Everyone loves to go on a vacation. Who doesn’t want time away from work and responsibilities, just relaxing and soaking in the sun. But does traveling go a step further and make us truly more content with our life? I certainly believe so, and have experienced this effect first hand. Here are my 6 reasons travel makes you happy.
1. Challenges us to get out of our comfort zone.
Nothing boosts self confidence and fosters inner strength like travel. Regardless of where you go, challenges will be encountered in all forms. Whether you are trying to communicate in a different language or simply find your missing bags, those moments are pushing you out of your comfort zone and into the unfamiliar. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
Those are the moments we grow, and from that growth we gain a sense of incredible self-worth which in turn makes us happy. Joyful even. Happiness might not be immediate, especially if you are still wearing the same underwear as the day you arrive, but it will come. Feeling will be sustained, not fleeting.
2. Experiences bring more happiness than possessions.
This could not be more true. As Americans, we are a very consumer focused people but the secret to being happy isn’t within our stuff. Happiness comes from our experiences that we create, connections that we make and memories that we keep. As a parent, I find it hard not to give in to requests for cute toys and pretty dresses. I constantly have to remind myself that toys break and clothes wear out, but a day together exploring gets filed away forever.
When I look at an expense, I equate that to how many plane tickets to Italy could a buy. I drive a 13 year old Toyota (lovingly called the shit mobile) because I would rather DO a million other things than DRIVE a nice new car.
Studies show that people who spend their money on travel and experiences really are more happy, even though travel is a brief moment in time and tangible material objects can last for an extended amount of time.
3. Detox from social media.
My 14 year old daughter thinks I am the worst mom on the planet because she has to wait until she is 16 to get a smart phone. When her friends come over for the night, everyone checks their phones upstairs with me. I do this because social media is addictive and it detracts from moments of connection with other people. I’m no saint, I’m guilty too.
Traveling forces you off your screens and makes you interact with the world around you. Aside from photos and quick updates in the evening when I have WiFi, I’m fully engaged with the world and I love it. Travel detox makes you aware of how much we are missing back home; conversations, sunsets and simple downtime to daydream. Less screen time also means less exposure to media that brings us down, makes us feel insufficient and lacking. No more comparing to others on social media and feeling like we are falling short. You don’t have time for jealously or a pity party on the road.
4. Learning makes our brains more active.
Travel stimulates us on several levels, but one of the most exciting ways is what it does to our brains. When we are challenged, are brains kick into overtime and that activity increases our level of happiness.
There is a science behind the happiness. As humans, we have a natural desire to learn. Our brains like to solve puzzles and to work things out, whether that is a new language or a cooking class. When our brains are focused and highly engaged cognitively on a task, and we figure things out a chemical called dopamine is released. Boom. Happy.
5. Breaking away from your routine.
I love change, but I realize not everyone does. Change can be a hard thing to do and can cause anxiety. My manta is if it scares you, you’re doing it right and that is what I tell everyone. While your routine is safe and reliable, it could be the source of the slow death of your personal happiness.
Traveling is the easiest way to turn routines on their head, and you don’t need to go book a trip deep into the Amazon to shake things up. Simple steps work as well. Start exploring the area around your home town on the weekends, leave early before you are tempted by the usual weekend routine. Even easy moments, like taking your breakfast and coffee outside while the sun rises, will give you bursts of happiness.
6. Appreciate who and what you have in your life.
Nothing makes you more cognizant of what matters in life like traveling. Being gone, exploring the world is amazing but it also helps to bring perspective back into your life. Suddenly, your parents aren’t so dull and that coffee shop really is comforting. The reality of good health, a safe home and loving people in your life starts to sink in as you encounter situations that are often the opposite.
Until I traveled and saw poverty first in front of my eyes, I didn’t truly understand what a great life I had. Not until I held children starving for love did I realize my parents weren’t half bad after all. Travel changed me, made me see the big picture and appreciate what I had. That appreciation made me joyful, pushing out resentment towards or longing for what I didn’t have.
Happiness can be gained in so many ways, but the happiness you take in with travel is a deeper and truer feeling; a contentment. The memories, feelings and experiences are stored away forever in our memories; we can tap into them at any time and any moment. That kind of happy is priceless and worth the ticket.
Who we are:
Once in a Lifetime Travel is a passionately run company focused on mindful and fearless travel through authentic experiences and connections. We feature small, fully
guided group tours to Italy for women
Italian travel consultant
services feature focused itinerary reviews and detailed
Italy travel planning.
Go Travel, and Travel Fearless.
Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel
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