World Tourism Day | Map&Compass

September 27th is World Tourism Day, an occasion marked by the United Nations World Tourism Organization to “foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.” While it’s certainly an ideal reason to satiate your unending wanderlust by dreaming of far off places and pinning photos for your future travel bucketlist, it’s also a day to contemplate the significance of travel, why we (as insatiable wanderers) devote our lives to it, and its impact on our global community.

In honor of World Tourism Day, here are 10 reflections on why travel matters (plus, of course, some wanderlust-inducing photos to inspire you).

1. Travel changes you.

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Any traveler will tell you there’s one trip, whether their first or their 50th, that has impacted them so much and in so many ways that they’re a completely new person because of it. Change is something we as humans need to embrace. Once you accept that change is the only constant, you can cultivate a life

2. Travel reinforces respect for our natural world.

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If you’ve ever stood on a mountaintop, on a cliff overlooking the ocean, or silently alone in a lush forest in sheer awe, you understand how nature is humbling. It’s easy in our busy, technology-driven lives to forget the power of nature, and travelers who actively seek out adventures continually strive to gain a better understanding of our world and respect the environments we live in.

3. Travel fosters diversity.

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An obvious, but important, takeaway from World Tourism Day is the way travel brings us all together. In an incredibly diverse world full of rich cultures and history, traveling forces you to venture outside your comfort zone and learn about different ways of life.

4. Travel reminds us that we’re part of something bigger.

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If you’ve ever stood under a foreign, cloudless starry sky and gotten lost in thought, you probably experienced a moment where you felt a part of a larger, cosmic plan you couldn’t begin to actually describe. Our day to day lives can feel so important, our egos can grow large, and our ingrained ways of thought can cloud our minds, but traveling allows us to reconnect with the fact that we’re tiny specks in a vast, mysterious world.

5. Travel makes us more creative.

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Research has found that international experiences open the mind to new ways of thinking, and thus inspires our creative centers. Seeking out authentic, local travel experiences can spark new ideas, tastes, and connections that we take back and incorporate into our lives and creative outlets. Sometimes travel is the best answer for when you feel stuck in your day to day routine, presenting fresh perspectives, unforgettable sights, and lasting cultural experiences.

6. Travel challenges us to be better.

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When you travel, you learn more about yourself than you ever thought you could. Being outside of your comfort zone forces you to realize who you truly are, despite what you think that is. And if you discover you’re not quite the person you want to be yet, travel allows you to gain the understanding of what you want to change, and challenges you to be better.

7. Travel benefits communities.

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Tourism sometimes gets a bad rap – occasionally rightfully so (think rude, entitled tourists with little regard for the environment and cultural traditions – but it’s unfortunate. Tourism does have the power to impact communities positively by creating jobs, sustaining businesses, and fostering connections among people. Especially in countries where tourism is a major industry, the economic benefits of sustainable travel can be for the greater social good.

8. Travel motivates us to live in the moment.

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The power of practicing mindfulness is that it teaches us to stop thinking about tomorrow, next week, or next year – and think about the current moment. Being fully present and living life as it happens is an immensely powerful way to live your life to the fullest. It seems contradictory, but this way of thought will help you simply enjoy everything more – from the mundane to the exciting – and cultivate a conscious, inspiring life.

9. Travel encourages us to try new things.

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Traveling allows us to step away from our routines and the familiar in favor of new, exciting experiences. If you travel a lot, you’re likely seeking out new adventures, unfamiliar cities, different foods, and unknown friends, which ultimately helps you grow into a global citizen. Always be moving forward, striving for the unknown and seeking the authentic.

10. Travel is the ultimate classroom.

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There is literally no history book, novel, or teacher better than experience. Witnessing an incredible view firsthand, tasting a new cuisine, or having an interesting conversation with a new person will impart lessons and memories you’ll truly never forget (unlike algebra). Let the world be your mentor, your muse, your trusted advisor, and explore places and things you’ve never dreamed could be possible.

Why does travel matter to you? Share with us in the comments!

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