Everyone keeps saying how important it is to travel. So what's all this fuss about? Why do people travel and love travelling?
More importantly: why should we travel more?
The benefits of traveling are not just a one-time thing: traveling changes you physically and psychologically. Having little time or money isn't a valid excuse. You can fly for cheap very easily. If you have a full-time job and a family, you can still travel on the weekends or holidays, even with a baby.
Here are some of the main benefits of traveling. And I'm sure that once you get started, you'll find some more yourself!
1. Traveling Improves Your Health
From cutting down on stress, to lowering your chances of developing a heart disease, the health benefits of traveling are huge. You may stay sitting on a chair all day long at the workplace: including some walking to your trip is sure to make your body feel better. For some people, wandering abroad is even a cure for depression and anxiety. Of course, it's not a foolproof cure, but it might help you feel better, both physically and psychologically.
Traveling more is likely to have a tremendous impact on your mental well-being, especially if you're no used to going out of your comfort zone. Trust me: travel more and your doctor will be happy. Be sure to get in touch with your physician, they might recommend some medication to accompany you in your travels, especially if you're heading to regions of the globe with potentially dangerous diseases.
2. Traveling Lets You Disconnect From Your Daily Life
This is closely related to my previous point. We tend to get so caught up in our daily lives that sometimes, by simply sticking around, we may do ourselves more harm
than good. Your boss is taking over your life? Kids are driving you mad? Your parents are trying to make you live the life they want? How long do you think you can handle this pressure before you burst and everything falls apart?
Sometimes it is best to take a step back, take a deep breath and take go that Tower Bridge selfie. In all seriousness, travel is not a bad option - it is the most natural way of inducing the feeling you miss someone or that you are missed. The trick is to leave with a bit of preparation to avoid making a mistake during your journey. Plus, if you're flying, you better start thinking about booking your tickets sooner than later.
3. Traveling Makes You Smarter
Get used to picking up new words in a different language every time you travel and you will see improvements in your brain capacities, as Dan Roitman wrote in the Huffington Post. If only this, start getting familiar with travel jargon.
Even more than "just" languages, traveling helps you learn about yourself. You might run into challenging situations where you need to be resourceful and think differently. I'm sure that you will develop a new set of skills that you didn't suspect you had within you.
4. Traveling Improves Your Understanding Of Other Cultures
Why we travel may differ from one person to another, but people travelling always develop empathy and a deeper understanding of other cultures.
Being more understanding and tolerant about a culture different than ours is part of being smarter, but I consider it as a benefits of traveling in itself. There is a quote by Saint Augustine, which goes “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page”. You could think of it this way: if you read what's in the news or watch the news on TV and don't question it, you're missing on a ton of information. You might think that it makes you smarter and more aware of the world, but it's the exact opposite: it narrows your mind to a unique and biased perspective.
Sure, you probably feel comfortable where you are, but that is just a fraction of the world! If you are a student, take advantage of programs such as Erasmus to get to know more people, experience and understand their culture. Dare traveling to regions you have a skeptical opinion about. I bet that you will change your mind and realize that everything is not so bad abroad.