Before we go on to the real deal, I would first like to give you some interesting facts. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, “20% of the 990 million international tourists traveling the world in 2011 were young people.”
In an article covering the highlights of the 2012 World Youth and Student Travel Conference, it was mentioned how Rifai sees youth travelers as one of the keys in achieving a more responsible and sustainable tourism sector.
“These young travelers are environmentally-aware and tend to stay longer and interact more closely with the communities they visit than the average tourist. As such, youth travel has emerged as one of the most promising paths towards a more responsible and sustainable tourism sector.” he said.
Now isn’t that inspiring? As a young traveler, we know now how much we contribute just by going to places. We are adventurous. We like discovering things on our own. These include culture, people, art, and lots more.
Without even knowing it, we are already helping the world by doing what we love.
Here are more reasons behind the goodness of traveling young.
1. We are full of energy
We are at the peak of our lives. We are high-spirited. This is the perfect time for us to go out and unleash our youthful energy. This is the time our bodies can endure a long hike, confidently expose our shape at the beach, face the changing climates of places, and just do anything we want.
It doesn’t have to be that of an extravaganza. What matters is the refreshing smell of that outdoor breeze!
2. More time to travel
When we grow up, the list of our responsibilities also goes longer. Most of the adults I talked to said that when you become a parent, you have to shift priorities. And let’s face it, traveling is not gonna be on the top.
Therefore, let’s travel while we still have time.
3. We learn first-hand
This is the perfect way to learn outside the four walls of the classroom. In fact, schools are conducting educational trips because of this reason.
When we travel, we learn directly from people. We experience culture first-hand. All these experiences will help us grow.
4. We meet more people
Like Rifai said, young tourists tend to be more connected to the people. We listen to their stories. We spend more time in the communities. We talk and talk a lot because we want to know more. We are curious, and we want answers from people who clearly understands our questions even if they’re not there haha!
Aside from meeting people per se, we make friends with them. We take them home (figuratively) with us. We talk to them not just to ask directions but be directed.
5. We find ourselves
This is probably the most important focus every teenager wants to achieve. We always say “we are lost” because we feel like we’re not gonna find out who we really are if we’re in a place too familiar.
Believe it or not, we find out purpose when we travel. In an article of the Greater Good Science Center, most teens experience finding their purpose in life by:
- Traveling abroad
- Spending extended time in the natural world
- Getting involved in a meaningful social change project
- Establishing a contemplative practice
Traveling is not just spending money. In fact, one does not need to spend a lot for traveling to be worthwhile and memorable. But to make sure, I’m gonna be posting budgeting tips soon so you can save some pennies for traveling. Prepare your jars!