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Guest Writer, Michael Matti: 10 Reasons To Travel While You’re Young

Today The Hudsucker welcomes Seattle based photographer, Michael Matti. As a keen observer of life with a passion to travel and create, Matti’s main drive can be found in the intricacies of creativity, reveling in the marvels of the world, and being in awe of nature.

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Michael Matti is a commercial and wedding photographer from the Seattle area. With a major in Photography and a Minor in Business Administration, Matti found his true calling in photography during his time as a student at Indiana Wesleyan University. The photographer spends a great deal of his time marveling in the wonderment of traveling and the arts. He resides in Lynnwood, Washington.

To contact Michael, visit his official website, Michael Matti. To read more about his travel adventures, visit his blog and connect with him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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{Oia, Santorini, Greece}

London. Paris. Rome. Venice. Greece.

So many of us dream of visiting these places, hoping one day we might get the chance to travel to these magical destinations. Well this chance to travel probably won’t suddenly appear out of thin air, you have to create the chance. Work the extra job, save wherever you can, because the time to create that chance is now. Travel while you are young and see the world. Your future self will thank you.

I love flying. From the deafening roar of the engines, to the shaky turbulence, to the terrible food, I love it all. Not so much for the things themselves but more because I know that if I’m flying I’m headed somewhere, I’m on a journey to a new place. This love of new adventures and travel was pretty much instilled in me as a kid. I spent the first dozen years of my life traveling around Southeast Asia before I came to live in the US. Several trips out of the US in college to the Philippines, Dominican Republic, and New Zealand just helped solidify in me a love of travel. It’s this passion for travel that spurred my latest trip, a 64 day trip to 14 countries in Europe in the spring of 2014. I learned so much along the way and saw some amazing places: London, Paris, Rome, Venice, and Greece among them. It was an important trip to take at this stage in my life and I believe a similar trip could be important for you as well and that traveling while you are young is a must do.

Here are my top 10 reasons why traveling young is so important.

Gain Experiences

I think we would be better off if we put less emphasis on accumulating things and more emphasis on accumulating experiences. Things will break, or a new model will come out, rarely do things last a lifetime. Experiences, on the other hand, do last a lifetime. Travel, and create the stories you’ll tell your grand-kids about. Whether it’s eating crepes in Paris or drinking wine in Tuscany, these experiences will go with you long after you leave a country. You’ll be better able to relate to people back home who have had similar experiences. You’ll also have a basis to plan future trips from. Maybe you didn’t really like a certain type of place or maybe another place stood out to you. The experiences you have now will help shape the experiences you plan in the future.

{Orvieto, Italy}

Learn

Maybe you’re done with school but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning. Travel provides you with a plethora of opportunities to learn things you would never have known otherwise. It could be learning a few phrases in another language, or maybe practicing a language you already know. Or perhaps you’ll learn some new geography or how to navigate public transportation in different countries or the difference between gelato and ice cream. There are so many things to learn from travel and these don’t even include the places you go to intentionally learn: the museums, the libraries, and the chapels, among other places. Most of us have at least had a little art history thrown our way in school but that pales in comparison to experiencing things in person. There is something amazing about actually standing in front of David, walking inside the Pantheon, gazing up at the Sistine Chapel or wandering through the halls of Versailles. Facts from textbooks come to life and knowledge is gained.

{Pantheon in Rome, Italy}

The Future is Uncertain

If you can create the opportunity to travel now, do it! The future is simply too unpredictable, the only thing certain about the future is that it is uncertain. You never know what might happen tomorrow or the next day. Life happens and stuff gets in the way. Maybe you’ll get a job that really ties you down, or you’ll start something that you just can’t leave. It could be any number of things that keeps you from traveling so travel now, before one of those things prevents you from doing so.

{Lake Bled, Slovenia}

Avoid Regrets

Don’t live with regrets. I love the quote by Mark Twain that goes: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Do you want to be the friend that passes on a trip and then is left to scroll through Facebook posts wishing you had gone? No, no you don’t.

{Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy}

Make Connections

Traveling allows you to meet amazing people from all over the world. Whether you are staying with someone via CouchSurfing.org or AirBnB.com or simply meet them in a hostel, you never know where these connections may lead. There could be people you meet that will help you further your career or perhaps a lifelong friendship will be formed. From traveling Europe I now have friends in many countries, people I would visit again if I were to ever return. I would never have met these wonderful people that are now apart of my life had I not created the opportunity to travel Europe.

{Ponte Sant’Angelo, Rome, Italy}

Be a Foreigner

It may not seem so at the time, but it is a good experience to be on the outside, to feel out of place. It helps you relate to people you encounter back home. I think so often we look down on people from other countries who may not get some part of our culture or are having trouble pronouncing something or understanding a term. Having the experience of feeling out of place while traveling will hopefully make you more sympathetic to others who are out of their familiar place. I think travel makes you a better human to your fellow man.

{Sibenik, Croatia}

Become More Cultured

There are so many different people groups and cultures in the world. Traveling gives you the chance to at least see a few new ones. When you travel you’re no longer around the familiar. You’re the foreigner now. You see how other societies functions, how people may live their lives differently in other parts of the world. I think it’s easy to become egocentric about the culture you grow up in. Travel helps break you of that as you realize that there are other right ways of doing things and that your culture is not always the best.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

{Oia, Santorini, Greece}

Stand Out

Travel makes you stand out; it makes you interesting. I love talking to people who have been to far away places and seen the world. They have stories to tell and experiences to recommend.

{Dubrovnik, Croatia}

Learn About Yourself and Those You Travel With

Travel teaches. It teaches you about yourself and those you travel with. Travel can be a high stress environment; things will go wrong and you will have to scramble to figure it out. This could be anthing from having to run a few miles to barely catch a bus in London to accidentally hiking to the wrong town in the mountains of Italy (not that I caused either of those things to happen). How you respond to these types of situations will provide insight into how you will handle future situations or how those you travel with will handle future situations. It also gives you practice in dealing with future situations. You will be better prepared to face whatever challenges arise back home.

Another Mark Twin quote I like goes: “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”

I think there would be a lot less divorce in America if people traveled together before they got married. There would probably also be a lot less marriages. Travel is messy, it will bring out the worst in you if you let it. You’re in a foreign place, you’re lacking sleep, and something goes wrong; how do you respond? You will inevitably have disagreements with the people you travel with. I definitely had it out a few times with my friend I traveled with but as you travel longer you learn to control those situations better and handle disagreements better.

{Salzburg, Austria}

It’s Fun

All of the other things on the list are great but lets be honest here, travel is really fun. From eating authentic dishes, cliff jumping in the blue waters of Greece, to getting lost in Venice, traveling is an amazing experience. So what are you waiting for? Go see the world!

Hopefully these 10 reasons inspire you to get out there and explore the world. Create the opportunity to travel, you will not be disappointed!

Author’s Note: Photos in this article are from my European trip. Special thanks to Kristian Irey for traveling with me and taking a few of these photos. Visit Irey at her official website and follow her on Instagram.

Disclaimer: Michael Matti is an independent photographer and in no way affiliated with The Hudsucker. Please direct any official inquiries to him via his contact form at MichaelMatti.com.
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