By Dr. Becky Spelman
To say that travel broadens the mind is something of a truism, but is there anything in the old adage? As I’m about to leave on a month long trip to Asia, I thought I would look into the matter and report my findings back to you! And I’ve learned that, in fact, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that sometimes a spot of travel can be just what we need.
Even the most home-bound of us occasionally gets the urge to up sticks and leave. Perhaps our long evolutionary past as a nomadic species has something to do with this. In fact, research suggests that this past has a lot to do with our tendency to wander, and that it might even contribute to conditions such as ADHD.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own lives, and all the little melodramas that we live every day, that just leaving the same old situation can give us some perspective and a sense of proportion about the things that drag us down. That makes intuitive sense, but that’s not all – research indicates that travel actually brings tangible benefits in the form of better mental and physical health, enhanced relationship building, and more. A study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that extended trips abroad can have a huge psychological input, and even result in lasting personality changes – so don’t underestimate the power of travel!
Today, mums and dads often have to go to work far from home, which means that the best quality time that many – maybe even most – families spend together is when they are on holiday. Removed from everyday concerns and worries, they can use this time to relax together, sharing memories that will last for ever. Younger adults often find that travel is a time when they can start to stretch their wings, learn more about other cultures and about themselves, and assess what they want in their lives.
If you’re tired or feel run-down or stuck in a rut, maybe the best thing you could do right now would be to plan a trip! Exotic travel to new places overseas is always exciting, but travel doesn’t always have to be to far-flung spots, especially when we have so many beautiful areas on our doorstep. Taking a trip, and a little time away from our ordinary lives, doesn’t have to cost the earth – and the potential benefits are enormous!