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Four Benefits of Travel

Whether you are a student in college, a Millennial in the workforce, or even a new retiree, we all experience the relentless whirlwind of responsibilities, commitments, and deadlines. One of my favorite things to hear from recent retirees is that they are more busy than when they were working! If you aren't juggling the demands of work, then maybe it's family or social obligations, or even personal aspirations. Regardless of your stage of life,  we all experience the reality of living a " busy life". What I am writing about in this blog is something that I believe can help cure or maybe offer temporary relief from that overwhelming feeling of "being busy"....and that's TRAVEL! While I can't promise that your busy life will go away (if adulting has taught me anything, it's this), my hope is that this blog inspires you to travel or reconfirm the reasons why you should. 

1. Broadening Horizons

One of the most evident benefits of travel is the expansion of our horizons. Stepping outside of our comfort zones and familiar surroundings allows us to encounter new perspectives, customs, and lifestyles. Travel exposes us to different ways of life that may make us more grateful for what we do have. The beauty of different scenery, the architecture of foreign cities, and the stories of the people we meet can all contribute to a newfound sense of creativity that can be applied to various aspects of life.

2. Personal Growth

Travel presents a unique opportunity for personal growth. Whether navigating unfamiliar territories, interacting with locals, or facing unexpected challenges, each experience becomes a valuable life lesson. When you are a traveler, you are often forced to adapt and problem-solve, whether it's getting a flight delayed, losing luggage, booking the wrong location, or just having different expectations of your travel plans, travel is not always easy. Recently, my friend and I met up in Austin, Texas, with our old college roommate, and it turns out there were no bed arrangements. I ended up sharing a bean bag with a dog for approximately 4 days of sleep. However, I returned home very thankful for my own bed, and also with the memories of us roughing it for a few days just like in the old days. Oftentimes you hear people say, " I need a vacation from my vacation," and this was for sure one of those times!  Every trip has moments of complete derailment, to say the least, but it usually creates an awesome story. The point is that travel offers the opportunity to personally grow and get out of your bubble, whether in a good or bad way at times.

3. Stress Reduction and Improved Well-being

Leaving the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind and getting a change of scenery has a profound impact on our well-being. Travel allows us to disconnect from work-related stress, rejuvenate our minds, and reduce anxiety. In 2018, AARP conducted a study about the health benefits of vacations.[1] The most interesting part of their research was not necessarily the many benefits that travelers experience, but rather the benefits that occur during all stages of travel, before, during, and after their vacation.  Some of the key findings from their research:[2]

73% of travelers indicate they experience health benefits from vacation

Three most common POST TRIP health benefits travelers experienced: 

  1. 51% — Better sleep (51 percent)
  2. 50% — More energy (50 percent)
  3. 46% — Increased productivity (46 percent).

Health benefits DURING a trip: 

  1. 54% — Improved emotional well-being
  2. 52% — Connection with loved ones
  3. 35% — Amount of energy
  4. 34% — Intellectual curiosity
  5. 30% — Mental clarity

4. Strengthening Relationships

Saving the best point for last is about strengthening relationships. Traveling with family or friends can foster stronger bonds and create lasting memories. Shared experiences in new places deepen relationships and create opportunities for quality time together. Even if you are sleeping in a bean bag with a dog, it's a memory I will never forget with my best friends by my side! Jointly navigating the challenges and joys of travel creates a unique camaraderie that can be remembered long after the journey has ended. Additionally, meeting new people while traveling can lead to lifelong friendships and professional connections.

In conclusion, don't let life's busyness or uncertainties hold you back; seize the opportunity to go on a trip and embark on a new journey or experience. From broadening horizons, personal growth, stress reduction, and strengthening relationships, travel helps us all cope with the increasing frenzy of our daily lives and seek peace in understanding how to find balance amidst the chaos! So, the next time you plan a trip, remember that not only will you create wonderful memories, but you will also be investing in your overall health and well-being. Bon voyage! 

 ~ Claire Olmstead

[1] https://www.aarp.org/pri/topics/social-leisure/travel/travel-health-outcomes/ 
[2] https://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/stats-73-gain-health-benefits-from-a-vacation