They say that travel feeds the soul, and I for one can attest to that. I travel more than most (I visited 16 countries just last year alone) thanks to my job as a travel agency owner. I must admit that my job is quite enviable. I get to see new and familiar places, meet new people and try different culinary delights from all over the world.
I know that many people don’t have this same opportunity. Some are bound by work and finances; but what if I told you that you MUST travel? That if you do, you will not only become happier and healthier but will have a more positive outlook on life? Well, it’s true and here are 10 reasons why.
1. Travel makes you healthier
According to a study from the Global Commission on Aging and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, traveling keeps you healthier. The study found that women who vacation at least twice a year show a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack than those who only travel every six years or so. The same is true for men. Men who do not take an annual vacation show a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent greater risk of heart disease. Crazy, right?
2. You will meet new people
The best part about traveling is meeting new and interesting people. You never know who you are going to meet and what opportunities may come of it. I was recently in St. Thomas and I met a group of retired ladies who were originally from NY that are now living there. After chatting them up on the beach, they invited me to come back down with friends to stay at one of their villas, at no cost to us. I may just take them up on that offer!
3. You will own your experience
No one can discover the world for you. Yes, you can read about the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower but nothing beats seeing it firsthand (I almost cried when I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time, almost). Truly experiencing life requires taking the ride yourself and travel enables you to do that.
4. You will learn to embrace new cultures and give you a whole new perspective
What if I told you that one of my favorite places in the world is the Middle East? Or that I feel safer in the United Arab Emirates than New York City? Well, both are true! I’ve learned so much about other cultures through my travels. I’ve also learned that most of the things we hear in the media aren’t true and that at the end of the day, no matter our skin color or religious practices, we are all the same and all want the same things.
5. You just need a break.
Unlike many Europeans who receive several weeks of vacation per year and work short work days (by American standards) we are literally working ourselves to death here in the US. With many of us working multiple jobs and having to work long hours with only 2-3 weeks paid vacation time (if we are lucky), it’s essential to take a break. Even traveling once a year allow us time to relax, rejuvenate and renew ourselves, even if it’s only for a short while.
6. You get to try new food.
As a foodie and a wine lover, this one is my personal favorite. Traveling gives you the rare chance to try new and maybe some of your favorite foods, in an authentic setting. Going to a Japanese restaurant in New Jersey just isn’t the same as having sushi in Tokyo.
7. You’ll appreciate your home more
When we spend time away from home, especially in a place where we don’t have the same luxuries readily available to us, we become more aware and appreciative for the luxuries we have back at home. I remember when I went to the Gambia a few years back and we had to drive through Somalia to get there. We stopped by a local police station to use the bathroom because it was “one of the cleanest in the town”. The bathroom was an outhouse with no running water or paper. Experiencing that and seeing so many people with so little while traveling through that country really made us appreciate of what we do have.
8. Improves Social and Communication Skills
One of the main benefits of traveling, especially to areas where your native language is not widely used, is that you learn how to communicate with different kinds of people. Whether you get to practice speaking in their native tongue or by using hand/sign gestures.
9. Creates Memories for Lifetime
If you travel with friends and/or family members, traveling helps you build stronger bonds and make memories that will last you and them a lifetime.
10. Meet your soulmate
If you are single while traveling, you may be lucky enough to find a new love interest or even your soulmate. Now that you are in a new environment surrounded by new people (both natives and other tourists), your chances have increased dramatically of meeting someone new.
Samantha is a self-described “eat, pray, love” type of girl, and is the founder of Jus Adventures Travel Services, Jus Romance, Jus Us Girlfriends, and Yoga Fitness With Sam, all based in the New York City area. (Check out Samantha on Instagram and Twitter)