Have you been dreaming of a vacation? A trip to the beach where you can just sit back and drink margaritas while relaxing in the sun? Maybe you’ve had your eye on a backpacking trip through Costa Rica or a food and wine tour in Italy? Is there a trip you’ve been meaning to take but just can’t seem to make the time for? Or scrape up the money to do so? Maybe you’ve just been wondering if travel makes you happier. If any of the above apply to you, read our 10 ways travel boost your happiness and see if it doesn’t give you the motivation to start planning your trip right now. It might just give you the reason you’ve been looking for to do something for yourself.
Traveling = New Experiences
I am addicted to newness. I love going down a new road for the first time, tasting something I’ve never tried before, listening to new languages … it doesn’t really matter what it is, if it’s a novel experience for me, chance are I’m going to be into it. Caroline is the same so we make great traveling companions because we’re both eager to explore the next bend in the road and see where it leads. Nothing makes us quite as giddy as ‘discovering’ something unique and awesome.
Travel Challenges You
Travel also presents new opportunities for you to problem solve and figure things out. When I first started traveling, I didn’t have a smart phone and I would get lost. A lot. It took a lot of practice with learning to read maps, figuring out how a compass works and making mistakes. Though we still get lost from time to time, our success rate is a whole lot better these days. In addition to learning how to navigate a new city or a country, travel can also present unique challenges such as communicating in a foreign language, buying things with foreign currency, learning cultural norms, dealing with homesickness and overall how to regularly manage uncertainty.
Leads to Personal Growth
Anytime you’re in a situation where you’re learning or exposed to new ideas, people, culture, etc. you’re bound to experience growth. You might not realize it in the moment if you are struggling but you will almost always be able to recognize it later on.
Breaks Up Your Routine
If things are starting to feel same – old, same – old in your life, a little bit of travel might just be the perfect thing to get you out of a rut. You’ll be stimulating all of your senses: smelling different things, seeing different sights, tasting different foods, hearing different sounds … the whole nine yards. Travel could be the perfect thing to jump-start your life.
Strengthens Your Relationships
Traveling with someone else means you’ll be making new memories with someone else, learning about them, learning about yourself and overall improving your bond with another human being. You’ll also have someone to help you remember all the fun long after the trip is over. Choose your traveling companion wisely and you could be in for double the happiness. I did a lot of travel by myself before meeting Caroline and had a couple moments where I really just wanted to share the amazing sunset I was seeing with another human being. Though we both crave our alone time on the road, we’re also aware of how much having each other around has positively impacted our adventure.
Helps You Make New Friends
We’re both introverts but we also really enjoy making new friends and expanding our community. We recently wrote about some of our top tips for meeting people while traveling. We get that it’s not always easy and sometimes feels kind of awkward but the benefits totally outweigh the negatives. Making connections with others is one of the easiest ways to increase your overall well-being and happiness.
Forces You to Live in the Present Moment
How many times have you been sitting at your desk and stared out the window daydreaming about sailing in the Bahamas? Or clicking through the daily travel deals that show up in your inbox. One of the best things about traveling is that you’re so often able to live in the moment and experience your life as it’s unfolding, rather than just killing time. When I experience this, it makes me feel like I’m really living my life and making the most of my time on earth. It also helps me feel really connected to those that I’m with as well as the place around me. Once you experience this, it’s hard to go back to living for the future.
Creates New Memories
There’s nothing better than exploring a new place for creating new memories. Though I can hardly remember what I ate for lunch, I have no problem recalling the details of a certain morning on the west coast when we got up in the dark, made coffee with frozen fingers and then chased the sunrise looking for the best places to snap photos of the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor in Oregon. I’ll never forget the thrill we felt every time we turned a corner and I probably never will.
Because Life is Short!
Our culture really seems to love workaholics. We praise those who work 80 hour work weeks and while we also think it’s awesome to be driven and goal-focused, each of us is only given so many days. We might as well make the most of them every single chance we get. If you’re struggling to take a day off or use a couple vacation days, remind yourself that everyone needs a break and go for it! Chances are that when you return to work you’ll be an even more focused and productive than before you’d taken some personal time.
Does Travel Make You Happier?
We realize that some people get a lot of joy and happiness from being at home. They’re perfectly content to stay in familiar surroundings and we think that’s awesome. But if you are someone who loves to get out and explore, then maybe you already realize the impact that travel can have on your happiness. We’ve learned a lot from our time on the road living the van life. While it hasn’t all been easy (read our post on Van Life Myths vs. Realities), for the most part it’s really boosted our happiness and we truly feel like we’re getting the most out of life.
What do you think about the interplay between travel and happiness? We’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below!
** We are Squarespace web designers. It’s one of the ways we’re able to travel because we can literally work wherever we go. If you are needing updates to your current website or looking to build one from scratch, please get in touch. We’d love to chat about your project!