There are a million reasons why we all need to take vacations, but we still rarely give ourselves the time off that our minds and bodies need. The excuses abound: work doesn’t offer enough vacation time; most of your vacation days are taken up visiting family and friends; the endless possibilities for where to go have paralyzed you; you’re broke! If you find yourself nodding to this statement and need some motivation to understand why you need a vacation, you should read on.
Traveling, first and foremost, makes your brain work in a new way.
Getting out of your normal routine and surroundings provides a fresh start and a chance to learn new things. Think about the first time you visited a new city or country. You probably were exhausted at the end of the first day (unless you went straight to the beach or spa). It’s tiring being in a new place with strangers, and often surrounded by a language that you don’t understand or speak fluently. But the initial fatigue turns into fascination and finally acceptance by the end of the trip. Your brain learns to take in all of this new information, process it, and help you navigate.
A good trip always makes you leave wanting more.
No wonder #wanderlust has over 6 million tags on Instagram (and is growing by the second). Once you’ve allowed yourself to experience a new place, you begin to think about the size of the world and the millions of destinations just patiently awaiting your arrival. It’s a humbling experience, to know that the space you live in is just a tiny sliver of the world. But the experience creates intense curiosity, and a desire to get out and explore. It’s why worldwide, over $1.088 trillion was spent on tourism in 2012 and over 1.087 billion people traveled internationally in 2013*. That’s a lot of curiosity!
Time Slows Down.
Try to think back to a 10 day period a month ago. Now try to remember the details of each day. Pretty hard, isn’t it? Now imagine your most recent vacation. The days you spent on your trip are much more vivid, and seem much longer than your typical days at home. Sure, vacations always fly by, but the time you spend on these trips seems more lasting. Traveling makes you appreciate every moment and every precious day. It truly makes your life a gift… so you should give it to yourself as often as you can!
“Our research shows that the nature of youth travel has changed enormously in the past decade,” said David Chapman, director general for the WYSE Travel Confederation. “Young travelers today want, more than ever, to enrich themselves with cultural experiences, to meet local people and to improve their employability when they return home.”
Spontaneity is FUN!
Not knowing exactly what your day holds can be hard at first, but it’s nice to shake things up. We’re all so used to our daily routines. We wake up in the same bed each morning, have the same breakfast, maybe even use the same coffee mug at work, talk to the same colleagues, drive the same car home… you get it. Many of us need these routines in order to get through the day and to accomplish our goals. But usually, when you try something new, think about something a different way, go to a new restaurant, or make a new friend, it’s exciting! Your perspective changes and your world grows just a bit. All of these things can happen on a vacation. It’s an intoxicating rush that we need now and then to make our lives interesting. This is why you need a vacation!
You learn to become flexible. Something unplanned is bound to happen.
Name one trip where everything went exactly as planned. Where all of your arrangements worked out perfectly. Where all of the people you encountered were friendly and nice. When nothing was lost or amiss. Sure, this can happen… but it’s rare. Even the most organized planners have to understand where their control ends (starting at the airport!) It’s okay to get frustrated, but you can’t let a delayed flight, a lost reservation, or a wrong turn ruin your trip. If your the type of person that finds these moments trying, find a more relaxed travel buddy to help calm your nerves. Or head to the airport bar.
You grow your personal network by meeting tons of amazing people all over the world!
Perhaps not intentionally, but travel creates lots of uncommon friendships and chance meetings. With their guard down, you are more open to meeting new people, often who are unlike you. These friendships might only last for a few days, but you never know when you might want or need to reconnect with the guy you met at the lobby bar from Cyprus. With social media, making connections and staying in touch has become much easier, and less creepy. So don’t be afraid to connect on Instagram- the guy from Cyprus might have some great advice for your brother as he plans his honeymoon there next year.
You grow personally- and sometimes even professionally!
Today, not only is travel for leisure, it is now considered by many an enriching experience that deserves space on your resumé. Many people travel to learn about themselves and to grow their world view. Travel builds your independence, organizational skills, negotiation skills, and even confidence. And you don’t have to go far to flex your travel muscles- even a trip across the state will do the trick. “Our research shows that the nature of youth travel has changed enormously in the past decade,” said David Chapman, director general for the WYSE Travel Confederation. “Young travelers today want, more than ever, to enrich themselves with cultural experiences, to meet local people and to improve their employability when they return home.”
*Survey conducted by UNWTO. Sources: http://www2.unwto.org/facts/eng/vision.htm and http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2013/10/07/the-new-young-traveler-boom/