:

5 Reasons Why You Should Travel in 2022

The experiences I have had on my travels have impacted just about every aspect of my life, from my work, friends, and even my volunteering activities. My first trip overseas when I was just 17-years-old was to build schools in Nicaragua, it changed my outlook on a lot of things and made me hungry to learn more. Since then I have traveled to nearly every state in the US and to 35 countries, with more to come. 

Travel changes you, I have been back to work in Nicaragua 19 times, each time taking away something new. It hasn't always been glamorous, sometimes seeing a jungle with pink trees requires a six-hour boat ride, or seeing a beach on a small island in the Pacific where your Great-Grandfather fought during WWII takes a full day's hike, but the memories are worth it.

Some of you will get inspired on your first trip to see more, others will want to move overseas for a few years, some forever, while others will want to serve the global community and volunteer. Traveling changes you, shifts your perspective, and gives you a window into the world that those who live their lives in the Metaverse will never know.

So where is your next adventure going to take you?