How Travel Makes you Rich, Smart, and Popular

Your ticket to wealth, friends, and knowledge

As I say this now, it makes me sound like a total snob…

…but I once yelled at somebody for overcharging me by 50 cents.

And it was in a different language as well.

I was travelling through south-east Asia at the time, and I was making my way through Vietnam. At this time, I had got used to people looking at me and expecting that I was the wealthy white person.

They all think it.

But, after a few months of it, it starts to wear on you. So, I was taking a taxi back to my hotel from the airport.

I was tired. I was feeling dirty. I was “hangry”. I was SOOOO ready for a shower and a bed.

When I got to the airport, I knew better than to go through the official taxi rank, and found a taxi driver who was looking for passengers. I negotiated a rate (because I knew how much it should cost) and got in.

But, when he dropped me off and I paid him the cash, he started saying that I owed him more.

It was definitely the late hour and lack of sleep that caused it, but I immediately pushed back. I yelled at this poor guy over what amounted to an extra 50 cents, but to me it was the principle of it that was really annoying.

When I look back (and cringe at what I did), I suppose I should have just paid him. As tiring as it was to be constantly seen as wealthy…

…in reality, I was EXTREMELY rich in comparison to everyone else.

That’s one of the unexpected benefits of travelling. If you’re going to certain places, travel can make you look ridiculously rich. It can also make you feel popular. You also end up feeling incredibly smart after coming home.

But nobody talks about this. Nobody mentions how it feels to be away in some remote location and be suddenly seen as somebody different.

So, let me tell you how travel can make you rich, smart and popular.

Just not in the way you expect.

Travel Makes You Rich

It just LOOKS like a lot of money…

It’s really annoying to have 5 pounds in my wallet and not be able to get lunch for myself when I want it.

But it’s even more annoying knowing how far that money can take me overseas. That same amount of money, an amount that most of us wouldn’t think twice about spending, could land me a hotel room with Wi-Fi in Thailand…

Or a bucketload of fresh seafood from a fisherman in Vietnam…

Or a few handmade blankets from a market in India.

The feeling of being able to buy whatever you want isn’t something that most people get to experience in the developed world. If you live in the UK, Spain or the US, things are not cheap.

But travel can make you feel like a wealthy person when you notice your street food has only cost you the same money as you’d expect to find rolling around on the floor of a city bus.

In comparison with the rest of the world, you ARE incredibly wealthy. And it’s not until you’re travelling that you get to experience it first-hand. At the very least, it’s a reminder of just how good you have it in life.

Travel Makes You Popular

Instant friends…

When I came back from one of my first trips overseas, do you know what I loved the most?

I can tell you that I was craving cheese, a bit of cold weather and soft carpet under my feet.

But what I REALLY enjoyed was this:


I loved being able to walk through a mall without anybody looking over and pointing at me.

I loved being able to walk down the street without anybody asking to take a picture with me.

I loved being able to do whatever I wanted without the eyes of the world all on me.

There’s nothing like travelling to make you feel as though you’re a very popular person. When I toured India, it got to the point where I would expect at least two or three people to ask to take a selfie with me when I went out. If they didn’t, I wondered “why not?”.

If you plan to spend any time abroad, and especially somewhere that’s radically different to home, expect attention.

LOTS of it.

I made a TON of friends with fellow travellers. But that was nothing compared to how many people wanted to ask me about my country, practise their English on me or take me to visit their friends’ shop.

Travel Makes You Smart

Well, actually….

Part of the reason that people love to travel (and I’ve covered this earlier) is because they learn a lot while being away.

It’s funny how, when you come home, you’ll often feel like jumping in to a conversation.

“Well, actually, in Thailand, most families…”

“Well actually, dinner is usually eaten around 9:30-10pm…”

“Well, in the Philippines, you never show the bottom of your foot….”

If you’re not careful, you can come across sounding like a complete showboat, know-it-all that nobody wants to listen to anymore.

I had to learn really fast that, if I wanted to talk about my travels, about where I went, about the amazing places I’d stayed in, I had to keep my mouth shut more often.

Travel may make you feel smart, but you certainly don’t have to be a smart Alec about it.


I, for one, am all about the places and people and experiences you have while travelling. But it’s not all fun in the sun and cool villas and great times. I want you to understand that travel is so much more than that.