“To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen
I have a confession to make, I’m a traveler at heart.
Sometimes I fantasize about wandering the globe with my journal and my camera, staying in Italy a month, off to Australia for half the year then slowly hopping my way around the world. But life has a way of rooting us down. Maybe it’s a family obligation like raising children or caring for a family member. It could be a job, liking what is familiar or simply convenience that keeps us from wandering. Whatever the reason you have for staying in one place, make sure to schedule time away. Time to explore a new city or to simply relax. We all need it — our bodies, minds, and soul. Being away from home feeds our souls. I know that because each time I go, I come back changed for the better. I have a new pearl, a new understanding, a new perspective that enriches my life at home. Did you know that travel also provides a variety of surprising personal and health benefits. Studies show travel leads to a greater learning capacity, increased feeling of happiness and satisfaction, better family relationships, and even decreased risk of heart disease. A nine-year study of 12,000 men found that those who took at least one vacation per year were 30% less likely to die from heart disease. Another study showed individuals who didn’t take a vacation were twice as likely to have a heart attack. Travel is also linked to a lower risk of depression. A 2005 study showed significantly decreased risk of depression among 15,000 women. Travel is a learning experience. The new cultures, cuisines, sights, and sounds provide countless opportunities to experience and learn something new. Just being in another country increases the traveler’s knowledge and intercultural awareness. It’s common knowledge that travel helps to bring people together by building lifelong memories. Couples are strongly and positively affected by trips taken together. More than 75 percent of adults credit travel with improving their interpersonal relationships. Studies show family travel can also significantly reduce behavioral problems and illness in children.
- Step out of your work mode.
A vacation or time off provides time for your body and mind to relax. We live in a work obsessed culture especially here in the US. Somehow we get tricked into thinking that we don’t need down time and if you do think you need it or want to take it we are made to feel badly for it. But we all do. Studies have even shown that taking a vacation makes you a more productive worker. Schedule in that time to go away and relax.
Taking yourself out of the normal day-to-day routine of life allows you to unplug in a way a “stay-cation” doesn’t. When you’re home, there’s always something to do: cleaning, laundry, home repair. On vacation, none of that applies. Someone else will do it all. Let your job be – HAVE FUN!
Being removed from your normal every day life gives you a fresh perspective on life. In the daily grind of life, it’s easy to get caught always looking at the next thing on the to-do list. Stepping out of that allows us to see the bigger picture of our lives, where we are and where we want to go. It gives us a chance to dream, wish, explore and break some habits.
Getting out of the normal routine and into a vacation or holiday space, is an invitation to open up to your own creative mind. Creativity is hard to manufacture on demand. It needs space and time. You will be surprised at how walking along the beach,biking, lying in the sun or hiking a mountain trail can stimulate your creative juices. Problems at home or at work that may be consuming you can begin to uncover some clarity and answers or solutions can manifest when given the time and space to come through.
Reconnect with your inner child. Allow yourself to have fun. Sing or dance or just allow yourself to be playful and silly. You will thank you!