The world is a big place, and sometimes the idea of stepping out of our comfort zone to travel the world can be scary. A new country, a new culture, it’s a lot to take in and sticking within what we know is easier. It’s comfortable, and that feeling of comfort and home makes us happy, right? Well, not exactly.
Thanks to a recent Twitter study, our level of happiness actually rises the further we travel. A team of researchers at the University of Vermont in the United States has found that tweets contain significantly more happy words the further from home they are sent. (source:http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130411-want-to-be-happy-travel-further)
So what is it about travel that makes us happy? Part of it is the sheer fact that for many of us, when we travel far away, we are on vacation. But there’s got to be more that is making us happy than simply being away from work. I think CNN writer Winnie So described it perfectly when she said, ‘Travel makes us happy, because it offers us the opportunity to step outside our well-worn, self-constructed, plebeian realities and provides a platform to explore and practice our ideal visions for ourselves — who we might be if we weren’t married to our fears and anxieties about safety, security and status.’ (source:http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/life/travel-makes-us-happy-471435)
Travel allows us to reflect on ourselves, and gives us the opportunity to make personal changes. If you ask anyone who has traveled outside of their home country if they came home a changed person, I would almost guarantee they would say yes. Personally, I have not traveled enough yet in my life. But I made a proactive decision to start traveling outside of the country about a year ago. Since then I have been to Paris, Barcelona, and Belize. Each experience truly changed my life. What really inspired me to travel is my fiance’s travels. He has been to 19 different countries and I’ve never heard someone speak so passionately about their travel experiences. When I asked him what it is about traveling that made him happy, he replied, ‘Humans are creatures of habit and routine, so we feel like our routine is the only routine that exists since it makes us feel complete. When you pull yourself out of your routine and put yourself in a new and foreign place, your senses have to heighten to take in all of the new information. And when that happens, you get a huge rush of energy and excitement.’
Lisa Eve, the Founder of The Happy Channel, is also an avid and passionate traveler. ‘Traveling is an important part of my life. I don’t feel I am fully living if I am not traveling, meeting new people and learning about cultures different from my own. There is so much to explore in this world, I get excited just thinking about all the amazing adventures I have yet to experience! I’ve also noticed that there is usually deep admiration and profound respect when you visit places far from your home. People love to share, love to connect, and there is often a curiosity, like ‘what brings you here?’ From my experience, I’ve encountered locals in awe and gratitude for my visit. Traveling for me is a rewarding experience and I’m always dreaming of where I’ll be headed next!’ There you have it. A simple equation: Travel = Happiness. So next time you consider taking a trip to a foreign country, don’t let your mind or comfort zone get in your way. Happy Travels!