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COLUMN: Traveling is the route to happiness

If you are in your 20s, you need to travel.

This might be the one time in your life where you have a little amount of responsibilities.

Ideally, you don’t have kids, you’re single and free on the weekends.

Get in your car and drive somewhere you have never been. The less you plan, the better. The more spontaneous you are, the better.

If you weren’t born with a natural talent for following directions, you already know the trip will be interesting. Even with a GPS, the good times just roll, because that little piece of technology sometimes can’t even help your human-brain GPS.

I don’t know how many times I reroute my Google Maps when I am driving in a new city. If it could talk, it would say, “You’re a dumbass, now turn right.”

But, getting lost in really awful places or driving in circles for hours has taught me to be a lot more patient and focused. It’s taught me that with time, results will come. In this case, the pizza place I was trying to find for two hours.

Along with figuring out how to drive to places that you need to go, you learn a great deal about communication – how to get what you want, when you want, where you want it.

Traveling forces you to be social if you don’t want to get too lost.

Asking people what they think about different places, where to go and maybe even including them on your journey widens your social comfort zone.

Not only will you discover yourself, you will discover that you’re just like everyone else.

If you don’t believe me, try staying in a hostel like I did last weekend in Chicago. From Indiana guys to Germany girls, everyone had their own story to share.

And what came with those stories put so much in perspective.

Everyone was there to get away from something, to experience something.

They had the same breakup stories, confusing lives and worries.  No matter where they were from, they were going through things most people in their 20s experience. It proves that these issues are universal and not just personal.

All people really want in life is to be happy.

And there’s only one way to find that happiness if you haven’t already: by traveling.

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