Most people want to travel at some point in their lives. Nearly everyone wonders what life is like outside their hometown, and all it takes is that adventurous first step out into the rest of the world to know for sure. Traveling is not only fun and thrilling, but it is also good for you. Seeing the world may make you smarter, happier and a better citizen of the planet.

Traveling won’t boost your IQ to genius level, but it can be educational. Seeing different cultures and ways of life helps you think in different ways. You are only as a smart as your experiences, and traveling challenges your brain to think beyond what it already knows. By pushing past your comfort zone, your brain learns more about the world and how you fit into it.

Traveling doesn’t just change your surroundings, it also changes the types of people you will encounter. Simply interacting with different people can help shape you as a person. You will find people you like, people you admire, people you don’t like so much. Each person will teach you a lesson, no matter how small. These interactions will broaden your understandings of people, which will help you become more open-minded and diversify the way you think. Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness,” and he was right. By going to these new places and meeting new people you are forced to expand your horizons and accept new information. By better educating yourself about the rest of the world, maybe some misconceptions will be corrected, and tolerance and acceptance will replace them.

People often travel for stress relief — to get away from it all — and for good reason. Taking just a few days off in a different environment can drastically reduce your stress level. A survey from Global Coalition of Aging showed that 89 percent of people who traveled, even taking short trips, were better able to relax and leave stress behind.

Escaping your home routine can be great for lowering stress, but it can also make you appreciate what you already have. Just like in relationships, time apart can make you discover how much you value what you have. Traveling can also help you discover you might not be so happy with your current life, but didn’t realize it. Going to a new place may make you see what your life could be and give you new goals to strive for in the upcoming years.

If you are traveling alone, the trip allows you get to know yourself better. Taking some ‘me time’ lets you discover new things about yourself. Let your mind wander and explore your new surroundings. Some of the best discoveries are made when we aren’t looking for anything, and that holds true for personal discoveries that come about when you explore new places.

Traveling was amazing long before we knew it was good for us, but now there is even more reason to plan a getaway. Escape normal life for a few days. Pick a destination and see what happens. You will return from that trip with new knowledge about the world, yourself and you’ll have a rejuvenated outlook on your day-to-day life.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

1 COMMENT

  1. Try something different! Escape the common vacation routine, and consider a romantic or family adventure at Morning Song’s Farmstay Getaways. Unplug from it all and gather eggs, get acquainted with the friendliest goats ever, or coax an alpaca to accept a tasty treat. Learn cheese making or soak in your exclusive hot tub under the stars. Rates from $130 include a local wine, breakfast items, a full kitchen, fruit and salad items from our organic fields and groves. Nearby wineries, nature reserve, hiking, hot air ballooning, galleries, antiquing, golf courses and more. Both single and family unit available. See http://www.morningsongfarm.com for photos and reservation calendar.

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