One New Place Per Year: Why Exploration Is The Best Teacher

His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said that everyone, once per year, should go somewhere they have never been before. Many of us have read or heard of this quote, but it is a principle that I personally believe in and is at the heart of what we do at Travel Life Adventures. This year we will visit Morocco and Mongolia, two places I have never been but hold amazing treasures to discover.

We recognize that the ability to travel is a luxury and assuming everyone in the world has the means, ability, or opportunity to do so would be the definition of privilege. The spirit of this advice is to welcome exploration and to expand your mind and heart through connecting with new people and places. This does not have to mean international travel or even domestic plane rides. It can happen in your home state, city, or county. Take a road trip to a different part of your state. Spend a day in a part of your town or city you don’t normally visit. Attend a cultural event to learn about people you don’t normally come in contact with. There are so many ways to capture that spirit of discovery that don’t have to cost a lot of money or time.

For humanity to continue to build toward a more just, welcoming, and healthy population we as individuals must learn about each other and what we can do to support our fellow human beings. Travel and exploration are the perfect venue for self-discovery, interpersonal connection, and the expansion of our collective consciousness. Here is a short, and incomplete, list of reasons to visit a new place at least once a year.

Endless Variety

There are currently 196 officially recognized countries in the world, which means there is a lot to see, explore, and learn. That also means that to visit all these amazing places you have to start now! At this time in human history it is easier than ever to get around, so why not take advantage of it and see something new. Even if you are not able to fly around the world, discover something new in your neighborhood. Travel is a choice for many people, and for those who have the ability it comes down to what we value. How we spend our time and resources defines our values many times and travel is no different. It may seem impossible or daunting, but in reality it is often a matter of conviction. Forgo that fancy coffee each day and you’ll have the funds for an amazing trip in no time!

Increased Self Confidence

Travel is one of the best ways to build confidence in yourself and your ability to problem-solve and be self-sufficient. Forcing yourself to communicate in an unfamiliar language, finding your way around a new city, or getting to know local people and other travelers all serve to increase your confidence in your own abilities. When you experience new places, new cultures, new ways of life you begin to create a new paradigm of your own life where things you thought you could never do become part of your daily activities. You will find that you are more willing to step outside your bubble when you are choosing to be apart of the world instead of insulating yourself from it.

You Gain Perspective

When we speak of perspective what we really mean is a new way of being and seeing; a brand new way of seeing yourself, others, and the world around you. This is a transformation that travel is uniquely able to bring forth.  We all have ideas about who we are and how we fit into the world and humanity, but often those ideas are limited by our incomplete understanding of the world around us. Through immersive and transformational travel experiences in unfamiliar or challenging places we can close the gap between perception and reality in our own lives. We gain new ways of seeing our own lives, our problems, our petty cares when we can see through a new lens. Little things that would once bug you are now easily brushed off as insignificant. You can then return home with a new set of ideas, ready to begin the cycle again and continue your growth.

Memories That Last

There are countless ways of stating this idea: material things and monetary wealth are fleeting and memories, knowledge, and connection transcend our material world. There are multitudes of studies and loads of research talking about what people talk about at the end of their lives. If you read this you won’t find regrets about making more money or having a bigger house or working too little. What you will find is a theme of a longing for more experience, more memories, and more connection with others. People often speak of skipping those vacations or never doing X thing they always wanted to do. They speak of wishing they had made more memories with their loved ones or seen more of the world. When we come to the end of our lives the experiences we had, the memories we made, and the people we loved will be all that is left.

I can gather from the fact that you are reading this far that you have at least heard the call in some form or another, that nagging, quiet voice that tells us that there must be something more out there. If you are here you have taken the first step. Now is the time to begin to shape your life around this idea, that committing to seeing at least one new place each year is worth your time, energy, and resources. It is an investment in yourself that will have returns for the rest of your life. Today is the day my friend. Take a leap and go have some fun!

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