Welcome to not only a new year, but a new decade as well! What changes await in this new decade? One way to guarantee positive change is to get a passport and travel the world because it leads to positive changes in our lives.
One of those changes is improving our mood as we leave our day to day worries behind and immerse ourselves in exploring and discovering. For instance, chasing a passion for waterfalls and doing what it takes to not only get to a new one, but finding a park ranger who can get you to the bottom of it for once in a life-time photos.
It is also refreshing and recharging as we can travel and explore at our own pace instead of the 40 to 60 hour grind we hold ourselves to week after week. It’s a chance to get away and give our brains, our bodies, and our eyes a break. If we pick someplace sunny, it can also give us much needed vitamin D.
Forbes Travel Guide consulted Dr. Mehmet Oz, who elaborated on how traveling for pleasure affects our well-being. He says that taking vacations can lower men’s risk of death by 21 percent and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent. Among women, a lack of vacation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease and women who go on trips more frequently are less likely to become tense, depressed or tired and are happier with their marriages.
Travel also inspires our creativity. Scientists asked a group of volunteers to spend a few days away from city life and electronic devices. While they vacationed, scientists gave them several tests that dealt with creative thinking. They were also given complicated tasks to complete and their level of creative and problem-solving skills increased by 50 percent. World travel may be the key for us to get over that writing block or a professional hurdle. Travel also gives a great chance of finding more solutions and creative breakthroughs.
Many of us don’t travel because we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone – to be with people who eat differently, speak differently, dress differently, and more. Yet as we step out we can discover a new food we may love for the rest of our lives, as well as broaden the way we think – there is more to life than what we have always been surrounded by. It may redefine how we approach our lives.
It helps build our character. Cross-cultural experiences have the potential to strengthen a person’s sense of self, says Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an associate professor of education and psychology at the University of Southern California. “What a lot of psychological research has shown now is that the ability to engage with people from different backgrounds than yourself, and the ability to get out of your own social comfort zone, is helping you to build a strong and acculturated sense of your own self,” she says.
So the more we travel, the more we change and become citizens of the world in addition to being citizens of our local communities. And it’s never too early to travel – taking our children along, can help broaden their views and make their academic learning about subjects such as history, language, art, literature, etc. more practical and touchable.
And sending our teens overseas to study has its advantages. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, students who studied abroad were more open to new experiences in their everyday lives than those who stayed on campus for their entire high school and university time. They were also more humble and 20 percent more likely to solve a computer task than those who didn’t travel. Requiring them to survive in an environment by learning a second language contributed to a major spike in IQ because learning another language helps brain muscles get stronger and form new neural connections in the brain. Basically, traveling can literally make the brain faster and stronger!
But how? When do we have the time to travel? Over half of us never use all of our vacation time – yet we have earned that time – so let’s use it to benefit ourselves. Maybe the first change is to start using our vacation time.
So let’s start off this new decade right by taking time to make positive changes in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones and book some world travel. And before booking that travel, see Ace Passport Services for the key to unlock the world! We are happy to help!