The daily grind, the 9 to 5, endless essays, or constant client calls…
Whatever your way of life—-whether you’re a mom trying to meet ends meet or a student with a huge dissertation to complete—chances are as an American, you spend far more hours working than you do in self care let alone in play. Countless studies have been shown throughout the world to demonstrate the importance of relaxation in our daily experiences. Yet, as busy Americans, likely relaxation is something that takes place in front of Netflix every evening—if you’re not so exhausted that you fall asleep.
Most everyone knows that relaxation is a prime way to boost mental health and overall happiness. Countless resources are devoted to finding this relaxation in our everyday lives. Sometimes though we just need to get away.
There are several psychological benefits to traveling—whether it’s a simple day trip to the city or going international.
Travel is not only proven to boost happiness in patients with depression, but travel also has a way of making us look outside of ourselves for a while. This newfound perspective provides release, and with that release comes a whole host of extraordinary experiences.
Travel to another culture—even within your own country—offers a newfound perspective on the world around you. By experiencing new challenges through travel delays or simply having conversation with people who think very differently than yourself, travel confronts you with situations that allow the unique opportunity to take on a new perspective.
A train delay when you are running late for a meeting has the power to ruin your entire day—but only if you let it. A train delay in travel means you eat dinner a little later. It means you get to that museum tomorrow and you’ll sightsee tonight instead. It means you get to experience the people that are surrounding you right now in a way that you would never have noticed had electrical systems been working properly.
Not only does this changed perspective allow you to see just how small your problems back home really are, but you also can carry this relaxed persona back home with you. You don’t even have to fit it into your suitcase.
Since travel often offers you a new perspective, travel also holds the power to completely reinvigorate your life. Now that your problems look so much smaller and the weight is slinking off your shoulders, your priorities begin to subconsciously sort themselves out. Your focus comes back to the present reality, and you begin to remember the things that are really important in your life.
Work has a tendency to overtake our thought processes. While working is incredibly important for our mental health as well—we all like to feel useful, important, and secure—when work becomes our default mode of thought, unhealthy levels of stress kick in. We often lose sight of the people and goals we are working for just for the sake of continuing to work.
Travel takes us outside of our work bubble and allows us to remember what really matters in life through fun experiences and new people. This process often fills us with reinvigorated passion to pursue our goals and more deeply love the people in our lives.
Travel also has a way of reinstating the inner child. Children have an insatiable love for life and new experiences. They have a resilience to them. When a child topples, the first thing they do is climb back up and start toddling around again. Travel—talking to complete strangers, experiencing crazy foods, cultures, and events that we would never do in our normal wound up state—is freeing beyond words. And this freedom can be found in several different types of travel. Whether you’re taking luxury Bermuda cruises or zip lining through South America, a range of experiences will serve to awaken your inner child.
Rediscovering this inner child and their zeal for living often leads way to one last important aspect of travel: the reinvention of self.
No matter your age, everyone comes to a point in their lives where they no longer recognize themselves—both in positive and negative connotations. 20-year-olds are notorious for trying to find themselves, but sometimes people find themselves long before they are 20 and “lose” themselves around middle age.
Travel offers us the chance to look at ourselves through fresh eyes. Experience is our mirror for understanding the world, but it is also our mirror for understanding ourselves. How do we react to what we experience? Why? Do we believe it is good or bad? Do we want to change? What do we want to change and how? What needs to stay the same? Who are we now and who do we want to be?
These questions become the guideline by which we reshape our lives. The freedom we feel when we travel brings us to a place in life where we want to be free all the time—not just when we’re on the road. Travel allows us to see our true desires in life and really begin to make steps towards achieving them. By leaving our inhibitions behind—even if just for two weeks—we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves.
Old habits die hard, but the firm decision to change by immediately implementing new habits is what kills them.
Take the passion you discover as you travel and make some actionable changes in the places you wish to grow. Carry this change with you as you transition back into your everyday routine. The freedom of travel does not have to end when you go home; the vacation is only the beginning.
Even though the destination is wonderful, the joy of traveling is always in the journey. So journey towards a more passionate life by actively nurturing the you you discovered on vacation. Your reinvention doesn’t have to stay in Bermuda. You—all of you—can come home new. Choose peace as you travel and choose peace as you live.
Every single moment. Every single day.