50 Reasons to Love the World (From Very Seasoned Travelers)

In addition to the fact that sunsets like this exist. (Photo: Annie Daly) 

Take a minute to search through the #travel and #wanderlust hashtags on Instagram, and you’ll find a slew of photos from magical places all around the globe. But what you may not necessarily find is why, exactly, the people who posted those photos went there in the first place—and why they continue to wander their way through the world today.

The big question, then, is this: What is it that inspires travelers to travel?

We’ve seen wonderful lists in places like BBC Travel that have made us, seasoned travel vets, want to pack our bags and explore the globe.

We asked a group of very accomplished globetrotters—the Yahoo Travel Explorers, plus the Yahoo Travel staff—for their number one reason why they love the world. Some travelers went big picture; some zeroed in on one specific world moment that truly changed them. But in the end, all of them hit on one basic universal truth: because the world is full of wonder. Read on for some amazing travel inspiration.

1. “Because making a last-minute decision to head West instead of East led me to a hidden monastery in the grasslands of an ancient Tibetan province, and made me realize that no matter which path you take, there is no wrong direction when exploring this world.” —Jarryd Salem, NOMADasaurus


The moment Jarryd realized there is really no such thing as a wrong turn. (Photo: Jarryd Salem)

2. “Because as a Buddhist monk in Litang, China, proudly showed me his gong—one of the only possessions he has and that he shares with all the other monks in his temple—it occurred to me that all you need to make you happy in this life is a positive mindset and a warm heart.”—Alesha Bradford, NOMADasaurus


Inspiration for a happy life. (Photo: Alesha Bradford)

3. “Because I saw the cherry blossoms bloom and fall in Japan, reminding me that  all things—even the most beautiful ones—are impermanent. I can’t think of a better reason to appreciate our world, and do our best to care for it.” —La Carmina, La Carmina


Stop and smell the cherry blossoms. (Photo: La Carmina) 

4. “Because now that I have a daughter, I can rediscover the world through her eyes.” —Laura Begley Bloom, Yahoo Travel Executive Editor 


Laura’s daughter forging her own path in Jamaica. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom) 

5. “Because there are still places like Cappadocia, where you can start your morning with a hot air balloon ride.” —Christine Amorose, C’est Christine


Now that’s a view worth setting your alarm for. (Photo: Christine Amorose)

6. “Because the world is huge. No matter how long you spend traveling and exploring, you will never run out of new things to see and learn.” —Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere

7. “Because lying on your back and listening to reggae music in the sun on pretty much any beach, anywhere in the world, at anytime, will always make you feel like things are gonna be alright.” —Annie Daly, Yahoo Travel Contributing Editor


Not worrying about a thing in the Dominican Republic. (Photo: Zoe Stopak-Behr)

Related: From the Beach to Disney: How to Find Your Happy Place

8. “Because I grew up playing soccer in the streets of Brooklyn, stopping every ten seconds because a car was coming down the block. And at the same time across the world, kids in small villages high in the mountains of Nepal were playing soccer in the shadows of the Himalayas, breathing in fresh mountain air below majestic, snowcapped peaks.” —Alexandra E. Petri, The Write Way Around


Same game, (very) different views. (Photo: Alexandra E. Petri) 

9. “Because I randomly ran into my classmate from high school on the top level of  the Eiffel Tower one cool fall afternoon. The world is very big, but it’s also very small.” —Adam Groffman, Travels of Adam

10. “Because traveling gives my kids a huge heart for the world, and the boldness and confidence to explore it with or without me.” —Kim-Marie Evans, Luxury Travel Mom


Kim-Marie’s teenage daughter traveling Haiti by herself last summer. (Photo: Kim-Marie Evans)

11. “Because you meet the most amazing people. Spiro Panagiotopoulos began as my taxi driver in Athens, and then became the greatest tour guide two girls could ever ask for. Now I am proud to call him a friend.” —Jo Piazza, Yahoo Travel Managing Editor


Spiro selfie! (Photo: Jo Piazza) 

12. “Because no matter where you are in the world, the smile of a child will always brighten your day.” —Meagen Collins and Tom Williams, Five Dollar Traveller and 5 Dollar Planet


An Indian child with a million-rupee smile. (Photo: Meagen Collins)

13. “Because the world has been the best education. I’ve learned how to navigate locales on my own, I’ve met some of the most incredible people around the globe, and I’m often just humbled by humanity.” —Stef Michaels, Adventure Girl

14. “Because there is nothing quite like waking up at 5 a.m. in the pitch black to get on the back of a camel in the middle of the Arabian desert with a Beduion guide to watch the sunrise.” —Cacinda Maloney, Points and Travel 


Now there’s a way to start the day. (Photo: Cacinda Maloney)

15. “Because once while driving through the Australian Outback at dawn, a group of kangaroos started hopping alongside the car, like terrestrial dolphins through a sea of grass and scrub. It was a singularly special moment where I felt so connected to the world around me.” —Matt Long, Land Lopers


Well hello there! (Photo: Matt Long) 

Related: Please DO Feed the Animals at These Places

16. "Because meeting three young Buddhist monks on a cliff in Galle, Sri Lanka—and then having them ask me for my Facebook info—reminded me that travel allows us to connect with people we otherwise never would have crossed paths with, and technology allows us to nurture and grow that connection even more.” —Oneika Raymond, Oneika the Traveller 


See you on Facebook! (Photo: Oneika Raymond) 

17. “Because the world is beautiful—and so many people on it are beautiful as well.” —Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler 

18. “Because koalas exist, and I got to cuddle one.” —Leah Ginsberg, Yahoo Travel Lead Editor


Behold: a little ball of cuteness. (Photo: Leah Ginsberg) 

19. “Because a quiet sunset in the middle of the South African bush reminded me that there is so much beauty and awe in the everyday.” —Tausha Cowan, The Globe Getter


It doesn’t get much better than this. (Photo: Tausha Cowan) 

20. “Because you can eat like a duchess in Wroclaw, Poland, where schnitzel and a glass of vodka will set you back 9 zloty, or roughly $2.50.” —Cathy Bennett Kopf, The Open Suitcase


On the way to eat the entire menu. (Photo: Cathy Bennett Kopf)

21. “Because it’s a never-ending journey. I can visit the same place three times, and still find new things to see and do, all unrelated, which gives me the drive to continue on my travels.” —David Hogan Jr., Malaysia Asia


David getting ready to journey into the sea. (Photo: David Hogan Jr.)

22. “Because no two street stall foods are the same, and I want to eat all of them.” —Stephanie Yoder, Twenty-Something Travel


Eeeeeeats!! (Photo: Stephanie Yoder)

Related: The Tastiest Street Snacks Around the World

23. “Because there’s just no place that’s like another. Even the town next door is different than the one you just visited!” —Mike Morrison, Mike’s Bliggity Blog

24. “Because snorkeling with the whistling beluga whales in Hudson Bay, Canada  made me truly humbled by the interconnectivity and simple beauty of all of Earth’s species.” —Marybeth Bond, Gutsy Traveler 


Marybeth felt waves of joy when she was with the whales. (Photo: Marybeth Bond)

25. Because sometimes you get to surf in Hawaii, and it makes you feel like the luckiest person on the planet.” —Brittany Jones-Cooper, Yahoo Travel Editor


Hanging ten gets a ten in her book. (Photo: Brittany Jones-Cooper) 

26. “Because it shows you there is compassion, kindness and beauty; it allows you to open your eyes and see outside of yourself and realize this is a magical place we call home.” —Diana Edelman, D Travels Round


Love really is all around. (Photo: Diana Edelman)

27. “Because roasting marshmallows in the lava of a volcano in Guatemala is something I simply cannot do at home.” —Jackie Laulainen, The Budget Minded Traveler


Oh, just whipping up your totally average dessert. (Photo: Jackie Laulainen)

28. “Because no matter how much I travel, there will always be remote and untouched places that we barely know about, and they are often found in the shadow of the big well-known places, sitting there all unassuming, quiet, and beautiful. Sitting in the shadow of Bannf and Lake Louise National Park in Alberta, for instance, is nearby Kananaskis Country, which offers the beautiful Spray Lakes, plenty of adventures, and no tourists.” —Sherry Ott, Otts World


Take the road less traveled to the beautiful Spray Lakes in Kananaskis Country. (Photo: Sherry Ott)

29. “Because in Hangzhou, China, you see more similarities than differences in people.” —Karen Rubin, Going Places Far and Near 


United by culture. (Photo: Karen Rubin) 

30. “Because no matter where I go, I encounter genuine and kind people. I’ve literally made friends all over the world.” —Johnny Jet, Johnny Jet

31. “Because even the simplest of landscapes can be transformed by shadows and light.” —James Clark, Nomadic Notes


Shadow play in the Namib Desert in Namibia. (Photo: James Clark)

32. “Because the world is filled with beautiful landscapes, positive people, and interesting cultures. Of course there are rough days, but the good almost always outweighs the bad.” —Pamela MacNaughtan, Savoir Faire Abroad

33. “Because in the middle of the Serengeti, sleeping in a tent as lions are roaring in the distance, you remember how small you actually are, and find serenity in the fact that you can’t control anything. And then you let go.” —Lindsay Taub, Voyage Vixens


What a beautiful place to accept your own place in the world. (Photo: Lindsay Taub)

34. “Because traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand to witness these mama elephants ‘fist bump’ reminds me that connection—be it among elephants or humans—is worth stretching out of your comfort zone to achieve.” —Lanee Lee, Voyage Vixens


Friendship first! (Photo: Lanee Lee)

35. "Because no matter how many frequent flier miles, hotel points and passport stamps I amass, there’s always a new exotic delicacy to taste, an unseen wonder to behold, an unfamiliar custom to try, a new friend to cherish. There will never be an end to fresh experiences.” —Angie Orth, Angie Away


It’s always a good idea to try scuba diving in the Bahamas. (Photo: Angie Orth) 

36. “Because every new place I visit, every new unpaved road I ‘discover,’ every new food I eat, every sunrise and sunset I experience, they all make my heart happy.” —Charles McCool, McCool Travel  


It’s a magical hour indeed. (Photo: Charles McCool)

37. “Because potential friends are always right around the corner. Example: I was recently a bridesmaid in Sydney, Australia, for a couple I met on a Contiki tour through Europe in 2007!” —Cailin O’Neill, Travel Yourself 


What happens in Europe…doesn’t always stay in Europe.  (Photo: Frank Farrugia)

38. “Because it’s an abounding source of inspiration that you experience and feel, but do not own.” —Megan Snedden 


Wading into Israel’s Dead Sea made Megan feel more alive than ever before. (Photo: Megan Snedden) 

39. “Because there’s treasure everywhere. Fischer’s Peak in British Columbia is just an hour’s drive and a hearty hike away from my home, but I didn’t discover it until I was 30.” —Matt Gibson, XPat Matt 


Matt taking in the view of his sweet, sweet find. (Photo: Matt Gibson)

40. “Because there are meaningful, deep connections to be made everywhere around the world. The world really is all about the people.” —Michaela Guzy, Oh the People You Meet!

41. “Because a vital lesson our planet shares is how to put the American-style currency blues on the run. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever met were, by American standards, incredibly hand-to-mouth poor—and living under tarps or bridges. Hear this: Measure your wealth by how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” —Bruce Northam, American Detour


The Filipino farmhands may not have much, but they seem happy. (Photo: Bruce Northam)

42. “Because in the last 12 months, I’ve visited a crumbling ghost town in backwoods Mississippi, an abandoned mine in Death Valley, and an abandoned World War II Nazi compound in Los Angeles. And it reminds me to enjoy this moment, because all of life is temporary.” —Greg Keraghosian, Yahoo Travel Associate Editor


A visual reminder to appreciate life as we live it. (Photo: Greg Kheraghosian)

43. “Because after I spent a full day gazing into the changing hues of the Chandrataal Lake in Spiti, I looked up from the freezing cold and pitch black darkness around me and saw the Milky way swirling above me. That’s when I realized how futile and insignificant our worldly problems are, and how lucky I was to be there in that moment.” —Rishabh Shah, Gypsy Couple


The Milky Way showed him the way…to enlightenment. (Photo: Rishabh Shah)

44. “Because when I saw a double rainbow in the Mauritius sky after a freak shower in the middle of winter, I realized how the very storm that had threatened to spoil my honeymoon a moment ago had created something so beautiful which will stay with me for life.” —Nirali Shah, Gypsy Couple 


In a Mauritius minute, everything can change. (Photo: Nirali Shah) 

45. “Because you can cycle and hike your way through Kerala, India, and truly feel the pulse of the place, and  understand the local culture.“ —Jessie Festa, Jessie on a Journey


A river sanctuary in Dewalokam, an organic farm where Jessie stayed in Kerala. (Photo: Jessie Festa)  

46. “Because whether it’s a pint, a shot, a dram, or a tumbler, knocking back a nice beverage with the locals is a tradition in which you can partake all over the world. No matter what the local language is, a drink means the same thing: friendship and bonding. Cheers!” —Sid Lipsey, Yahoo Travel Contributing Editor

47. “Because you get the opportunity to seek the unexpected, like I did when I was hiking the Angels Landing Trail on a trip to Utah’s Zion National Park. I was holding onto the rails the whole time—it was quite the adventure!” —Carri Wilbanks, Catch Carri


Climbing to new heights in Zion. (Photo: Carri Willbanks) 

48. “Because when I got lost on the way to Taipei’s Shilin Night Market, a student offered to help me, and proceeded to ride the subway with me and drop me off at the entrance. The whole endeavor probably took a good hour out of his evening, and it reminded me that people really are inherently good.” —Kelley Ferro, KF Traveler 


She got by with a little help from…a stranger. (Photo: Kelley Ferro) 

49. “Because it is a market of amazing tastes and conversations.” —Erica Firpo, Moscerina 


This Sicilian market is a little microcosm of the world. (Photo: Erica Firpo)

50. “Because I’ll never find the end of it.” —Nadine Sykora, Hey Nadine


Embracing the world in Blyde River Canyon, South Africa.  (Photo: Nadine Sykora) 

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