5 Ted Talks that will inspire you to travel

We know you love traveling just like we do. If you write an inspirational travel video on the YouTube search box, you’ll likely be greeted by tens of thousands of results, featuring smiling young faces against a variety of incredible backdrops. You’ll probably find stunning 4k drone videos of astonishing landscapes or remote islands. Perhaps a few footage of people jumping into the water, and hundreds of well-edited travel vlogs all to a bouncy, cheery, royalty-free soundtrack. Those visually stunning videos are designed to inspire people to travel, and it clearly works.

The exposure to get noticed on social media and to stipulate serious motivation in others while traveling poised in different poles. However, what if you sneak out for a trip to prove something to yourself, spread awareness to others, and have a real purpose behind your journey?

If you’re wondering to see the world, and at the same time create an impact, this list of travel TED Talks will inspire, motivate and even teach you how to do it! Here are such brave travelers who have an uncompromised travel story to say to the world. They didn’t just travel to see places but to inspire, inform and intrigue others who pass by them, and their inspirational talks about travel journeys, leave the world to ‘pause’ and take up such quests.

​Travel more & buy less

We live in a world of consumption. Before we buy our next item for our “man cave” or “she shed,” we need to think again. Adventure and exploration is the best way to learn and expand our horizons. In this TED talk, the idea presented by the speaker is simple and enlightening, that one should have a passport full of stamps rather than a house full of stuff. Travel more. Buy less. It does not matter where you travel, do not need to travel far to see beautiful corners of the world. #GO

Luis was born in Mexico City, grew up in California, and found a home in Oregon. He has spent 20 years working around the World in the digital start-up and adventure travel space helping iconic brands like Disney, REI, and The Clymb create meaningful experiences-based businesses. His purpose is to inspire and enable others to have transformative travel experiences, with the knowledge that travel can be a force for good

Some quotes from the video

  • But growing up, I felt stuck in between two worlds.
  • The glorification of “Busy” is real, and it’s a problem.
  • Making a living and making a life sometimes point in opposite directions.
  • Say “Yes” to a transformative travel experience.
  • Work, fear, and money are the main 3 reasons for not exploring a new world.

​My year reading a book from every country in the world

Ann Morgan considered herself well read — until she discovered the “massive blindspot” on her bookshelf. Amid a multitude of English and American authors, there were very few books from beyond the English-speaking world. So she set an ambitious goal: to read one book from every country in the world over the course of a year. However, it started with some practical problems. After she had worked out which of the many different lists of countries in the world to use for her project, she ended up going with the list of UN-recognized nations and the total number was 196. Then she had to face the fact that she might not be able to get books in English from every country. The biggest challenge for her was the fact she didn’t know where to start. She had no idea about how to go about sourcing and finding stories and choosing them from much of the rest of the world.

In October 2011, she registered her blog and she posted a short appeal online. She explained her situation about reading and asked for suggestions on what she might read from other parts of the world. Within a few hours, people started to get in touch, initially, it was friends and colleagues and soon it was strangers. People went out of their way to help her.

She had the opportunity to read books and unpublished manuscripts of books of different writers and she believes it has helped to open her eyes to many things. The stories she read made her more alive than ever before to the richness, diversity, and complexity of our remarkable planet. She really hopes that more people will join in the journey and read stories from different parts of the world so that we can connect with each other across political, geographical, cultural, social, and religious divides.

Some quotes from the video

  • My weakness had become the strength.
  • Wrestling with unfamiliar ideas can help clarify your own thinking.
  • It is easier than ever before for strangers to share a story.
  • Reading a book from a culture that may have quite different values to your own can be really enlightening and show up blind spots.

​The value of travel

​After spending 4 months a year for the last 30 years living out of a suitcase, Rick Steves reflects on the value of thoughtful travel. Sharing lessons learned from Iran to El Salvador and from India to Denmark, Steves tells why spending all that time and money away from home has broadened his perspective, enriched his life, and made it clear to him, as he says in his talk, “Fear is for people who don’t get out very much.”

Some quotes from the video

  • Travel wallops my ethnocentricity and I’m very grateful for that.
  • There are so many misunderstandings between people and when we travel, we straighten them out.
  • A third of the people on this planet eat with spoons and forks like you do, a third of the people eat with chopsticks and a third of the people eat with their fingers like I do and we’re all civilised just the same.
  • I am going here because I think it’s good character to know people before you bomb them. (on why he traveled to Iran)
  • I learned once again that fear – and there’s a lot of it in our society – fear is to me for people who don’t get out very much.

​The danger of a single story

​Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a novelist inspired by Nigerian histories and tragedies. Her novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan culture. In this TED Talk, she upholds a few personal stories that she likes to call The danger of the single story.

She grew up on a university campus in eastern Nigeria. Despite the fact that she lived in Nigeria, she had never been outside of Nigeria and never been accustomed to typical storybook illustrated characteristics.  At a very early age, she became convinced that books by their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things with which she could not identify herself.  African influential writers like Chinua Achebe and Camara Laye, helped her to go through a mental shift in her perception of literature. She realized conventional, middle-class people like her could also exist in the literature and later acknowledged those foreign storybooks saved her from having a single story.

Some quotes from the video

  • It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power.
  • The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.
  • The consequences of the single story is it robs people of dignity.
  • Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.
  • When we reject the single story, we regain a kind of paradise.

​What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?

​Hugh Evans, who introduces himself as a humanitarian, started a movement that mobilizes “global citizens,” people who self-identify first and foremost not as members of a state, nation, or tribe but as members of the human race. In this uplifting and personal talk, he describes how this new understanding is galvanizing people to take action in the fight against extreme poverty, climate change, gender inequality, and more. “These are ultimately global issues,” Evans says, “and they can only be solved by global citizens demanding global solutions from their leaders.”

Hugh believes that the world’s future depends on global citizens. He grew up in Melbourne, Australia and at the age of 12, when he was in the first year of high school, started raising money for communities in the developing world. In 1998, he found an opportunity to visit a slum on the outskirts of Manila which actually helped to change his perceptions towards the capitalistic world.

Some quotes from the video

  • We don’t need to create global citizens from nothing, we are already everywhere.
  • We live in an age where every single voice can be heard.
  • Global citizens stand together and ask the questions “Why”?
  • The whole world is our backyard, and we ignore it at our peril.

We hope these videos have been more inspiring than watching a soap opera or a light comedy on Netflix. The world is an amazing place. Let’s experience it!

Share this post with someone you want to travel with who has not yet traveled much! Hopefully, the inspiration will help them get their bags packed and join you on an exciting getaway.

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