You’re Insignificant, And That’s Great: How Travel Makes Us Happier


This is not an article about how I “found myself” while backpacking through some tropical country near the equator. I’m also not going to list a bunch of reasons why we should all quit our desk jobs in favour of a beautiful beach somewhere with endless pina coladas, although that would be fantastic.

However, I am still here to preach about why and how travel can help all of us to live our lives in ways that are a little more conducive to happiness. Of course there are many reasons why travel is great for us. Travel broadens our perspective of the world by showing us how differently people live in other places. Adventure forces us to expand our comfort zone by placing us in circumstances that are entirely new to us. Visiting new places teaches us about other cultures and allows us to appreciate and love the qualities that make each people unique. Travelling allows us to test out new experiences, and feel that child like excitement we all wish we still had more of. Most importantly, travel teaches us that we are insignificant. It reminds us that we are only one human out of the 7.3 billion others.

Before you decide this article is too cynical to continue reading, please, let me explain this concept further. This is not a depressing statement but a powerful one. This reality gives us the power to take control of our lives like we may have never done before. If anything, to realize that your decisions don’t have to affect anybody but your self is humbling. I am just one guy in this giant world. I am living out my little life, and the only person I have to make sure this life is right for, is me. Sure, people do have tons of expectations for my future, especially my parents. And yes, my parents do want the best for me, of course they do. But what is best for me in their eyes may not actually be what will make me the happiest.

We have all grown up in a world that constantly tells us we are supposed to be special. As a result, most of us have a little voice in our head that tells us how we should act and what we need to do to fit into the societal definition of being successful. Feeling special has become a need rather than a desire. The funny thing about seeing the world through a new lens, is that we realize how minimal our existence truly is. I believe that this is something to be celebrated. If your ambition is to impact the world, than by all means, I encourage you to keep going. My point is that this realization should come as nothing but humbling. We are all just people trying to get through life the best we can.

For myself, I chose to accept this as a refreshing reminder to live out my own little existence just how I want to. This is my life, and why should I settle for anything less than what makes me happy? If I want to move to the mountains and snowboard everyday, I’ll do that. If I decide I want to pursue a career or start a business, I will do that also. Every decision in our lives should be filled with willful intention. Yes, there will always be distractions that cause us to forget what matters the most to us, and that is normal. So my friends, travel, explore and be enlightened by the philosophy of insignificance. By staying passionate and humble, I believe we will always be on the right path.