Get out your passports…it’s time to travel!
Sight Seeker’s, I have a confession to make. Before I started my Paris journey over 7 years ago (!!), when I spent my semester abroad here, I had never once left the United States. I thought it was too expensive, I wasn’t really interested in trying new things, and I felt pressure to stick with my daily routine. Can anyone else feel me on that?!
Ultimately, I’m so happy I took a chance and decided to travel abroad, as it really changed my life. Once I left that first time, there was no turning back! I returned home to finish up with school, and about a year and a half later, I was back in Paris – this time to stay.
While traveling abroad won’t necessarily make you want to leave your home country for good, there is no doubt that stepping out of your comfort zone, and experiencing something new will change your life. It can make you appreciate what you have at home, learn more about how different cultures live, and of course…get you some great photos 😉
This article is based on our own experiences and love for Paris, but you can apply what you’ll learn here to any destination. Keep reading to find out if you’re ready to take the plunge and invest in a trip abroad!
1. You’ve never left your home country
I’ve already touched on the fact that I had never left the United States before the first time I traveled to Paris for my semester abroad when I was 20 years old. Sadly, this is the case for a lot of people, many of whom are much older than 20!
In today’s global world, we’re really lucky. We have so many opportunities to see how other cultures live, so why would you pass that up?
There are stereotypes for nearly every country and culture, but 9 times out of 10 they are exaggerated and not necessarily very nice. Why not hop on a plane so that you can actually see how other people eat, speak, and spend their free time? You may find out that Parisians are actually nice, aren’t stinky, and don’t walk around wearing berets with baguettes under their arms (okay…so maybe the baguette thing is true).
Leaving your comfort zone can be a definite shock, but I think it’s something that’s really important if you want to grow as a person. This applies to 20 year olds, 40 year olds, or 70 year olds – it’s never too late to learn and grow!
2. You’re learning a second language
If you’re anything like me, you probably took a language in middle school and high school. And you probably don’t remember a darn thing! I took Spanish for 7 years and I can make it about as far as hola.
Flash forward to nowadays, and I can proudly say that I speak French fluently! Do you want to know how long it took me? 2 years of not trying too hard, and 1 year of really going for it, taking 25 hours a week of French classes. The fact that I was living in France while doing this changed everything, having to speak the language with native speakers is really special, and 10 times more helpful than trying to learn on your own.
I know that not all of you reading this article will have the chance to live in a foreign country for years at a time, but you can definitely apply this to a week long vacation! Have you been struggling to learn French, Spanish, or Italian in your home country? Why not take a week (or two if you can!) to travel to Paris, Madrid, or Rome? Test out your skills with every native speaker you come across, and you’ll be improving in no time!
3. You’re feeling stressed
Let’s face it: life can be stressful sometimes. Pressure from work, family, and your social life tend to pile up, and it can get you down. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had moments where we want to break down.
If you can, take a few weeks off to regroup in a foreign country. All of the new things you’ll see and learn will take your mind off of your own problems and stresses, and may even make you realize that you’re really sweating the small stuff.
Taking a bit of time off can be refreshing, and give you a new lease on life. I personally think that these positives can be increased 10 fold if you take your vacation in a foreign country. I definitely recommend Paris (obviously) as the perfect place to kick back and relax. France is, after all, the country of 3 hour long meals and wine at lunch and dinner!
4. You find yourself Googling photos of far off lands
Ever found yourself falling down the click hole that is Pinterest, Tumblr, or Instagram?! I know I have! There’s just something so satisfying (or maybe the word is unsatisfying) about scrolling through your browser to find out how people in foreign countries live, eat, and dress.
Obviously if you choose to travel during the summer or the holiday season, flights tend to be a bit expensive. But, take it from me, a student who tries to get back to the United States at least once a year to see my family, finding cheap flights is possible! Try taking your vacation in the off-season months like October or March, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the prices you’ll find.
Use your internet-scouring powers to look up inexpensive flights instead of drooling over a photo of a yummy French meal, and you won’t be sorry.
5. You want to experience something new
This one goes along with sign number 1, but it’s so important I think it deserves its own section too.
When you experience something new, whether it is good or bad, you ultimately grow as a person. Traveling abroad can be filled with ups and downs (but I sure do hope that you experience more ups!), and it can really teach you about yourself.
Being in a foreign country, experiencing how other people live, is eye opening. It can make you realize how important it is to never judge others. That is one of the major reasons why I was so happy to come back to France to live, once I experienced something new the first time it made me realize that there are so many different ways to live!
Again, I’m not expecting you guys to make a major cross-ocean move like I did, but I am a firm believer that even if you only visit another country for a week or two, you will come out of it as a better person.
6. You want to try new food
If you know us here at Sight Seeker’s Delight, you know that we are completely obsessed with French cuisine, and food in general! We don’t offer 3 different types of food tours for nothing after all 😉
If you’re already an adventurous eater, think about how amazing it would be to try different food in its native country. Odds are, it will be more authentic, and verrrrry yummy. Take it from us – even something as simple as a baguette tastes so much better if you get to munch on it on French soil, with a glass of wine and cheese on the side, of course!
Another bonus about this is, if you’re not an adventurous eater, traveling abroad will force you to expand your palate and branch out. Of course, you can find hamburgers and pizza almost everywhere, but please, step away from that tourist trap restaurant, and try somewhere more authentic, you’ll be glad you did.
7. You’re looking for inspiration
This one goes out to my fellow writers, photographers, and artists amongst you! Do you feel like you’re drowning in your daily routine, and find it impossible to be inspired? Have you run out of ideas for new projects? Never fear, there is always the option of booking a trip abroad!
It’s simple: when you break out of your comfort zone, it’s impossible not to become inspired. Hop on that plane, sit back, relax, and enjoy all of those creative juices that will begin flowing as you step foot into a foreign country.
Paris in particular is known for its inspirational qualities. After all, it isn’t a coincidence that people like Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oscar Wilde and countless other artists and writers called this city home at one point in their lives.
8. You’ve never been on a Sight Seeker’s Delight walking tour before
Shameless self promotion alert! We’re pretty proud of our walking tours at Sight Seeker’s Delight. We put an enormous amount of time, research, and passion into what we do, and our favorite thing in the world is sharing what we know with people like you.
If you’ve come across our blog, chances are you know someone who came on a walking tour with us. THANK YOU to all of our amazing clients who spread the word about us – we would be nowhere without you!
If you have truly just stumbled across this article through a Google search, I invite you to click on our TOURS page to see what we do. Maybe then you’ll be even more compelled to book that trip to Paris you’ve always been dreaming about… 😉
Thanks as always for reading! Are you showing any of the 8 signs mentioned above?! If so, break out those suitcases and get packing, you’ve got a trip abroad to go on!