Surprising benefits of travel!

Summer means vacation and travel for many of us.  It can be a time to relax, unwind, and connect with friends and family.  In addition, adventures away can offer so much more than that.  There are some surprising benefits of travel!

Some key benefits of travel may surprise you. Getting away, going abroad, and stepping out of your normal routines can help improve your life in significant ways.

Travel can help you:

  • Improve Wellness – both physically and mentally
  • Increase Empathy
  • Increase Creativity

Let’s explore each of these benefits individually

Improve Wellness – both physically and mentally

My trips abroad often leave me feeling rejuvenated and inspired, less stressed and more grounded. I call it my “happy halo”. Well, there is scientific evidence to demonstrate the positive impact of your adventures abroad. Even the anticipation of travel provides a sense of excitement and satisfaction. An NBCnews.com article states, “Traveling the world isn’t just fun and exciting; there’s ample research to suggest it’s highly beneficial for your physical, mental, and emotional health as well.” (1).

“Traveling the world isn’t just fun and exciting; there’s ample research to suggest it’s highly beneficial for your physical, mental, and emotional health as well.”

While flight connections, foreign languages, and new currencies can cause some uneasiness. Travel has been found to reduce stress. One study indicates that travelers share they feel more rested, in a better mood, and less anxious.

Terry Randolph, a licensed professional counselor and chief program officer at Pyx Health, concurs stating that “Traveling contributes to a happier and more fulfilled life, and it does more for our minds than simply giving us a break” (2)

Increase Empathy

Merriam-Webster defines empathy as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another. (3)

Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another
– Merriam-Webster

Travel can be exhilarating, inspiring, and humbling. I always try to learn some basic phrases in the local language where I’ll be traveling. Attempting to get directions, order food, or ask a question in the local language can be humbling at the least…and at the same time, it demonstrates respect and courtesy to the local people you are talking with.

It also helps me relate to how difficult it is for others to speak English when it is not their 1st language. That simple interaction often results in laughter, smiles, and an empathic connection. This is one of many ways to create connection and understanding while traveling.

Flourish and Increase Creativity

 Adventures away from home also offer chances to see and do new things… and have simply have fun.  As adults, it seems we sometimes forget how to play in our busy lives.  A recent article in Fast Company shares that five activities flourishing individuals do more of and these things are: helping others, learning something new, socializing, and playing. (4) Travel at its’ best encompasses all five!

People who travel are often creatively inspired.  Flourishing sounds pretty amazing to me…wouldn’t you agree?

In the event you need convincing, I hope this inspired you and informed you about the significant benefits of travel. This Louis L’Amour quote expresses it beautifully, “The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.  Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for.”  Savor and enjoy!

“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.  Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for.”

Sources referenced:

(1) 5 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Traveling Abroad, NBC.com, by Larry Alton

(2) How Travel Can Help Us Process Grief, Trauma, and Anxiety, AFAR.com, by Michelle Baran

(3) Merriam-Webster: Empathy definition

(4) 5 Habits of People Who Are Flourishing, Fast Company, by Next Big Idea Club

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