Since 2009 I have traveled to over 30 countries and lived abroad in three. Over the past few years, I’ve had time to reflect and I’ve realized that traveling has totally changed my life. It’s given me the opportunity to see that traveling does make us happier. So, I’ve become a huge advocate for travel, because I want other people to feel that same sort of bliss I’ve experienced. Here are the reasons why:
# 1) Travel helps you to realize money can’t buy happiness
When I reflect back on all my trips I have taken my happiest moments were when I was visiting somewhere and completely absorbed in the present moment. This could be at a café in Italy, a beach in Mauritius, or a mountain in Switzerland. While being truly present in those moments, I’ve realized that money is not the key for happiness. Sure, you need to have a certain income in order to have your needs met. But, truly experiencing life and being present is where you will find bliss.
In Western cultures, we place so much emphasis on work, success and careers that often times we equate money with happiness. Our personal life can dwindle away if we are not careful. I have witnessed so many of my friends who have climbed the career ladder and feel overworked and stressed. That’s why I’ve become such an advocate for travel, because I want people to see that life isn’t only about money. Traveling reminds you that there are so many amazing things life has to offer—and money cannot buy them.
# 2) Travel makes you appreciate your friends and family
When you travel you have the opportunity to reflect on your life, and realize how lucky you are to have good friends and family. For example, I remember sitting on a beach in Thailand and wishing I could share that moment with my family and friends. Some of my friends I hadn’t thought of in quite some time actually. I realized that I had been so busy with my work and responsibilities that I was neglecting some of the closest people in my life.
Being away from home makes us realize that there are many things in our lives we take for granted—including our family and friends. When we realize this we feel happy for knowing that we have so many great people in our lives.
# 3) Travel broadens your horizons and shows you that we are all connected
Learning about new cultures and places is one of the best ways of being educated in life. By traveling, we are able to do this. In every place you travel to, you can learn endless amounts of information about the place, the people, and their culture. This helps you to broaden your horizons in life and adapt a totally global view in the world. As you travel, you also start to see how interconnected we are as humans. Yes, our cultures may be totally different but the fundamental things are the same. Although you may not share the same language with people you meet while traveling, you can share smiles!
# 4) Unplanned events that happen while traveling can bring you great happiness
I’ll never forget this trip I took to Sri Lanka. During that time, I was working as cabin crew for Emirates airlines. During our layover, the crew and I headed on a road trip to different sites across Sri Lanka. At one of the stops, I saw a sweet older gentleman, around the age of 75 typing away at his typewriter at a little tiny shack which was his office for work.
My father loves using typewriters, so I went over to him and asked if I could take a photo with him for my father. He said yes, and then started typing away at his typewriter, pulled out the paper and handed it to me.
On it was written, “please send me a copy of this photograph” and his address. When I was back in Dubai I not only sent him the photo, but a long message telling him how great it was to have met him. I think that was one of the happiest trips I’ve ever experienced.
This man became my pen pal. We’ve been exchanging letters for two years now! I definitely am super happy that I had the experience to meet him. I didn’t plan on this or expect it to happen. It was truly a wonderful moment in my life!
You can also experience similar situations to what I experienced by being open to the people you meet while traveling. All the unplanned events that happen may very well end up being the happiest part of your trip!
# 5) Travel gives you time to relax
Our world is increasingly getting faster and faster. This is why I truly believe more than ever that everyone needs to take time to travel.
Traveling gives you the time to stop and slow down. It is important that we truly let ourselves relax and sometimes let go of all of our responsibilities in life. I find the best way to do this is to travel and keep the Wi-Fi off my phone for a few days. By truly disconnecting I am able to just live in the moment and experience life. In this way, I am able to have necessary me time to just go where the wind takes me.
The next time you travel, try to not turn on your Wi-Fi straight away. When you give yourself time to really enjoy the place you are in and not worry about the notifications on your phone, I guarantee you will feel a deep sense of happiness!
# 6) Traveling helps you meet new friends
In 2014 I traveled alone to India and was lucky to meet two girls traveling together. We met up on a houseboat tour of the backwaters and enjoyed our day together. After that, they invited me to do yoga with them and we still keep in touch. Thinking about experiences like this brings a huge smile to my face.
I definitely think that making friends while traveling can make you happy. You have new people to share your adventure with, and maybe even meet up with again in another country. I have had several sets of friends that I met while traveling and have visited me all over the world. If I never traveled, I never would have met them. Now some of them are my best friends.
So, those are just a few ways in which travel can make us happier! Are you ready to pack your bags and go on a trip? I hope so! The anticipation will also make you feel happier as well. Happy travels my friends!
Anna Alapatt is from the United States. Currently, she is living in Germany where she works as a writer and English teacher. She has a personal blog where she writes about love & relationships, travel and personal development. You can read more about Anna here: http://absoulutelyanna.