This week  a student of mine told me that reading my blog made everything about my trip seem so stressful.  Although I do agree that planning a trip (by yourself for one year, with little money and no real plan except to have fun and make a difference in the lives of others) is very stressful at times, there are many reasons why I am doing this.  So I dedicate this post to sharing those reasons and to encourage others to travel more- the planning is stressful- the traveling is amazing and life changing.  

So here are my top ten 10 reasons why the stress prior to the trip is totally worth every minute:

10)  The beautiful landscapes you encounter- waterfalls that show you the power of water, tropical beaches that make you feel like you disappeared to paradise, beautiful forests with the most exotic animals, tall cliffs that make  you wonder how they exist, mountains that make you feel on top of the world, and wide open land full of wonder.

9)  The most amazing stars you have ever seen in your life in shapes and designs you do not see from your side of the world

8)  Incredible animals in their natural habitat that only exist to you in books and at the zoo.  Nothing is cooler that watching a leopard eating an antelope up in a tree, a monkey taking care of its young, or an elephant spraying water over itself in the wide open Serengeti.  

7)  Wonderful and scary food that you would never have the courage to try in the comfort of your home.  Everything should be tried once, even if you don't like it, it will give you something to talk about: Fried Spiders in Cambodia- here I come (:

6)  Learn how to relax and slow down.  America is the country of go, go, go.  We often work 80 hour weeks and define success by how much money we have.  Through traveling you learn that many parts of the world define success by happiness not material possessions.  Many countries also have a much more laid back attitude about life and spend more quality time with each other.   

5)  Getting back to the basics of life makes things less stressful and you enjoy life much more.  LIfe is much easier when you only have to focus on keeping yourself healthy, finding basic shelter, obtaining enough food to manage, relaxing and having fun.  

4) When in situations that challenge you, you develop skills you never knew you had.  You learn that you can help so many people with knowledge you bring and that so many people can help you with the things you never thought you could do.

3)  Learning about cultures and customs that are so different than your own.  This teaches you how different and how similar people are all over the world.  It also teaches you that while you might not be able to communicate or understand each other all the time, kindness and compassion are a universal language to help you when you do not understand and they are skills we need to use more often in America. 

2)  The most amazing peopleyou have ever met and that you will never forget.  While you are far away from home you will meet people that become some of your closest friends and people at home will not understand how these intense friendships were created but your life will forever be affected by these friendships.

1)  You learn that your life is so small and minuscule in comparison to what is out there and that the world is big enough for all people, races, religions, ethnicities, and cultures.  You learn that if you feel lost, so do others, andyou end up finding yourselfthrough your experiences.

Some Pictures of Past Adventures:

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