Traveling is wonderful. You see new things, experience new cultures, eat cool foods, and have fun. I believe it helps open the mind and possible increase creativity as well. All travel is good, but quite honestly you only see and experience so much when you go on a tour, stay in tourist hotels, and hang out with fellow tourists most of the time. I’m not knocking tourism at all, and have been a tourist at times, but to really see an area you need to travel rather independently, not with a group of tourists.
Most of the world does not have tourist hotels, but has perfectly fine hotels the locals stay in when they travel. You won’t find starred Michelin restaurants, but plenty of inexpensive and tasty local places to eat. You might meet a few travelers, but you’ll certainly interact with the locals as well. Communication may not be fully in English, but you’ll be amazed how much you can communicate even when there is no or little common language. Best of all, you will see and experience far more, most likely enjoy it immensely.
Traveling in most of the world is very inexpensive, yes, I said inexpensive. A week as a tourist in France might cost you two or more thousand dollars per person not including airfare, and I’ll add is quite worth it. For the same price you can quite easily have a blast for a couple of months very easily in many fascinating and perfectly safe areas of the world. You travel and eat extremely well, stay in comfortable locations, and have a wonderful and enlightening time. Of course you can travel in France much more cheaply as well.
Now some areas of the world are easier to travel in than others. A novice traveler probably shouldn’t travel sub Saharan Africa for example, although the area is fascinating. Southeast Asia however is very simple to travel in and one of the more popular areas. Most of the countries feature easy travel, plenty of accommodations, absolutely great food, and well beaten paths full of other travelers as well. South America is another area that is wonderful to travel in as in Central America, and a little Spanish goes a long way if you happen to know some.
Traveling is more about being there than moving rapidly in a crazy attempt to see everything. You never can see everything anyways. So slow down, take a few weeks or months (yes, you can if plan ahead), and see the world.