If You're Not Using Your Savings To Travel, You're Doing Something Wrong

by Nicole Riley Banner
Søren Egeberg Photography

Five years from now, I hope to have a passport full of stamps and knowledge from all over the world as I seek unfamiliar places.

I dream to have full a bookshelf full of photo albums from all the places and gadgets I've collected along the way.

I am optimistic that I will learn to speak another language fluently and be bilingual by the time I've hit 30.

And as I continue to grow old, I will use my savings to travel and write each and every one of you I meet into my story.

If you're not using your savings to travel, you're doing something wrong.

Here's why:

To those missing out,

If you only expose yourself to the books that everyone else is reading, you only think what everyone else is thinking.

You can travel cheap and close to home, but keep in mind birds weren't meant to stay grounded, and neither were we.

There are low-cost ways to travel, and you may even have options such as backpacking your way around escaping the ordinary.

Don't get consumed with a life that has you grow old behind a desk and has you forget to make a life of your own.

If your fellow travelers don't have the expenses, traveling alone is also an option. Don't hold yourself back because you have convinced yourself you need to travel with someone.

If you travel alone, you're forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and expanding your horizon.

Traveling purposefully toward a vague destination alone can be a time when you clear your mind and really find a deeper connection with yourself and others.

How amazing is it to think you can have friends all over the world from your travels?

You will learn about unique cultures and see how people live their daily lives with a newfound appreciation. Hopefully, you can even have a chance to study their language and a part of you will help carry on their culture.

Even if it's just for a week or a month, pick up small jobs here and there to travel as far as you can to see the unknown.

When the wheels hit the ground on the runway, you should have no expectations, just a feeling of butterflies tingling in your stomach.

At that very moment, you'll no longer be living vicariously through the books and stories you've read.

I can tell anyone my stories from traveling, but there are certain moments that have left me speechless. And if I share these life-changing moments, I'll never be able to do them justice.

You need to experience them for yourself.

Traveling makes you realize how little of a space you occupy in the world and how much life has to offer.

And after your experiences, you'll become more humble and well-rounded by realizing how blessed you are to see the world.

We travel not to escape life, but so that life does not escape us.

— Unknown

I encourage you to think about 2017 from a traveler's perspective and to use your savings to travel far enough that you meet yourself.

Find what you never imagined you were looking for.