I love to travel and I am certainly not alone in that. But why do we love traveling so much? What does it bring us and when is traveling especially important?
Diving into the psychology of it all
Studies have found that nature is amazing when you want to relax. Often, there are tangible health benefits to getting away. The lack of WiFi is often not unimportant in this regard. Because nothing relaxes you more than not dealing with the things that stress you out (no shit).
However there are some more interesting findings about why nature can help to calm down. One of those is the fact that you remove yourself physically from the usual environment. Going on holiday thus helps more than spending your week off work at home. This was found when children that lived on a farm did not experience the same health benefits from natural environments as kids that grew up in an urban environment.
The effect of nature was the importance of fascination. Nature has a tendency to make us wonder; what is behind those mountains and how did people survive in these winters long ago? This fascination is also an important influence when seeking out restorative environments. And what is more fascinating than other people? That is why traveling helps us relax and reload and why it is such an important experience for people.
Another thing is the influences other cultures can have on your outlook on life. For instance, in many Western cultures, we see death as the end of something. Many more Eastern cultures believe that death is just a part of a cycle of life, as well as in the form of reincarnation as the more practical part of your body returning to the earth. In contrast, some also believe that death is just that the body stops functioning, which is in itself not necessarily sad. Personally, this was a huge influence on how I now view and deal with death. It also makes me question my own believes more, since I have experienced humble cultures and arrogant ones, progressive cultures and cultures build on tradition, collectivistic cultures and individualistic ones, and many more opposites. Where do I stand and how do I think people should act towards each other?
It also can inspire you to do things differently, since travel will expose you to other ways of thinking and viewing the world. For instance the different architectural styles or fashion styles, but also in food or in how to solve problems. In my view, we often forget that every culture is build on the one before us and that we already take a lot of inspiration from other cultures, even if that is the predecessor of our own culture, so why not dive into others as well? Rap, hiphop and punk were all born from soul and the blues, so why should we not intertwine those influences even more?
Then, there are some more practical benefits of travel, starting with the ability to master a new language. Learning it in a book is fine and that is a good way to learn, but you will never master a language that way like you will when you actually speak it every day to native speakers. So if you want to learn a new language, why not spend some time in the country it is spoken?
Also, different countries have different specialties and strengths. Thus, if you want to learn it from the best, go to that country! Where the Dutch are famous for the way we have always managed the waters around us (and yes, also weed). Denmark has the most equal income distribution in the world. Ethiopia was the largest contributor to the Peacekeepers Force. Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world. How and why is this the case and what can you, as a citizen of the world, learn from this? Now for me, this is relatively easy, since the field of psychology is found wherever there are humans (and sometimes animals as well), so we can work anywhere, but I think there is a lot to learn for everyone in different cultures. Image what Western doctors learn when providing emergency help in war territory or what judges can learn from learning about the different legal systems in the world.
Next to all of these, different environments have know to also provide different health benefits for people. The most famous example of this is that people often go to Switzerland for the water there and the mountain air in search of a remedy for various illnesses.
Less drastic however, is that we often move more when we are on holiday or we at least use our bodies in a different way. Instead of sitting at a desk or lying on the couch, we suddenly tend to go swimming or walk on the beach or in the mountains or through a city. By moving in this less obvious, but still effective way, we can improve on our health a lot.
In a combination between health benefits and the psychological aspects, we also tend to physically restore faster when we feel relaxed. Thus, the relaxation can be very important for your health as well. The other way around, the increased movement when you travel can also stimulate the endorphins in your body to be released. This might make you feel genuinely happier.
So… when is the time to get away?
Ideally, we would travel the world and go whenever, but unfortunately, this is almost never realistic. However, some times it might be good to move around. This could also be just for a day or two to an area that is really different from your default environment. For instance, you could go to the woods or the beach every so often or rent a room in a smaller village when you live in a big town. This doesn’t have to be far away, just different.
Personally, I try to travel about twice a year in the least, even if it is just a short city trip. I usually find it most satisfying when I can’t find peace at home anymore and when I feel continuously stressed out by responsibilities that weigh on me. I also try to make at least one trip a year alone. This way, I can really be able to follow all my instincts and interests and to really remove myself from everything that I know normally.
An important thing here is that I personally do not yearn that much for nature per se. I find a sense of ‘being away’ and definitely a sense of fascination in a lot of cities, because of the rich history cities often have. Therefore, nature is not a must, but definitely a good option!
Do you have any other important reasons why traveling is so important? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. You can also subscribe on the right and get an email every time I upload!
Lots of love,
LisaHome » Lifestyle » Sustainable living & Nature »