Today’s post is directed towards one person….me. But the rest of you are welcome to read along. :-) This is painful to admit, but over the last 26+ years that my husband and I have been married, I can count on two hands the number of trips we have taken either as a couple or a family. There are of course a number of “good” reasons we haven’t done so. Not enough money, not enough time, blah blah blah.
But over the last year as I’ve been traveling more for blog-related events, it has really made me think about the decision (or lack of decisions) we’ve made in the past that put traveling low on our priority list.
Today, as you read this, my husband, my four kids, two more kids by marriage, and myself are all on our way to Mexico! This is a first for us and, of course, we’re all very excited! :-) While I can’t promise I will be completely “unplugged” the whole week, I am going to try and keep it to a minimum and enjoy some quality time with my favorite people on earth!
I have a week’s worth of fabulous guest posts in store for you while I’m gone…and I hope you will give them all a warm OGT welcome. :-)
But back to today’s post…
We all know the financial value of travel. Plane tickets cost a lot of money, as do hotels and meals. But there is emotional value when you invest in travel, too. I’m talking about the stuff that strengthens the bonds of friendship and family, and continues to grow years after a trip has been taken.
After a lot of thinking and reading about this subject….here are some of the reasons I think that traveling is a lot more important that we think it is (or at least than *I* thought it was in the past.)
Travel gives you an opportunity to relax and de-stress. It gives us a break from our fast-paced lives. Of course, traveling can be stressful in its’ own way, but travel stress is positive stress, not the kind of anxiety caused by work or tension related to home life.
A Necessary Escape
It sucks to be stuck in a rut. Everyone knows what that’s like. Travel can be the perfect solution.
In the dead of winter, with a foot of snow awaiting you outside your front door, what could be more tantalizing than a swim in the deep blue waters of Jamaica? A trip of any kind provides you with a break from the norm, and that alone can inject you with energy. It’s therapeutic to make a change from your daily routine — doing so prevents your mind and body from stagnating.
If I were to ask you about your past year – what stories would spring to mind? I doubt you would tell me about the hours you spent at the office or at the gym. It would most likely be the traveling you did. The people you met. The extraordinary experiences you had that you didn’t expect.
When we travel with our friends and family, we create memories that last a lifetime. Sharing a special trip with those we love the most is truly a joyful thing! Giving them a wonderful traveling experience far outweighs the benefit of buying presents for them. Goods have a limited life span, memories last forever.
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Traveling helps you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It provides us with a whole new perspective, whether that means no longer sweating the small stuff or promising to get out there and meet new people upon returning home.
Completing a long-awaited trip also gives you the satisfaction that you were able to accomplish what you set out to do, and gives you the confidence to do it again!
Learning & Education
Seeing the world provides a source of education impossible get in school, teaching you things like economy, politics, history, geography and sociology. While not an accredited institution, the school of travel is always taking applications.
Meet New People
People you meet while on the road usually become some of the most valued ones in your address book, giving you points on the map to visit later on.You’ll meet far more friendly people on the road than you will under ordinary circumstances at home. Other travelers are always looking to share experiences, give tips on places to go, and meet people from all over. Striking up a conversation with other travelers is extraordinarily easy. A polite “so where are you from?” breaks the ice quite easily and may lead to lasting friendships.
Regain Your Enthusiasm For Work Life
Traveling is refreshing and revitalizing. Relaxing at home during the weekends isn’t always enough to truly unwind. Taking periodic trips help to recharge your batteries and better handle the stress at work. After a break, you’ll feel more energized to return to work. Without these breaks, you may suffer work burn out.
No one looks back fondly on a trip to the dry-cleaner. But after ziplining in Costa Rica you get a feel for what being an active human being is like (again). The need for adventure is hardwired; travel lets you tap into it.
Sharpens Your Mind
Being placed into a new environment engages a dormant part of your mind. On vacation you might be required to navigate unfamiliar places, read foreign languages, try new things, make quick decisions, and choose your new eating and sleeping schedule. Unlike at home, all the new sights, sounds, and places will require mental processing and filing. Your brain will welcome the workout!
One of the great benefits of traveling is having time to think and to discover more about yourself, and figure out where you want your life to be going.
As Robert Fuller says, “Travel provides us with the distance required to see what it is we are habitually doing and the anonymity to risk new ways of being in the world.”
Getting away for awhile, even though it requires effort, will greatly enhance your attitude and productivity once you return home. Breaking up the monotony for a while is a great way to give your life an injection of excitement.
I always love to go, but I equally enjoy returning home. Just as distance allows me to grasp new possibilities, it also helps me to greatly appreciate what I have.
Whether you need to take a few weeks off to avoid the stress of work or need time off to contemplate where your life is headed, traveling should be your answer. Every trip changes you. Big or small. You never come back from a trip quite the same as before you left.
I’ll see you in a week….but I promise not to change TOO much! :-)
Tell us about YOUR most memorable family vacation!