For your daily dose of travel inspiration, I’ve gathered up some of my favorite TED talks that have inspired me to travel and live a better life.

Today in this divided world, travel couldn’t be more important. There’s nothing better than travel to get past the prejudice and lies that are too often propagated about the people of this great planet.

These TED talks will challenge your definition of travel, nationality, culture, and leave you wanting to be a better person.

Think about what travel means to you and challenge yourself to the following questions now, and then again after you listen to these talks.

  • Why is travel important?
  • How would you define successful travel?
  • How would you define nationality?
  • How does fear play a role in your travel?
  • Do you think you will regret not traveling more?

The Value Of Travel

I have never been a big fan of Rick Steves. For some reason his shows just never jived with me. I didn’t think I would like his TED talk but boy was I wrong.

“Travel wallops my ethnocentricity” Rick Steves

His talk resonated with me on why travel is so important. He talks about the role that fear plays in travel and how “fear is to me, for people who don’t get out very much.”

He goes on to talk about how the media perpetuates fear and ethnocentricity and why travel is essential to developing a true understanding of people and culture.

Where Is Home?

I really enjoyed Pico Iyer and how he ponders the questions, where is home? He talks about how we define our ethnicity and where we call home.

He points out how this isn’t always as simple as you might think and he goes on to conclude, “Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going.”

That statement really resonated with me and I love its optimism. His story is simple yet inspiring. He challenges you to think of home as more a state of mind than a physical place.

“One is reminded, at a level deeper than all words, how making a living and making a life sometimes point in opposite directions.” – Pico Iyer

Travel More And Buy Less

Less than 10% of Americans will leave the continent in a given year. He attributes this to three things, work, money, and fear.

He dives into these three barriers and how they came to be. And more importantly how to overcome them.

He goes on to describe how travel is the ultimate truth teller and stereotype killer.

Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m a local

Taiye Selasi further challenges the question of where we are from. She discusses what makes us “local.”

“To me, a country — this thing that could be born, die, expand, contract — hardly seemed the basis for understanding a human being.”

For More Tolerance…We Need More Tourism?

After his brother was murdered he describes his journey and how he broke through the walls of anger, hatred, and ignorance that separate us all.

He has dedicated his life to bringing down the walls that separate people. He talks about how tourism is the best and most sustainable way to do this.

The Danger Of A Single Story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. She warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

What Does It Mean To Be A Citizen Of The World?

I’ve always struggled with how we label each other different races which perpetuates various stereotypes. Aren’t we all people of one common planet? Am I American because I was born in America or am German because that is the majority of my ancestry?

At what point can we define citizenship based on a bigger picture or perhaps with what WE identify with and not what we are told to be.

A global citizen is someone who self-identifies first and foremost not as a member of a state, a tribe or a nation, but as a member of the human race and someone who is prepared to act on that belief, to tackle our world’s greatest challenges.

Hugh Evans stresses the importance of global citizens and how they possess the solutions to the worlds greatest challenges.

Open Road, Open Life

“Real travel is when you take to the open road and you except everything that comes your way. Be it thrilling, joyful, difficult, or depressing.” — Andrew Evans

Andrew describes his journey by bus from Washington DC to South American on his way to Antarctica.

Learn To Travel, Travel To Learn

Robin Esrock’s journey started with a scooter accident that pushed him towards his life of travel. His journey of quitting his job and traveling the world pioneered what we call today, the digital nomad.

A Glimpse Of Life On The Road

As a young girl, photojournalist and TED Fellow Kitra Cahana dreamed about running away from home to live freely on the road. Now as an adult and self-proclaimed vagabond, she follows modern nomads into their homes — boxcars, bus stops, parking lots, rest stop bathrooms — giving a glimpse into a culture on the margins.

Well I hope these talks have challenged you in how you think about travel and your important role on this great planet.

Take a minute and re-visit the questions above and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Happy travels!

Fuel your wanderlust with these inspirational travel TED talks.  These talks will challenge how you define travel, culture, nationality, and most importantly inspire you to be a better person.