The I-am-so-grateful reasons
Reason 4: To appreciate my own country.
People will say you should see your own country first. I agree with that to an extent. The New Zealand government ran a domestic campaign for some years (decades ago now) that implored us in a jingle – “don’t leave home till you see the country.” I had seen some of my country at the time, and I know I’ve seen a lot more of it than a lot of people. But what I have discovered is that I see my country in a new and different light having seen other countries. Travelling reminds me how lucky we are, and why we should appreciate what we have. I’m both more tolerant, and more demanding.
For me, it puts life and New Zealand into perspective in a way that staying home doesn’t.
Reason 5: To keep humble.
It is easy to think that the country you/we/I live in is the best in the world. Especially living in New Zealand! Especially after visiting developing countries. But appreciating my country has to be countered with remembering our way isn’t the only way. Travel teaches humility. Going somewhere else reminds me that things are done differently, but that doesn’t make them wrong, or bad. It reminds me that there are things we could improve on.
When I travel I never fail to be reminded how tiny and insignificant NZ is in the whole global scheme of things. And therefore how insignificant I am in the whole scheme of things. That’s quite important, I think, to feel small and humble at various times in our lives. I shudder at the idea of the leader of any country who has never (or rarely) travelled. How can they ever understand that maybe there are other ways to do something? That they aren’t the world, that they have a place in the world alongside other people and countries, good, hard-working people and countries, where things are simply done differently.