Why I Travel

While I have the Instagram-worthy pictures to document my travels, I have gained a deeper appreciation for travel that exists beyond the picture perfect filtered reality that we so often share with the world. An appreciation for the part of travel that most people overlook or don’t really talk about, the part of travel that exists WAY outside of your comfort zone.

Like most millennials or, in fact, most humans that I surround myself with I have romanticized the idea of travel. I follow travel bloggers, watch Youtube Travel Diaries and I am constantly updating my Travel Pinterest page with destinations, adventures and places that I someday hope to go to. 

In my short 21-years around the sun, I’ve made my way to 15 countries and 4 continents. A privilege that I am well aware of. While I have the Instagram-worthy pictures to document my memories and my stories, I have gained a deeper appreciation for travel that exists beyond the picture perfect filtered reality that we so often share to the world. An appreciation for the part of travel that most people overlook or don’t really talk about, the part of travel that exists WAY outside of your comfort zone. An appreciation for the discomfort that is inevitable in travel.

Why do I travel?

Because I crave the feeling of discomfort that comes from travel, a similar feeling you have halfway up a mountain where you realize that you might've just started something completely out of your comfort zone and ability and you have absolutely no idea what you've just gotten yourself into

When you are in a city surrounding by people that don’t speak your language, your phone is dead, you are by yourself, your stomach is definitely not impressed with the food you just ate and you just want to sleep but you can’t because your hostel doesn’t open up for another two hours. 

When you are traveling through the night, after two delayed plane rides, just to get on a train for another three hours before you begin the attempt to meet up with a friend who doesn’t have cell service. 

When you are sick, really sick, and the nearest hospital is twenty miles away in a rural town and (on top of everything) the only way to get there is by motorcycle.

Those feelings of discomfort where you want to quit, go home, grab the covers and never look back because that sounds so much easier. I crave that because right after that feeling passes and you make it after the food poisoning passes after you check in to your hotel or after you finally meet up with friends in a foreign city, you feel so damn proud. You feel elated.

It's in that moment after the discomfort is over where you begin to feel yourself grow into a better version of yourself and begin to capitalize on the capability you now realize you have.

That’s why I travel. 

While the sights are beautiful and the people you will meet forever change your perspective, it’s the personal growth that attracts me to travel. It’s the ability to feel yourself become a more aware, patient and independent person as you tackle culture shock, delayed flights, changes in travel plans, homesickness and frustrating miscommunication.

It’s the ability to grow into a person that you never thought you were capable of becoming because you never had the chance to tap into your potential. As humans, we are capable of incredible things but if we never lean into discomfort and give ourselves the chance to try new things, then we will never learn how much we can really overcome.

So, that’s why I travel. I travel to grow. I travel to learn. I travel to become a better verison of myself.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Bria Justus

Portland, OR born. PNW grown. Spontaneous adventurer. Amateur blogger. Wannabe trail runner. Half marathon finisher. Aspiring storyteller. Travel lover. Avid hiker. Sunset chaser. Thai food enthusiast. Twenty-one year...