Why Travel?

As a result of my school being pretty small we have the opportunity to do some really neat things. One of those being what we call “Bridge Week”. This week takes place after midterms and it’s a small break from the hustle and bustle of school work. It bridges the gap from the first semester to second semester, hence the name. Each year a new theme is created for the week and the five days are filled with different speakers, field trips, and activities. The 2019 theme was “Mind, Body, and Soul”. I was assigned the task to pick a topic of my choice, relate it to the them of this year, and write a research paper. So… if your wondering why travel is essential to enhancing the mind, body, and soul, and you want to read my essay, just keep on reading!

Today our world consists of 195 countries. That makes 37 billion acres filled with outstanding people with amazing minds, beautiful sights to take your breath away, and creations such as architecture and landmarks that humanity once thought were impossible to create. Imagine the world with the overflowing knowledge and insight that it holds. Every individual has so much to gain from experiencing the gifts the world has to offer. Due to its many benefits, traveling remains essential to enriching the mind, body, and soul.

Some people argue that the mind remains the most important aspect of the human body. Our mind makes judgments, forms thoughts, and creates memories. Traveling contains all of the means necessary in order to strengthen and grow our minds to their greatest potential. Throughout traveling, many situations occur when stepping out of our comfort zones remains necessary. This forces our brains to adapt to new environments. Research done at Colombia Business School proves, “Our neural pathways are built around where we are and what we do. When we challenge the norm via travel, we physically change those neural pathways, making them stronger. This, in turn, allows us to be more creative”(Johnston, “Studies”). Not only does traveling make us more creative but studies show that experiencing life abroad can make you smarter as well. “A study in 2014 of MBA candidates found that those who engaged in multicultural environments via studying abroad were able to deal with complex issues more easily and had better luck on the job market. Having to live and deal with a new culture gave the students the ability to hold multiple viewpoints in their mind at the same time, while being highly engaged”(Johnston, “Studies”). The key to gaining these benefits lies in the act of engaging in the local communities of foreign countries.

In addition to traveling having the power to expand the knowledge of your mind, it also increases the health of the mind. Stepping away from the busy schedules of everyday life, social media, and our endless obligations can reduce stress levels. Our bodies constantly require time for us to rest in order for the body to rejuvenate, and our minds need the same amount of attention. “According to a 2013 study, more than 80% of Americans, who were surveyed, noticed significant drops in stress just after a day or two of traveling”(Nazish). Traveling can help you escape the stresses and commitments of your life. Happiness has also been shown to increase when traveling or even while waiting for a big trip to arrive. According to a Cornell University study, “the anticipation of a trip can increase your happiness substantially, even more than the anticipation of acquiring something tangible, like a new car”(Nazish). This shows that material things do not always make you happier, rather creating exciting experiences does. Traveling also allows us to reinvent ourselves. Writer Patrick Rothfuss said, “A long stretch of road can teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet”(Nazish). You embark on the possibility of discovering new things about yourself and maybe finding some new hobbies when you travel too. Trying new foods, meeting new people, and overall learning more about the world can spark internal passions that you never knew existed.

Not only does traveling benefit the mind, but also the physical body as it receives great profits from traveling as well. Exploring the world requires lots of walking, maybe some hiking, and catching lots of planes and trains, all which makes your body burn more calories. Traveling creates a demanding environment to keep people fit. Dr. Mehmet Oz explains, “Taking vacations can lower men’s risk of death by 21 percent and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent” and “Among women, a lack of vacation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease”(Kester). Both genders can help prolong their lives by traveling, but sadly many do not take advantage of the time offered to them. Much of the working class does not make use of their vacation days, therefore cutting themselves off from all the benefits of traveling. Taking time off of work can allow yourself to renew your focus on what remains important in life.

Traveling does not stop at positively affecting your mind and body. It continues to then allow your soul to flourish. Experiencing new and different cultures destroys bigotry and restores our faith in humanity because having conversations with each other validates the identity we share as children of God, trying to live our very best lives. Traveling puts you into many different situations to meet kind strangers throughout the entire journey. New perspectives are gained with each new place you travel to. A writer from the Huffington Post speaks from experience that, “It shows you how privileged you are if you come from a country that has a wide variety of resources every couple of blocks. It can make you appreciate life that much more and it will give you a new outlook on life. Traveling to new places humbles you in many ways and will improve your attitude towards life in general”(Leslie). Seeing the many places people come from can impact our view of others in an affirmative way by experiencing their hospitality and other wisdom they have to offer.

Furthermore, traveling greatly affects the way we view ourselves. Exposing yourself to new destinations allows you to gain confidence when having to make decisions and talk to others. Embracing fear and letting go in order to fully enjoy the adventure can allow for great growth in your personality. Traveling helps us value ourselves as human beings. “It lets us see what we are capable of doing which can’t always be apparent when we live our normal daily lives. We are constantly being tested when traveling and each time we are, we can surprise ourselves and see our potential”(Vita). Often times traveling arrangements do not go as planned, and the sudden adjustments will help make you more spontaneous and more comfortable with change. When someone discovers the immenseness of the world, the small problems and stressors in life do not seem as big. Not to mention the vast amount of incredible stories you will have to tell your family and future generations to inspire them to travel as well. No matter where you go, traveling is life changing. In the words of traveling expert Clint Johnston, “It helps young people find purpose in life, introduces them to new cultures and broadens their horizons”(Johnston, “How”). Traveling aids in creating a well rounded healthy person who possesses remarkable communication skills, understands the gifts that the world holds, and does not jump to making snap judgments about peoples’ differences.

Ultimately, traveling expands the knowledge and health of your mind. Seeing new places and cultures will change your view of others as well as yourself and aid in maturing your soul. All of this activity will also keep your body in great health and reduce the risk of future complications. Therefore, traveling remains necessary for the well-being of your mind, body, and soul.

Works Cited

Johnston, Clint. “How Travel Has Changed My Life.” Triphackr, 18 May 2016, triphackr.com/ how-travel-has-changed-my-life/.

Johnston, Zach. “Studies That Prove Travel Is The Key To Living Your Best Life In 2019.” UPROXX, UPROXX, 7 Jan. 2019, uproxx.com/life/travel-studies-happiness/.

Kester, Jennifer. “Why Traveling Is Good For Your Health.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 7 Aug. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/forbestravelguide/2018/08/07/why-traveling-is-good-for- your-health/#3fdf1f48371d.

Leslie, Tyler. “Traveling Can Inspire A Massive Life Change, Here’s How.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 22 Jan. 2016, www.huffpost.com/entry/traveling-can-inspire-a-massive-life-change- heres-how_b_8985636.

Nazish, Noma. “Five Reasons Why Travel Is Good For Your Mental Health.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 27 Jan. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2018/01/22/five-reasons- why-travel-is-good-for-your-mental-health/#7fbbb8859342.

Vita, Bon. “6 Reasons Why Travelling Is Good For Your Soul.” Bon Vita, 20 July 2016, www.bonvitastyle.com/6-reasons-why-travelling-is-good-for-your-soul.

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