“The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton
Science rarely changes its mind. Humans are made up of 60% water. The Earth is round (unless you’re part of the Flat Earth Society). And travel is good for you.
Yup, that’s right. Travel. Is. Good. For. You. It’s been proven time and time again that getting out of your comfort zone and having a looksie around the world is beneficial for your health.
By now you’re probably up to your neck in #instatravel #wanderlust #traveljunkie hashtags. I get it, I am too. But before you roll your eyes and close this tab to continue looking like you’re super busy at work, hear me out.
That tiny travel bug you keep squishing or swatting away may be preventing you from reaching your full happiness potential.
That’s what you’re after, isn’t it? Happiness? It’s what we all aspire to feel at the end of the day. Then it’s about time you shut up, listen to science, and start booking that getaway.
Do you remember what you unwrapped for Christmas four years ago? No, neither do I. But do I remember that trip to South America ten years ago? I sure do.
Studies have shown that travel is a key ingredient to life because it creates longer-lasting happiness. Material things might make us happy in the moment, but it’s as fleeting as a shooting star.
Most of us search for happiness by succumbing to our desire for material objects- that new pair of lavish shoes or the latest iPhone model. By doing this, we are in fact using our material wealth to attempt to buy happiness. But alas, it doesn’t provide us with long term fulfillment, and within a day or two we are craving the same feeling again.
In essence, one of our greatest skills, the ability to adapt to new things in life, can also be the reason for our unhappiness.
This occurs in every aspect of our lives; for instance, that new Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber song you loved a month ago doesn’t quite hold the same heart jumping feeling anymore does it? Or that “New Recipe” Pret wrap you picked up before work every morning just hasn’t tasted the same since the first week you tried it.
Things come and go, and the memory of that feeling you had is the only aspect that remains. Once the excitement leaves, we don’t just want a memory – we want the next shiny thing put in front of us.
But isn’t travel just another form of buying happiness? In some ways, yes; you are purchasing an experience that will bring you happiness. But happiness from travel is unique in the way that it creates longer-lasting happiness.
A study conducted at the University of Cornell showed that experiential purchases (money spent on doing) tend to provide more enduring happiness than material purchases (money spent on having). The research found that individuals get the same happiness from purchasing something as when they go on a trip.
The fascinating thing though, is that the happiness hormones from experiencing a trip remained almost the same over time, whereas the happiness from a purchase diminishes over a period of time.
Learn Something New
Travel is a form of priceless education that you don’t need to go to school for. It forces us to engage with new surroundings or situations that test us mentally in the best way possible.
Visiting a new place and becoming educated on a new culture and environment slowly adds value to the person you are, helping you grow into a more worldly and experienced individual.
The importance of learning new things lies in the fact that it allows us to become better versions of ourselves. As we learn, we grow. As we grow, we feel more satisfied with life.
By learning something new each day, we open up our lives to new paths of excitement and adventure, making our lives more fulfilling. It’s possible that learning a new bit of information will guide you to making a decision that will totally alter your life for the better.
Relating to Others
Having a constant inflow of knowledge under your belt will also allow you to relate with other people on different levels. Getting a first-hand look into the lives of someone else will help you gain new perspectives and help squash those preconceived notions of different parts of the world.
Online flight search engine Momondo conducted a 2016 global study of how travelling affects trust. The study, titled The Value of Travelling found that 76% of the participants thought that travelling had made them look more positively on differences and diversity. Similarly, 76% said that travelling has given them a more positive view on other cultures in general.
Strengthen Your Relationships (or Build New Ones)
Whether you go at it alone or travel with friends and family, travelling offers the opportunity to connect with people in an entirely new way.
When you’re in a group in a foreign area, you have to learn how to lean on each other for support and comfort. The people you’re travelling with become the people whom you feel most safe with.
You’ll most likely be faced with challenges along the way that will bring you closer together – you miss your flight, you lost your passport, you become violently ill from eating some dodgy street food. Who will be there by your side? Those that really care. This builds a new layer of deep connections that may have not been there before.
When we talk about the benefits of travel for your relationships, we’re not only talking about those relationships with other people. One of the most, if not the most, important relationship is the one with yourself. As the saying goes, how can you begin to love others if you don’t even love yourself?
Travelling alone has a number of amazing benefits that contribute to our overall happiness. It gives us the opportunity to get to know ourselves better, to discover what we like and dislike without the influence of another person. It boosts our confidence and teaches us the invaluable skill of relying on ourselves. Visiting new places forces us to push our limits and broaden our horizons, both physically and metaphorically.
In essence, travelling solo opens new doors and helps you realize how strong of an individual you truly are.
You’re Never Too Old to Travel
When you hear the word ‘traveller’, what sort of person comes to mind? A dread-locked irie hippie with those unmistakable flowy elephant pants from Bali? What about a 90-year old grandma?
There’s a general belief that travelling the world is reserved for the hip and the young but this isn’t the case. Happiness has no age limit. And neither does travelling. Don’t close yourself off to a world of opportunities because you feel you’re “too old for that.” If you set your mind to something, then go out and get it done! Studies have found numerous benefits of travel for seniors, from a reduced risk of heart disease to less stress and chance of depression.
Keep in mind that travel doesn’t have to be a 20-hour flight to Timbuktu. The Oxford Dictionary definition of the word travel is simply “to make a journey.”
Take a 30-minute drive to a new restaurant or park you’ve never been to. Hop on the train and journey down to the coast for an experience you don’t normally have on a day to day basis. Do something out of the ordinary that makes you happy and never let the age factor get in the way. After all, age is just a number.
The Science of Achieving a Goal
Travel doesn’t just happen. It takes planning. Lots and lots of planning. Where are you travelling? Which month is the best time to travel?? Which airline should you take? Who are you going to travel with?
By planning all of these things, you are in essence setting yourself a goal. The research on goal setting is clear – people who set goals are more successful. Goals are a cornerstone of self-growth – they create a roadmap for success.
Choosing a date and booking a flight is the first step to successfully completing a trip. Planning all other details will take time and effort. Take every detail one step at a time and you are heading down the right path to success.
Even if you don’t achieve your goal, and don’t end of going on your planned trip, all is not lost. The mere action of planning a trip can bring you great happiness. In fact, a 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that planning a trip creates even more happiness than the trip itself! The authors of the study interviewed more than 1,500 people, including 974 vacationers, and found that the vacationers felt most happy before their trips. The anticipation of planning a vacation is enough to get the endorphins going, as we naturally feel a boost in happiness as we look forward to the good times ahead.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar
Time’s Running Out
I hate to break it to you, but we’re all going to kick the bucket one day. Ten years, fifty years, thirty minutes – we don’t know how long we have, but we damn well do know that we’ve got to make the most of it while we’re here. So take that trip to a breathtaking island and enjoy yourself!
The touching letter written by a 27-year-old who passed away from cancer went viral for its heart wrenching honest words. Holly Butcher hoped for a longer-lasting life filled with children and grandchildren, but unfortunately, the universe had other plans in store for her. This is a prime example that life is too fragile, and as a whole, we need to stop expecting to wake up happy and healthy each morning.
Holly wrote that each day is “precious” and “unpredictable,” and coming from someone who didn’t have enough of those precious moments, this should strike a chord in all our hearts. We need to start telling ourselves “Hey! Get off the couch, turn off Netflix and go enjoy life!” The best way to do this is by taking a step outside of your comfort zone and experiencing something totally new.
When you say “yes” to travel, you give yourself a chance. A chance to learn. A chance to grow. And a chance to go on an unforgettable adventure. When it comes our time to go, you don’t want to be filled with regret. You want to be filled with immense satisfaction knowing that you have lived your life with a positive attitude. You want to feel pride knowing you have experienced everything you put your mind to.
Our happiness is one of the few things we have control over. When we wake up each day we decide if we will have the “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” attitude or hold the “happy go- lucky” smile on our face. Take the first step in choosing a healthy, happy way to live and make a journey to someplace new!
For a totally unforgettable travel experience that will no doubt bring you great happiness, embark on one of our Dreams Come True travel adventures.