I make it a point to travel often and far. Nothing breaks you out of your tired old thought processes and jump starts your creativity and like seeing the world from a different angle — literally. Traveling allows you to define yourself as a person, establish the difference between wants and needs in your life, and problem solve like you never have before. The places I’ve visited have been an education far beyond the one I received in school, and the people I’ve met around the world have taught me as much as I’ve ever learned in a classroom. Here’s why you should break out of your rut and jump on the next plane.
Understanding The World
Traveling to different places will allow you to understand what the world is made of. Before traveling, most people have one point of view, one frame of mind through which they view the world. We are all raised in a specific manner that may be different from the way our neighbors were raised. When we experience a new culture, it can jolt us out of the patterns of thought that we take for granted, and make us more able to understand other points of view. This, in turn, can be endlessly helpful in all areas of your life back home. After all, trying to understand a client’s needs or communicate a foreign concept isn’t all that different from creating understanding across cultural lines.
Many people don’t need much to live a happy, simple (or extraordinary) life. When traveling, you realize that there are no “third-world” issues, but only world issues. Every country has challenges. Traveling allows you to see these issues at first hand. You may even be inspired to find a new passion or solution.
You’ll meet people that can teach you valuable life lessons that you wouldn’t normally encounter. Sometimes the greatest lessons are taught through journeys and chance meetings. The people I have met in all corners of the world have shared their stories with me, the most incredible stories that I never would have imagined if I had stayed home. You will meet people who expand your understanding and your abilities. You may also befriend someone who has helped make a difference and improvement in their community, or is looking for the same travel experience you are. You may travel alone, but you’ll never be lonely. The point is, through these cultural experiences, you learn more about the cultures of the world and a broadened overview of how people live, and how the experiences of others vary from your own.
Communicating Like You’d Never Do At Home
One of the best things you learn from traveling is how to communicate. You may be a shy, quiet person at home, but traveling doesn’t give you that choice. Traveling allows you to boost your self confidence and learn how to network and create relationships with strangers. When you come back home, you have a different view on communicating in general. Different cultures communicate in different ways, whether that is verbal or nonverbal. You may reach out to shake someone’s hand, but that could be against their cultural rules. The thing is, these are things you’d never know unless you put yourself in a new situation, and the act of learning new communication styles and thinking critically about the set ways that you interact with others can be a hugely valuable exercise. Traveling is all about getting out of your comfort zone to learn and understand. You never know who you may meet!
Problem Solving & Decision Making
None of us can afford to stop expanding and stretching our problem solving and decision making skills, and traveling is the best exercise, allowing you endless opportunities to learn and grow. You are bound to run into difficulty and challenges far from home and your support net of well-worn understandings. It could be as simple as getting from point A to point B, or it could be something unexpected that forces you to take decisive action on the spot. Either way, you will find that the challenges you faced while abroad allow you to make decisions and solutions to problems at home. You’ll preserve and find the right solutions because you have no other choice, and that experience will be one of the most valuable souvenirs you bring home with you.
As the summer days get longer and hotter, who doesn’t start to pine for some fresh air and mountain views? If you just can’t wait until winter to get back on the slopes, good news: You don’t have to! Our friends to the south, Argentina, are currently in the depths of winter and home to some of the best skiing around. It’s the perfect way to break up the summer and trust me — that overnight flight is well worth it. Here’s everything you need to know to plan an awesome summer ski retreat in South America.
Time it Carefully
Just as anywhere, there can be no guarantees when it comes to weather and snow quality. July offers the best chance of that light, perfect powder, but it comes with the risk of a shallow base. August offers powder with a decent base, and September provides less powder and more rough, granular surfaces as the month progresses. Many resorts offer Saturday to Saturday discounts, so plan to spend as long as possible out in the snow!
Don’t Forget the Reciprocity Fee
Whatever you do, make sure this one gets ticked off your list early. Argentina charges $160 for Americans to enter, and here’s the kicker: it can not be paid on arrival. If you board your plane with the fee unpaid, you’ll be sent right back home on the next return flight. The good news is, your reciprocity fee is good for 10 years, so take full advantage for a decade!
Get Your Gear Right
Argentina has very strict taxes for imported goods, and they will not hesitate to charge you for any gear that looks like it’s going to be resold. Take great pains to take everything out of the box and remove all tags on new gear so there’s no ambiguity. You can rent gear at most resorts, but don’t expect it to be high quality. On the flip side, if you do want to sell your old or extra gear in a personal sale to make room for souvenirs on the way home, you can get great rates and make devoted friends in a heartbeat.
While the cost of living is significantly cheaper, you can expect most resorts to charge prices comparable to their American equivalents. When it comes to shopping in the cities, however, your USD can go a long way. It’s smart to exchange a little currency, but you’ll be surprised how little you need. Many vendors will prefer your American dollars, and will even give you a much better rate than you’ll find in their airport. It’s known as the “blue market.” As with any new place, guard your money carefully, especially in crowded public places like airports and bus stations, and never keep your whole stash in the same place.
You’ll be able to get around alright with English and hand gestures, but even a little effort to brush off your high school Spanish will go a long way, if not in apt communication then at least in goodwill with the locals you meet!
About Cyrus Hurley
Cyrus Hurley balances his professional career in information technology with travel, skiing, and (perhaps most importantly) day-to-day life with his family in Hickory, North Carolina.
An avid skier, Cyrus Hurley has spent considerable time exploring the world’s most beautiful peaks. To date, he has visited ranges in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, and Argentina. However, Cyrus ultimately intends to travel even further, and eventually cross New Zealand, Australian, Africa, Antarctica, and Cuba off of his travel bucket list.
For now, though, Cyrus plans to remain active in the Hickory community and spend quality time with his family. An active community member, Cyrus proved his commitment to enriching his home county by directing the installation of free, secure public WiFi in Ashe County’s recreational hotspots and further aiding in the collection tourism analytics on behalf of local economic development projects. In his off hours, Cyrus volunteers as a ski patroller at the nearby Appalachian Ski Mountain resort in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.