“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
The world truly is your oyster. Humans have the incredible gift of living on an amazing blue and green planet that is just waiting to be explored. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans will never set foot outside their own country and experience it. Granted, this land of purple mountains and amber waves of grain is pretty spectacular – but there’s a whole globe of other cultures and ways of life that you can only experience if you have a passport. Here are ten excellent reasons why you should get your passport NOW.
1. If you are gung-ho about saving the planet through sustainable living – and I know you are – you should be equally excited about experiencing this world that you so fervently want to protect.
2. An astonishing 30 percent of Americans don’t own passports, even with the new requirements for passports to enter Canada and Mexico. Many see no reason to acquire them; this is unheard of in other industrialized nations, where more than 90 percent of the population have their passports. Don’t be part of this ugly statistic! Get out there and show the world – and yourself – that Americans can be globally conscious.
3. Travel broadens your mind in a way that nothing else can. Experiencing another way of life firsthand gives you expansive knowledge that no book or class can ever live up to.
4. Life is short! Most likely you can’t even believe the number of candles on your birthday cake each year, or the speed at which life seems to hurtle along. You only have one chance to suck the marrow out of life and to experience the wonders that this earth has to offer. You aren’t getting any younger, and the dollar isn’t getting any stronger. Travel now.
5. A world traveler sees amazing ancient temples, vast stretches of unspoiled nature, and cities whose influence echoes across the ages – and then she returns home to say that the best part of her trip was the people met along the way. Often we live in a comfortable bubble and interact with those who are similar to us in age, background, beliefs and nationality. Blow your bubble and make new friends who are very different than you – and watch your life fill with inspiration.
6. With a passport in your hand, you can jet away to exotic locales at a moment’s notice to meet a new friend in Norway, attend a cousin’s impromptu wedding in Barbados or spend that week in Paris you’ve been dreaming of your whole life. No passport? Enjoy your staycation in the living room.
7. You’ll gain a balanced economic perspective. In America, people feel poor if they can’t eat out three meals a day and don’t own a big screen and late model car. In Indonesia, people feel rich if they have access to Western medicine. Traveling broadens your perspective and makes you better appreciate your home, your country and all the material possessions that you are so lucky to own.
8. The FOOD! One of the greatest parts of traveling the world is the incredible array of cuisines spread around the world that you can try, from vegetarian offerings in Buddhist countries to the spicy egg curry in India, squid ink spaghetti of Spain, to the picked lemons of Egypt. This world is full of fantastic flavors that you won’t even know exist – unless you get your passport and go after them!
9. You’ll feel like a badass. Being a world traveler makes you wiser, with a broad base of knowledge, and exploring the outer world always takes you on an inner journey of growth and enlightenment. You will grow in ways that you can’t even imagine sitting at home. Plus, you’ll set a good example for your children and friends.
10. Once you find your niche in life, that niche becomes a comfortable groove – which might turn into a rut. Take a break from your normal routine and put yourself in an entirely new environment for a few weeks, and you’ll gain a brand new perspective on your life: what’s working, what’s not working, and what your dreams really are. You’ll return home filled with new inspiration to make crucial changes in your life that you might not have even noticed before.
Image: Robert S. Donovan