One of the benefits of living a simpler, more minimal lifestyle that is mentioned often is the increased opportunity for and priority of traveling and experiencing new places.
I enjoyed traveling before I knew about minimalism, but it was not a priority. In my early 20’s, one of my brothers and I backpacked through Europe for two weeks sleeping on the Eurorail and showering in train stations. We were younger and more adventurous, unmarried with no children.
During my childhood, we took trips in our old motor home, one time going to Mexico for Thanksgiving, another time making the trip from Arizona to Idaho; as well as a visit to the Grand Canyon and one visit to Disneyland. There were five of us kids and my parents, taking trips were trips undoubtedly expensive and had to be planned and saved for well in advance.
Though our trips that were farther away from home were few as a kid, I am grateful we left and traveled around as much as we did, as it helped instill in me a curiosity to see new places and experience other cultures besides my own.
Traveling continues to be an expensive endeavor, and I am even more aware now as a married woman with three children of the costs for gas, plane tickets, hotels, campsites, food and all the other expenses associated with experiencing new places
Still, it’s worth it.
Embracing a simpler life has made traveling a higher priority for my family, and has also offset the cost some as we have lessened our expenses in other areas from intentionally not consuming as much.
I have noticed for myself and after reading other simple living advocate’s blogs over the years, that experiences become one of the highest priorities in life, many times second to relationships.
Experiences come in many forms, but traveling to new places and seeing other cultures is one of the most rewarding forms of growth and learning in my opinion.
It has also become important for me as a parent to help my children learn the value of these experiences as well, to help open their minds to how diverse people are and how magnificent life and our world is in general.
I don’t believe you have to spend lots of money or even take your children out of the country to experience the benefits of travel, though international travel with my family certainly continues to be a goal I am working towards.
Some of the benefits of travel I see within my own family include-
-An increased desire to learn more about new places and people.
-A greater realization of how diverse the world is as well as the people in it, their ideas and opinions and way of life.
-More curiosity about how we all interrelate to each other.
-A greater desire to help others when calamity or needs become apparent, even if we have never met them or visited that part of the world.
Just last week our youngest son made the statement to me that when he grows up, he is going to visit or even live in Arkansas. We’ve never been to Arkansas and never even discussed going there, but my son loves nature, and had learned that Arkansas is called the “Natural State”, so it immediately went on his list to visit in his life. I love that he is already thinking about exploring the world as young as he is and I hope some of that stems from the travel we have done.
Traveling has become a higher priority since we have embraced a simpler life. The desire to understand other cultures and lifestyles has become more important as I have made relationships and experiences something that takes precedent over other areas of life.