In my mind there’s a difference between travelling and taking a vacation.
When I say taking a vacation I mean, going on a trip where you… for example… go to a resort for a week or two. Maybe you lie on the beach for a while, have a couple fun nights, try a new thing or two, then before you know it it’s time to pack it up and come home.
Taking a vacation is like going to a Chinese food restaurant and eating nothing but chicken balls. Sure they might be tasty, they might fill you up and provide you with a bit of joy, but you aren’t getting the real experience, you aren’t learning much or growing as a person… (Well you might grow around the waist if you eat enough of them)
Travelling is like hitting up the all you can eat buffet and grabbing a plate of each item available, then moving into the room in the back, living with the family for a while and learning how to cook the food for others.
Sure it’s better to try the chicken balls then to avoid the Chinese food restaurant all together… but you’re still missing out, you aren’t experiencing the restaurant, you’re just visiting it.
When I talk about travelling on this site I mean really travelling. I mean hitting up a country for at least a month, going to many different places and experiencing the country as much as possible. I mean making friends with the locals, trying foods you’d never normally try, experiencing things you’d never normally experience, getting off the beaten path, avoiding the touristy areas, taking part in local customs, and challenging yourself.
Ideally I mean living in another country, becoming one with the locals, speaking their language, spending your free time with them, learning from them, dancing with them. Living without your usual foreign comforts, learning how to solve the problems the locals face, ensuring you don’t fall into a ‘foreign bubble’ by not spending all your time surrounded by other foreigners.
Anytime you get out of your country you will learn, but for true lasting growth, and life changing experiences it’s best to travel for real. Sure it’s harder to go on a traveling experience then it is to take a short vacation, but the benefits received aren’t even comparable. If you don’t have any strong commitments try going on a few months tour either with a group or solo. If you don’t have the money, try living and working in another country for a year.
Travel for real and your idea about what it means to travel will never be the same.