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Experiencing New Things: Why Travel Is Priceless

Traveling without any new experiences is not real traveling, it is commuting. In order to have a truly epic vacation, you need to get out there and experience as many new things as possible. This includes not just seeing and doing but also eating, learning and experiencing.

Exploring new places creates priceless memories that shape you as a person and forever change you, even if you do not realize it at the time. Travel is a form of personal growth. A wise man once said that “you have to lose yourself to find yourself” and that phrase has never been more true — or more easy to accomplish — than nowadays in this modern world where any country that you want to visit is a mere plane flight or two away.

Personally, when I first began traveling internationally back in 2008, I was exploring new places simply because I could. However over the years this mentality of “traveling because I can” evolved into “traveling because I need to”.

Travel is more addictive than any drug but perhaps the worst part is that once you start traveling, you cannot stop. No one has ever said “just one more vacation and then I’m done.” Once you start exploring the world you will never be able to stop.


For 2017, I decided to take my travels in a new direction. I wanted to do something truly epic. So I decided to find a theme to my travels and add new purpose, a new set of goals, to my ongoing adventures around the world.

Skiing in Lapland, the far northern part Finland up in the Arctic Circle, was an experience that proved travel is priceless

Ever been skiing or snowboarding? There is nothing more exhilarating then sliding down a mountain kicking up powder behind you as you feel the wind rushing against your face. All you see ahead is where the blue sky meets the white mountains and all you see below is a pristine slope begging for you to slide down it. The feeling is indescribable. It is also priceless.

Now I’m on a new mission to go skiing on every continent. North America. South America. Europe. Asia. Even Africa and Australia. Each has world-renowned skiing destinations and it would be amazing to see how they all compare to each other. Is skiing better in North America or South? Europe or Asia? Only time will tell!

Skiing in Ruka-Kuusamo, Finland, up in the Arctic Circle was an experience that proved travel is priceless Wait…..you went skiing in the Arctic Circle in the middle of winter?!?   Yes.   That’s why there is no sun! 😯

So far this year I’ve already been skiing in the Arctic Circle and after a brief photo shoot back in Thailand next week, I’m looking to head back to France or maybe Switzerland to see what seeing is like in Central Europe. After that comes North America. I have been to Vail twice in the past but both times for mountain biking — sadly I’ve never been there during the winter months. Thankfully this will all be changing soon.

After North America comes Asia. The 7th Annual Afghan Ski Challenge takes place on March 3rd in Bamyan, Afghanistan. Beyond just personal curiosity, Afghanistan is an amazing country and home to some of the most hospitable people on earth. Sure there are some ongoing issues there, but Bamyan has always been — and always will be — free of terrorists. Every winter adventurous and curious skiers from around the globe flock here for a unique skiing experience.

Skiing in Bayman, Afghanistan, is an experience that proves travel is priceless

I am still working out the dates for my South America, African and Australian skiing adventures — after all, skiing is a seasonal sport. There needs to be ample snow there otherwise it is a waste of a plane ticket. However I am in love with skiing and my enthusiasm has never been higher.

You might think that after nearly a decade exploring the globe I would be growing bored with travel but as any long-term traveler will tell you, that is never the case.


The more you travel, the more you want — no, need — to travel. Exploring new places is one pastime that never gets old.

It’s not too late to add one more new years resolution to your list for 2017: explore more! You’ll be glad that you did.

&nnsp; This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vail Resorts. The opinions and text are all mine, mine, mine! And yes I am seriously trying to ski on every continent. Wait…does Antarctica count?

About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

18 thoughts on “Experiencing New Things: Why Travel Is Priceless”

  1. ‘Love it! ‘can’t imagine you skiing in the Arctic! I’m actually skiing in the Czech Republic at the moment!

    I’ve never been night skiing but I’m told that it’s an absolute thrill. My teen is dying to do night skiing but I’ve told him he has to wait until he’s 16.
    He wasn’t pleased!!

    • Night skiing is definitely awesome! The sun was rising at 10:30am and setting at around 3pm so most of our skiing was actually done in the dark with floodlights to help illuminate the way down. Very epic experience and now I’m hooked! Accepted a spontaneous last-minute 3-day photo gig in Thailand this week but after that I’m headed right back to the slopes! 😀

      Although I was quite surprised, there were a lot of kids doing the night skiing — many of them were even better than me. Of course they were probably mostly Finnish kids already used to the snow. As one local said to me, “we learn to ski before we learn to walk.” 😀 I guess my point is that if your son is already a good skier, you might not have to wait until he is 16 😉

  2. You’re absolutely right about that Derek.

    We got back just last night and I finally relented that son could go night-skiing as there was a night ski piste not far from our ski-hotel. Only problem, I discovered it only the night before we were to leave, and it wasn’t open! I even offered to take him into “town” instead, but he was too knackered to walk, as public transport is limited in the evening, and the street lights were all switched off for some reason…

    Ah well. At least I tried!

    • Oh no! Well at least you tried Victoria. Other than that, hope that your Northern Finland ski trip exceeded your expectations. It certainly did mine. Now I am in love with Finland and hopelessly addicted to skiing hahaha oh what to do 😀

  3. Most of us are starting to realize the priceless advantages of spending our hard-earned money on things like travel, education and creative activities.

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