Are you feeling some wanderlust lately? That’s a good thing, and not only because traveling is fun.
Traveling is wonderful in so many ways. In fact, it offers a ton of benefits to our well-being, including spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and professional -- just to name a few.
Sounds too good to be true? Here are several reasons why it’s about time you finally take that vacation you’ve been postponing for way too long.
Traveling is good for the soul
Most dedicated travelers will tell you that traveling is good for the soul. Why? Because they’ve traveled long enough to know better.
Traveling to a far away place regularly takes you out of your comfort zone, exposing you to new sights, sounds, sensations, and experiences. As such, being in a new environment forces you to adapt, creating new opportunities for you to learn new things about yourself.
When you’re out there beholding nature in its most savage beauty or being surrounded by a throng of people who are far different from you, one can’t help feeling small in the grand scheme of things. Strangely enough, that temporary sense of isolation can eventually make you feel a deeper connectedness to yourself, to those around you, and to the entire universe.
Keeps your mind sharp
Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, said that exposing your brain to new environments causes it to grow in capacity.
According to his research, the cognitive stimulation that comes with traveling has been shown to enhance memory and concentration, especially among people with dementia.
While cognitive stimulation isn’t exclusive to travel (you can get it by learning how to play a new instrument, for instance), Nussbaum said that travel is the best method, since it’s like “dropping your brain into a place that’s novel and complex.”
Judging from these findings, it’s fair to say that going to new places on a regular basis is one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp.
Traveling makes you healthy
Traveling requires physical activity and as such creates opportunities for exercise, which of course is beneficial to health and fitness.
The health benefits of traveling are backed by hard science. According to some data acquired by Framingham Heart Study from a study that began in 1948 and spanned over 20 years, women who traveled only every six years or less are eight times more likely to develop a heart disease or suffer a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.
By making travel a lifelong habit, you’ll be engaging yourself in a wide variety of physical activities. You can climb the majestic mountain ranges of Nepal or trek through the Alaskan tundra, or go waterboarding in Guantanamo Bay. Of course, just walking around while enjoying the sights of your destination is more than enough to give you a solid workout.
Traveling can benefit your career
This will probably surprise many, but traveling can also benefit your professional career in more ways than one, and that’s not even counting the jobs where travel is often required.
Firstly, traveling to new places forces you to think outside the box. By opening yourself to new cultures, you learn to see things from a different cultural context, sparking new insights that may prove beneficial to the work that you do.
Traveling also gives your mind the perfect opportunity to reset itself, reinvigorating you for the tasks ahead as soon as you get back to work. Traveling, after all, is the best methods to relieve stress.
Granted, a lot of professionals are not able to travel as much as they want to due to financial restrictions. Some are just too busy to even bother.
That said, don’t feel guilty about indulging yourself now and then. Traveling, after all, is not just a worthy investment, it can also enrich your life in so many ways.
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