Growing up, I never thought I’d leave the south. I had a happy, healthy childhood with an amazing family and solid friends. On paper, life was perfect, but I was missing a vital part of the human experience: travel. My life was incredibly insular; I was affected only by what happened in my (very tiny) corner of the world.

Travel is important because it yanks us out of our comfort zone – where the mundane and ordinary thrive – and into an enlightening exploration of the beasts and beauties of an unfamiliar world. By design, we love to get a look (intrusive or not) into the lives of others. It forces answers to existential questions like, “what is the meaning of my life?” or “how does my life to compare to another?” – questions we have all inevitably asked ourselves.

Travel had always been important to me, but it wasn’t until 2012 that it became essential to my career. I’d been working in e-commerce feeling wholly uninspired and creatively void. At the encouragement of a friend, I started Scout Sixteen and my world – both literally and figuratively – turned upside down.

For the first time in my life, I was crafting my own path. Like so many of my modern peers (from a variety of industries), I basked in the warmth of professional independence; it was and continues to be absolutely marvelous. Every day is different – a careful mix of stress, joy, hunger, and satisfaction.

It’s been two years since I took the plunge into blogging full-time and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been fortunate to visit almost every destination on my bucket list. With each new locale I blossom just a little bit more and come home feeling more recharged and enlightened than before. My blog gave me a purpose but it was travel that brought me back to life.

I’m thrilled to partner with my favorite luggage brand, Samsonite (the Lift2 21” Spinner is shown above), to reflect on my travels and reveal 3 reasons travel is crucial to a balanced life:

Traveling builds confidence.

Between meeting new people, bridging language gaps, and challenging preconceived ideas, traveling is a constant stream challenges. We’re opening up our minds and discovering aspects of our selves that we hadn’t yet developed. We’re stepping out of comfort zone and navigating into unexplored territory. Challenges arise, we tackle them head on, enjoy the spoils of war, and repeat the process. When we return home, we’ve eliminated the fear of the unknown (even if just for a bit) which allows us to confidently conquer our everyday.

Traveling creates lasting bonds and memories.

By far, my favorite aspect of traveling is the lasting bond I’ve created with travel companions, especially those I didn’t know before the trip. By facing the challenges of travel together, we’ve found common ground and can be infinitely more empathetic towards one another. We’ve created incredible memories that – with the modern technology – we’re able to relive again and again. And let’s not forget the love stories… who knows, you might just meet your soul mate in the place you least expected.

Traveling is restorative.

No matter your age, traveling is truly the best medicine. As we move through our daily routines it is easy to become jaded by the process. The events that once brought us joy now feel trite and ordinary. Traveling can recharge and rejuvenate our spirit, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in experience whether it’s as daring as exploring a remote village or as calming as a day on the beach.

I implore each of you to make travel a priority. I can’t imagine how banal my life would be without the experiences and cultural risks I’ve taken abroad. Save up for a dream destination or gather a few friends for a weekend road trip. Make memories. Aim to live your best life. Wherever you choose to go, open your mind and soak in, as many opportunities as you can… adventures are the best way to learn!

This post was sponsored by Samsonite. Samsonite has been my preferred luggage source for as long as I can remember. I’ve currently been using the Silhouette Sphere 25” Spinner, Lift2 21” Hardside Spinner, and the Lift2 29” Hardside Spinner. Not only are these bags incredibly roomy but they also offer top-tier protection of my valuables from the elements and thieving hands. If you haven’t checked out their full catalog of luggage, duffels, backpacks, and travel accessories, do it today!