The Benefits of Traveling at a Young Age

There’s a Henry Rollins quote about travel making the rounds; maybe you’ve seen it?


“I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown. Eat interesting food. Dig some interesting people. Have an adventure. Be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about; I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking 12 miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end of that flight. A lot of people – Americans and Europeans – come back and go, Ohhhhh. And the light bulb goes on.”


– Henry Rollins, “Punk Rock World Traveler”, World Hum, November 2, 2011


Well, I couldn’t agree more. We talk and talk about how travel opens young eyes to what is out there, exposes them to history and culture and provides incredible memories and experiences. 


But what no one tells us is how much it changes the way you see your own life, your own circumstances and your own choices. It makes you consider what really matters, challenge the decisions you and your country make and puts into perspective all those first-world problems we love to complain about like they’re life-altering.


So, young people: if you’re not traveling, do it. Parents, if you’re not encouraging your kids to travel or supporting them when they want to, start!