What inspired this article
I have always loved travel but have not always prioritized it in my life. I guess, from the financial perspective, I always have viewed it as a “luxury item” rather than a “necessity”. Today I want to challenge this thinking.
I have recently returned from a short trip that really revived me. This trip involved spending time in Venice, Trieste and Ljubiana.
Just to give some background, before going on this trip, I had been feeling a little low. I lacked excitement in my life. I felt like I needed to make changes in my life but was not able to. In a few ways, I felt that I was stuck in a rut, but not able to get out.
The problem was I had let this feeling overwhelm my mental thinking. What this meant was that whenever some unexpected enjoyable situation or any type of opportunity would come up, I was not in the right mindset to enjoy or take advantage of that.
When a good friend of mine approached me about a trip, I decided the timing was right and jumped on that. We decided on Trieste – had been on my list for a long time since my grandmother had been born here.
I had been told it was a place that you could almost see in 1 day so we decided to pack in Jlubiana (great-grandparents born here!) and also Venice (great-grandparents on honeymoon here!) in the 5 days also.
The trip was magical for me in terms of my wellbeing. Of course the tracking down family roots made it extra special but I came home with so much more energy. I decided that travel should be made more of a priority in my life.
Below, I want to list out the benefits of travelling abroad that I can see main (these are mostly psychological benefits of travel). The purpose of this is to convince you that you should revamp your budget in order to prioritize travel more in your life.
Psychological benefits of travelling
1. An increase of mindful moments to recharge you
It can be the case that during travel, you can encounter a series of highly enjoyable moments. I define these as happy moments. Funnily enough, for me, these tend to quite often center around food!
Prior research and planning can help increase chances of these enjoyable moments, but not always required.
• I can define my first as a stop off at a little cosy bar in Venice. We had had a very early 5am morning flight with a delay of 1.5 hours in Frankfurt Airport and had spent the entire day walking all around Venice. Lets just say we were a little tired.
So I was happy with my spritz before dinner in this cosy bar. The dog lying on the floor in the bar beside me only heightened the joy of my experience!
• The next moment was thanks to a little prior planning. Cannaregio was a coffee shop that was a little off the beaten track, got raving reviews, and appeared to be frequented by locals. Sitting in the sun with my espresso overlooking the venetian canal for me was extra special.
• Leaving our minimalist contemporary apartment in Trieste for the evening and walking through the town for the first time was a happy moment for me. I was overwhelmed with excitement and appreciation of every sight around me. From the architecture to the locals, the atmosphere was buzzing in this sleepy town as people began to wind down for Friday evening.
• Food again! Our first meal in Trieste was a happy moment! Among locals, and no access to English menus, our kind waiter helped us to choose the most “typical” Trieste dishes on the menu and also spent a lot of time with us giving us his recommendations for our trip.
• Breakfast the following morning was rather special! Café de Specchi in the main Piazza was a favourite of my grandmother. Sitting outside in the sun, with the church bells ringing, with my cappuccino and chocolate croissant was a happy moment!
2. A jump outside your life to figure out the changes that you need to move ahead
There is no guarantee that a trip will give you all the answers that you are looking for. But what I did find, was that to jump “out” of your life can propel you in the right direction.
Let’s face it. Sometimes you can be so caught up in running with your routine that you do not realise that are continuously slamming yourself against a wall. Imagine a fly consistently flying into a window trying to get out into the open. Unless the fly expands his sense of reality by travelling to another part of the house, he will never ever get beyond that window.
The point is that by travelling you are expanding your mind. By expanding your mind you are more likely to advance on your challenges.
3. A boost of creativity for your work
This is particularly important if you are in creative profession or any type of job that requires out of the box thinking. Sometimes your best ideas come from embracing new experiences.
For the same reason, as you are embracing new situations, places and cultures, I had the realization on this trip that travel could “expand my mind” in this way and potentially boost my output.
Check out this article for more reasons on why top entrepreneurs prioritize taking a holiday in their effort to maximize results.
4. A Sense of freedom & adventure like nothing else
For the first time in a long time, I felt that I was really “living”. There is nothing like spontaneously jumping on a train to a new city and to explore that new place to get this sense of freedom and adventure. That is why I believe, although planning ahead can be beneficial, sometimes a bit of spontaneity is important on a trip.
5. A sense of empowerment in terms of making things happen in your life
Before I went on the trip I was in re-active mode. Life was happening to me. Going on the trip involved making a decision and the daily planning and series of successful happy experiences gave me a revived confidence.
I believe that travel can re-inforce the fact that you are in fact making things happen in your life. That you can in fact proactively make things happen. Sounds simplistic but I believe that sometimes we forget.
6. A better appreciation for your home when you return
Finally, my experience of my life so far goes like this. Whenever I go for any significant amount of time of living at home and not travelling, I get critical of my country.
When I have lived in a foreign country for a good length of time or when I have been in a phase of continuous travel I have a much better appreciation of the great things that my country has to offer.
Health benefits of travelling
There are also major health benefits of travelling. The main one that I took note of on my trip was that travelling must be an incredible workout for the brain.
1. An incredible workout for the brain
In the many parts of my life that do not involve focus and concentration, I do operate in sleepy mode. Let’s face it though, many of us do.
When it comes to much of our daily routines we do not need much brain power to operate. We are hopping on the bus or in the car to go to the same places, cleaning our houses, doing our washing, going to the gym, doing the shopping, and watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians”.
When you are travelling around, you are researching options, planning ahead, embracing new situations and meeting new people. Or at least doing some of these. In this way, the benefits of travelling alone may be even more pronounced.
The US Travel Association found that travellers have increased brain function and reaction time from the mental stimulation involved in planning & living new experiences.
2. Cardiovascular benefits
There have been many studies to prove this.
One example of a study is that men at risk for heart disease who did not take a holiday for five consecutive years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least a week off each year.
3. Prolongs life
Taking regular holidays from work could prolong life – a 40-year study published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging has proven.
The study was called “Helsinki Businessmen Study” and it involved 1222 middle-aged male executives.
The conclusion of this study was that the longer the holiday time, the longer the life. Shorter vacations were associated with excess deaths. Men who took three weeks or less annual vacation had a 37 per cent greater chance of dying in 1974 to 2004 than those who took more than three weeks.
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