Why is Traveling so Important for Mental Health and Growth?

Photo Source: Pexels.com

Photo Source: Pexels.com

Jocelyn Travis, Writer

Seeing The World Through a Screen 

In today’s society, many of us view the world through a screen and this is the only way that we get to experience the world. On social media, only the best, most appealing media is shown and provides the people viewing with a false sense of reality in other places. Seeing the world through a screen makes it difficult to understand lifestyles other than our own. Traveling is much more than just taking pictures and videos. Although it may be exciting to experience a new place, traveling offers much more that you may not be aware of. 


Traveling is an activity that many dreams of taking part in, which can help improve mental growth and the overall happiness of an individual. Many people’s issues are limited to the ones right in front of them, and they don’t realize that there is so much more out there than what is directly in front of them. 


Culture and Way of Life

In the United States, some of our cultures and the way we live our lives can be vastly different from other parts of the world, which makes traveling one way to improve an individual’s sense of awareness. In relation to some of America’s daily routines, it is normal for people to tip servers, taxi drivers, and people who operate their own businesses. This seems harmless, but can actually be considered rude in some countries like China, Japan, and New Zealand. Although this isn’t a big culture change, but it can be very different for someone who is not aware of this. In addition, body language like facial expressions can be considered rude or disrespectful. In the United  States, direct eye contact and smiles are accepted by mostly everybody whether or not you know the person. In some Latin-American or Asian cultures, smiling or making direct eye contact with another person is considered disrespectful. While you are able to learn about these differences online, it is much better to experience them in person as it can help you understand yourself and others better. Being aware of different normalities and ways of life can greatly influence a person’s ability to accept and welcome new cultures. 


Mental Health Affects

Humans are social beings who long for happiness gained from other people but also from our experiences. We are materialistic and we try our best to afford the nicest items. While this is nice, it is much more fulfilling to gain happiness from an experience rather than an item. Although there are many people who aren’t able to travel far, staying put in one place for your whole life can have mind-numbing effects on you after a while. To avoid these effects, gaining exposure to unfamiliar places can help. Whether you are traveling close to home, or somewhere far away, new memories can be made and cherished for the rest of your life. Most of the people who live in the United States are known for the excessive amount of time they spend working.  In a typical American lifestyle, many people work a 9-5 job every day for most of their life. This is extremely repetitive and it is important to take a break once in a while to regenerate your energy and escape the typical day’s schedule. Additionally, traveling can improve confidence and your ability to persevere in tough situations. For example, if you visit a foreign country, there is a good chance that there may be a language barrier and it can be difficult to adjust to a completely different language. A study found that people who travel at least twice a year are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and chronic stress than those who travel only once or not at all. During the COVID-19 outbreak, people were forced to work from home and any form of schedule or timeline disappeared. This increased the amount of job burnout and left people isolated while repeating the same thing every day. When the virus slowed down, it enabled people to finally book a flight and escape their repetitive reality. For many, their first travel after the virus gave them hope and allowed them to feel like they can finally enjoy life again. 


Expenses and How to Work Around Them 

For some people, it can be challenging to get the chance to travel. Vacationing can become very costly and may not work well with people’s schedules. This year, the average cost for a round-trip domestic flight is $310 in the United States, while International travel only gets more expensive.  This does not include meals, hotel stays, or any extra amenities which can severely affect the price of a vacation. Although these prices may be high for some people, there are ways to reduce the total cost of travel if you are patient and flexible. For example, many airlines offer cheaper tickets if you book your flight earlier than normal. In addition, choosing what day to fly can also impact the price. On weekends and holidays, the amount of people traveling is very high which allows the airline to increase the prices. On weekdays, especially Wednesday, it is much cheaper to fly because of the lack of people flying. While beautiful, expensive hotels are nice, it is more important to be able to afford experiences on your trip rather than spending a lot of money on a place to stay. Overall, traveling may be inconvenient to plan but it is extremely important to maintain a healthy mental state by traveling.


Traveling and it’s Meaning to Me

For me personally, traveling has been a major part of my life and I am grateful that I have the chance to experience the world in person. Traveling has opened my eyes to some of the issues in other parts of the world like financial or political differences that I may not have been aware of before. In addition, it has introduced me to new food, new activities, and new routines, some of which I have grown to love now. Not only have these experiences shown me new things, but they have also reminded me that there is a lot more out there than what is right in front of me. From the very beginning of my travels, I have realized that my point of view has been so narrow and that traveling has shown me that.