It’s been a tough year for travel, and given pandemic concerns, it’s not likely to bounce back anytime soon. Many countries have border restrictions in place preventing those from foreign countries from entering. Even several states in the U.S. require quarantines upon arrival if proof that one doesn’t have COVID is lacking. But this has a bigger impact on the human psyche than you may realize. In a recent survey, 95 percent of Americans are expressing how much they miss travel. Likewise, two-thirds plan on making traveling a priority once restrictions are lifted. All of this highlights the many health benefits of travel that often go unnoticed.
Travel offers us a unique opportunity to escape, make new connections, and explore different cultures. But the importance of travel extends well past these areas. The health benefits of travel affect us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Likewise, they affect our social wellbeing as well. It’s therefore no wonder that many of us are grieving the loss of travel that the pandemic has imposed. A nomadic wanderlust drive exists within us all, and for good reason. Travel is one of the most unique human experiences, and it’s integral in our pursuit to be our boldest self.
The Holistic Health Benefits of Travel
The importance of travel to our wellbeing spans all aspects of health. In fact, it’s rather amazing to consider all the health benefits of travel that exist. The following describes how travel can enhance wellness in a variety of ways. Taken together, you can appreciate just how impactful travel is on our state of being. Thus, it’s not surprising why so many Americans cannot wait to travel abroad once again.
- Travel Is Intellectually Stimulating – When we travel abroad, we are confronted with a number of challenges. New languages, new cultures, and new landscapes require our attention. In the process, we improve our problem-solving abilities and become more mentally adaptable. Thus, one of the major health benefits of travel relates to our cognitive abilities. In other words, traveling is a great way to keep your mind active and well.
- Travel Promotes Diversity Thinking – In addition to cognitive challenges, travel also exposes us to new cultures and ways of living. The importance of travel in this regard cannot be overstated. With greater diverse experiences, we become more inclusive in our approach to others. Likewise, this helps us accept change and become more dynamic. Both of these health benefits promote greater resilience in time.
- Travel Is Spiritually Liberating – For most people, the liberating feeling one gets when traveling isn’t any big secret. The opportunity to explore new areas is both exciting and deeply gratifying to our soul. In addition, many use travel as an escape to explore their spirituality. Meditation retreats, yoga experiences, and spiritual journeys are common getaways. Therefore, this is one of the commonly appreciated holistic health benefits of travel.
- Travel Boosts Self-Confidence – The importance of travel for self-esteem and confidence is also readily appreciated. When traveling to new regions and cultures, you must overcome fears and anxieties at times. As these are successfully accomplished, you naturally gain a stronger sense of pride and self-worth. This is especially true for those engaging in solo travel. As a result, you can develop greater emotional resilience in the process as well.
- Travel Expands Your Perspective – When we stay in the same place and stick to the same schedule, we can become narrow-minded. The lack of exposure to new experiences prevents us from seeing things from different angles. Thus, one of the important health benefits of travel relates to its ability to expand our perspectives. New experiences invite new points of view. As a result, we become better able to solve problems and identify unique solutions.
- Travel Invites New Connections – For many people, the importance of travel involves the potential for new social connections and relationships. As we go through our normal routines, we often run into the same people over and over. But travel experiences allow us to connect with new people who live different lifestyles. As a result, our social network expands, and this promotes greater social and emotional wellness in the process.
- Travel Is a Great Stress Relief – Especially this year with the coronavirus, everyone’s feeling a bit of pandemic stress. But even in good times, the regular routine can wear a person down. Work demands, raising a family, and other responsibilities can become confining over time. Thus, one of the health benefits of travel relates to the ability to escape these stresses and regroup. In fact, research supports that travel can reduce depression and anxiety in some individuals.
- Travel Enhances Creativity – Notably, the importance of travel to diversity thinking and a broader perspective has been described. But these benefits also contribute to enhanced creativity as well. Likewise, simply escaping your normal routine provides some distance between you and everyday problems. Each of these aspects of travel allows you to consider novel approaches that you may not have previously considered. And the exposure to new experiences further invites creativity as well.
Embracing Travel for Your Overall Health
During these unusual times, it’s easy to feel shame or guilt when traveling. Taking unnecessary risks of exposure to COVID can trigger such feelings. Some choose not to travel at all while others refrain from sharing their trip with others. While precautions should certainly be taken, there are opportunities to still enjoy some safe travel experiences. The health benefits of travel support investing in these experiences especially during stressful times. The importance of travel to your holistic well-being is worth noting. Combined with proper diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle factors, travel can further enhance overall wellness. So, rather than avoiding travel, it’s important to embrace it and plan your next escape. Being your absolute best self thrives in these types of experiences.
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