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Traveling Is Not Selfish, and Here’s Why

bridge at sunset

Today we’re hearing from Sarah Hess, a full-time public relations professional and travel enthusiast who moved to the Big Apple from the Midwest. She has been keeping a personal blog for over six years, writing about her faith, travels, and life experiences. Her other passions outside of writing and traveling include playing and coaching volleyball, running, hiking, and anything outdoors.

Have you ever thought about how much you love to travel, and if it is fueled by selfish motivations? From time to time, it is nice to have a relaxing vacation where you don’t do much other than hanging out on the beach, but other times, we seek to discover something on our travels — whether that’s a new culture, a new landscape, or something about ourselves.

Although I feel like I haven’t been to many places — especially when compared to many people in The Nomadic Network — I am known as “the world traveler” in my family. I have carried around this “title” for quite some time, and sometimes I feel that it comes with some guilt. There are moments when I feel like my family or friends may see me as selfish for using all my time off and discretionary income to fuel this passion of mine that mostly benefits me.

I am sure many of you have experienced similar feelings, especially if you have received comments or questions about how you are able to afford to travel so much, get enough time off of work to do so, abandon certain responsibilities, etc.

Sometimes even in our own minds and hearts, we are conflicted as well, asking ourselves: Is it selfish to want to travel all the time? Should I be spending my money and time in a different way?

Even though travel most often benefits us, often, it is not self-serving. Travel is not selfish, and here are some reasons why:

You can share your resources, such as by volunteering abroad.

woman standing on a mountain in front of a city

We all have something to offer, gifts and talents that make us unique. We use our skills every day in our current jobs and family lives, whether consciously or not. Why not also use them to benefit a community abroad?

There are tons of ways to volunteer while you are out traveling. From teaching to working on a farm, there are a variety of organizations that allow travelers to make an impact. Check out this article about volunteering around the world if you are interested in learning more.

You can travel sustainably to support the environment and local economies.

man taking care of elephants in a field

Sustainable travel has become a hot topic in the travel industry, and it will continue to be important both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Before you book your next international trip (whenever the circumstances allow it), think about how your travels are impacting the environment.

Maybe there is a way to stay longer in a destination or eat more locally sourced food once you get there. Thinking about traveling sustainably can help us to look beyond ourselves while traveling.

Most importantly, traveling improves you, which in turn, has an impact on the world.

traveler with backpack overlooking mountains

We all know the benefits of travel, how it feeds our souls and rejuvenates our minds. Often, we travel so that we can come back to our current jobs or families feeling refreshed. Sometimes, we bring others along with us, introducing them to the joy of traveling. Other times, we meet people on our travels that grow into important connections or long-lasting friendships. Most, if not all the time, we travel because we know it is something we must do…we do not know how to not travel.

Whether or not you are spending your time volunteering abroad, or if you are just hanging out on the beach or doing something for yourself, travel is not selfish. At the end of the day, if travel is what brings you joy and allows you to bring more happiness to your current life, that is all that matters.

Connect with Sarah Hess through Instagram, personal blog, or community profile on The Nomadic Network. 

Note: We love featuring our travel-loving members. If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, send us an email at info @ the nomadic network . com with the subject line “TNN Blog Guest Post.”

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