Have you ever watched Rick Steves on PBS? Rick Steves gets my wife, Deb, and I excited about our next trip every time we watch his show. Mr. Steves also has a website with abundant travel information online. Deb and I love to travel as a gift to ourselves, but I never totally realized the benefits of travel until researching this article.
A randomized controlled trial conducted by Austrian researchers and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that one of the many great travel benefits is that it can reduce stress levels and anxiety. The researchers found that even just one short-term vacation, three days in length, “independent of the mode, has large, positive and immediate effects on perceived stress, recovery, strain and well-being.”
Furthermore, the beneficial effects last quite a while after you return home. “The effects can still be detected at 30 days (recovery) and 45 days (well-being and strain) post-vacation.”
According to a study by Amit Kumar, Matthew A. Killingsworth and Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University, money spent on doing something (called “experiential purchases”) will leave you with a longer-lasting sense of happiness than money spent on having something (called “material purchases”). The study says that “waiting for experiences tends to be more positive than waiting for possessions.”
When you visit a new place, meet new people, and learn about a new culture, whether through group travel or when traveling solo, the benefit to your life is immense, but it also benefits your friends, family and other loved ones. Not only will you get to experience new things, but you’ll also bring what you learn back to your family, school, workplace and hometown.
Travel tends to open up our minds. Mark Twain famously said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Maya Angelou, an American poet, said “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
My hope is that we all work together to defeat the COVID virus as soon as possible, so we can all get back to travelling without limitations. As said by Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Kerry Meagher is a senior underwriting attorney for a national title insurance company and has been a Savage resident since 1987. He’s volunteered to advise voters on their election rights for past 18 years.