Whether you’re talking about the vast surface of the overworld or the darkest depths of the nether your Minecraft experience is going to involve a good deal of exploring. Of course the why and the how can vary and are completely up to you, but there are a few reasons and methods worth exploring (pun intended).
There are of course a couple different reasons to go exploring in Minecraft. The primary reason is for the purpose of acquiring exotic resources not found near your home. Some resources are found only in certain biomes so it’s not surprising that you’d need to do some exploring to find certain types of resources. What you need will of course depends entirely upon what kind of biome you live in and what’s nearest to you. For instance I had to go exploring to locate pumpkins, jungle tree saplings, spruce saplings, snow, cocoa beans, and cactus. I didn’t need to go anywhere however for oak, or birch, and have never had a problem finding slimes as I’m based very near a number of small island swamps.
The second reason is for the sense of adventure. While building your base and gathering resources is all well and good, the point of building the cool equipment and enchanting it all up and down is so that you can use it to explore, survive, and eventually conquer your world. Maybe you’re looking to do some mob hunting or perhaps you’re trying to expand into a new area and need to scope it out. Perhaps you’re looking for new villages to trade with, or perhaps you’re just trying to add more detail to your map. Whatever the reason there’s no denying that exploring is both exciting and fun.
How to explore
Technically all you really need is the will to go see what else is out there, however if you intend to last for any significant amount of time, there are a few things you’ll probably want to bring along with you. While you could try to survive off the land, you’ve already done that, when you started the game so why not use the things you’ve worked for? Since you’ll likely be spending some nights away from home you’ll want to make sure you have a decent set of armor and a weapon or two to fend off the angry mobs. You may also wish to bring a stack or two of building material to make basic shelters for the night. I’d recommend wood as it’s easy to get lots of it and has many uses (making new swords/bows, making torches) while out and about. You’ll also want to bring a workbench and a stack of torches so you can leave a path home if you need to and you can make more equipment on the go. Jack’O lanterns are great for this as the face will always face toward the player when placed. This can be used to indicate what direction to go to get home if you’re not traveling in a straight line and can be placed underwater as well. Finally you’ll want to be sure you bring one or two stacks of consumable materials (food and arrows primarily) so that you don’t run out. Other options include a compass or a map to help find your way around, extra material for making tools/weapons (stone or iron), and even a mount or some potions to speed your progress and possibly reduce your food consumption rate somewhat.
Exploring is a vital part of any game of Minecraft and one you’ll likely have to do if you’ve not tried already. Just be sure to know what you’re looking for and be prepared for a long journey so that you can make it back to your N3rd C0rn3r.