“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” —Lawrence Durrell
Do you feel guilty when you frequently travel for leisure? It’s alright. You’re not alone. Sometimes I feel that way, too.
In some cultures, putting a lot of your time and efforts into your work indicates that you’re a hardworking person. My teachers in school used to tell me that if I work hard, I shall be rewarded.
Here’s what I think: If you work hard in whatever you do, that’s great. But if you overwork yourself, I’m afraid you need to stop for a little while and read this.
1. It’s good for your health
Many studies have shown that travelling is good for your health. I have to agree on this one. When you travel, you exercise your body. If you’ve already read Exploring Laos: 5 Unforgettable Moments on the Road, you should already noticed that most of the activities I did required a lot of walking, running, climbing, pushing and jumping. The experience was tiring, but it made me feel good. I feel a lot stronger and healthier than before.
Even if you’re the kind of person who prefers to lie down on the beach while reading a book, that’s also healthy for your body, mind and soul. Isn’t it nice to rejuvenate under the sun while listening to the sound of the sea?
Explore new places.
Did you know that studies have also shown that travel can lower the risk of depression and heart disease? People who take at least one vacation per year have lower chances in dying from heart disease or even getting a heart attack.
Many people have asked me why I travel so much — because for them, travelling so often isn’t just tiring, but it takes a lot of time and money. As usual, I explained to them why travel is important to me. One of the reasons is because I value my health. I truly believe that travelling is good for the body and the mind.
At the end of the day, how you take care of yourself (and your health) is entirely up to you. Some people prefer to go to the gym, while some others prefer to exercise at home. I prefer to travel. And I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle.
People who personally know me know how hyperactive I am. The fact that I travel so often isn’t a surprise to them. And if travelling makes me feel a lot healthier and more energetic than before, I’d be happy to continue doing that for the next years to come. I want to do it as long as my body is able to take it.
Yes, travelling can be super tiring. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eyh?
2. It’s good for the mind
Overworking your body may lead to stress, and if it’s not properly managed, one can potentially suffer from burnouts. And trust me, you don’t want that. When you start feeling this way, take some time off. You deserve a quality “me time”.
What’s scary about burnouts is it often gets unnoticed. I remember when I experienced it for the first time. I was working very hard during a particular period, and eventually I got quite ill. It took me one whole month to recover. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that I was experiencing it. I just knew it.
Since then I always tried to spend quality time with myself, especially during the weekends and public holidays. Sometimes I went hiking with friends at a nearby hill. Sometimes I would go to the beach for picnics. And sometimes I’d stay at home. But I always preferred to spend my time outside whenever I could.
Now that I’m back to freelancing, my work schedules are more flexible than before. I try to organise as many outings with friends as possible. That way I can take my mind off work for a while.
Indeed, travelling is good for the mind as it helps reduce stress. You don’t have to go far from home in order to travel. A visit to your nearby parks and reserves is fine, too.
Ask yourself this question: Is my health the most important thing to me? If the answer is “Yes”, consider travelling or getting a relaxing vacation somewhere you like. It could be somewhere close to home.
Quiet times in Laos.
After your travel, you may feel a lot healthier and happier. When you feel positive on the inside, you’ll become a lot more productive at your workplace.
Travelling is also a wonderful learning experience. You get to learn about people, places and yourself. From my own personal experience, travelling has given me more intercultural awareness.
I’m also a lot more independent and confident with myself now, especially when I’m on the road on my own. I always remind myself that I’m strong enough to do many things on my own. I can still be happy even when I’m travelling alone.
If you’re a student, I encourage you to apply for exchange programmes. Perhaps venture into a neighbouring country during your semester breaks to experience a different environment. Trust me, even if your neighbouring country and yours are similar in many ways, you may still find differences in many aspects.
3. It strengthens your relationships with others
You don’t really know someone until you live or travel with them. Based on past experiences, I learned that travelling does improve my relationship with other people.
I’m not very particular about with whom I travel, although I’m aware that travelling with the right person is important for the long run. But it’s not always easy to know if someone is right for us until we travel together.
Once you’ve shared your journey with someone else, then you’ll be able to have a clearer picture of whether or not you both make the right travel buddies. Being able to go through hard times together is definitely important.
Watching the sunset in Laos.
Travelling will either bring people together, or break them apart. You put your interpersonal relationships to the test as you travel. When I looked back at my own travel experience, I realised how tough and easy travelling with another person could be.
Whether you’re travelling alone, with another person, or in a group, travelling can help you improve your problem-solving and communication skills, and how you work around with others.
4. It opens the door to new experiences and explorations
Travelling helps me learn more about myself. It makes me explore the person I am. Many of my friends feel the same way, too. Of course, you can learn more about yourself even from the comfort of your own home. Travelling is just another great way to do it — and it works well for me.
Listen to the sound of the sea.
There are times when you need new inspirations, say, for an upcoming book or blog articles that you wish to publish. Travelling may be able help you find the inspirations you’re looking for.
I also believe that travelling enhances creativity. That’s because when you travel, you open yourself to new things, surroundings and life experiences. You start seeing things in different ways, too.
Eventually you look at the world in many different perspectives, and then realise that everything you see isn’t always what it seems to be. You might even witness the things that were never mentioned on your school textbooks.
5. You can expand your circle of friends
When you travel, you get to see many new faces and interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. The number of friends you make along the way depends on how sociable you are. You don’t have to befriend with every traveller you meet on the road, though.
Make new friends.
I admit that I don’t remember everyone I met on the road. I said “Hi” and “Bye” to people whose names I don’t even remember, too many times. I don’t always consider them as friends, but it doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day, it’s all about living in the moment.
I have to admit that I remember experiences better than the names of the people with whom I hangout. For me, the good memories I share with them are what matter the most.
For all the friends I made along my journey, thank you for the good times, and if we are still in touch, I’m glad we still do.
So….when will you hit the road? Let’s go together, perhaps? See you somewhere on the planet! 🙂