We’ve all done it – each of us has gotten to a point where we are so fed up with the everyday stresses of the world that we throw our hands up and say, “I need a vacation.” The truth is that “need” is not an exaggeration. There are many reasons why disconnecting with the normal grind of your life and experiencing new and beautiful places is not only healthy for your body but also your mind. Basically, when a doctor tells you to listen to your body, that applies to those “I need a vacation” moments too! The best part is that the health aspects of vacationing do not just apply to the dates of travel but begin immediately when booked and last long after you return home.
Something incredible happens the moment that you book a vacation. You might begin to notice changes in yourself and you may not associate it directly with the getaway that you have planned. But it is definitely the source of the transformation. You may not know what is happening exactly, but we do! It’s called anticipation and it is extremely helpful for your stress levels which opens the door for many health benefits.
- Energy & Productivity – Some people may think that your brain leaves on your vacation long before you ever board the plane, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. Once you have a vacation booked, you will feel more invigorated and become more productive. This is the anticipation working in full effect. Your brain is powerful and knows that there is a finish line that it is running towards instead of feeling like you’re in an endless pit of work which can drain your energy. And of course, having more energy and higher productivity affects your overall mood.
- Mood – What once may have made you a bit snippy or wound up will start to seem less important. Don’t worry, I’m not judging. But the truth is that when we don’t have something that we are looking forward to, those small problems and inconveniences can fill our minds and make us more irritable. Why? Because we all need a focus and when we don’t have a goal in mind, problems become the focus instead of just being a small obstacle along the way. But once we have a vacation on the books and a goal of seeing the stars over Montana or the glaciers in Alaska, life’s little problems become just that; little.
- Physically Active – Let’s face it, you are much more active during a vacation than you are at home. When your alarm goes off at 6:00 am for work you just wish for 5 more minutes. But on vacation, you’re up an at em’ ready for the day’s adventures. And we know adventures. We have seen families with grandparents and small children hike miles in a day without thinking twice about the distance they’ve covered. We’ve had people believe that they were incapable of riding a bike for miles, just to be disappointed when we make it back to the trailhead.
There is no question that you will be more physically active on vacation which, of course, has many health benefits. And the bonus is that when you are not encumbered by thoughts of defeat and you are encouraged by the excitement of adventure, you begin to realize how much you are actually capable of both physically and mentally, but more about that later.
- Brain Stimulation – Speaking of mental benefits, there are also amazing things that happen to your brain when you are having an adventure. You see, your brain can get into a rut. Have you ever driven home and when you pull into the driveway and you realize that you don’t remember the last 5 minutes of your trip? Well, that’s because your brain goes into autopilot mode. After all, our lives begin to get filled with more of the same every day and your brain starts to feel…bleh. Many of the ordinary tasks throughout your day are completed without truly engaging your brain and this can lead to an apathetic mind that isn’t putting its best “cell” forward.
When you’re traveling, this is completely outside of your norm and your brain wakes up! It starts problem-solving, absorbing new information, and storing memories. There is no autopilot when you’re experiencing gorgeous sites, new cultures, and delicious food. This new stimulated brain will go back home with you too!
- Personal Growth and Mental Health – Probably the most important health benefit of traveling is the growth spurt that you will have. I am not saying you’ll be taller (sorry), but you will have grown in ways that you wouldn’t have imagined. People who travel become:
- more empathetic
- more creative
- more flexible
- more resilient
There are very few things in life that you can do to actively work on these elements of your life besides constantly reading self-help books and paying a therapist $200 an hour twice a week. And that’s not a dig; taking care of your mental health is just as important as working out, but there is no “gym” or work-out plan for it that you can easily do at home.
But we’ve got you covered. We will be your trainers and give you the “gym” of your dreams to work out your creativity with inspiration from the Emerald Coast, challenge you by removing self-imposed obstacles when you rappel down the rocks in Zion and become a more empathetic person when you learn how big the world truly is. The best part is, you’ll never know that you are “working out”.
Travel is truly an amazing thing and we obviously believe in it wholeheartedly. It is good for the mind, body, and soul. There are stories that each one of us here at Austin Adventures could tell you about how a vacation has changed and shaped our lives. That’s why we do what we do – we want to share the amazing, life-altering, and long-lasting memories and benefits that come from traveling. And once you leave us and go back home, the benefits don’t just stop.
- More happiness, Less Depression – No matter how incredible a vacation is, by the time you are nearing the end, that anticipation kicks in again. This time it is the anticipation to get home. Even though those months and weeks before you left on your adventure were filled with want and desire to leave, there is just no place like home. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded of that. So, after a great vacay, your appreciation for home is reignited and you’ll have more happiness and less depression in the months that follow.
- Live Longer – Yep – the big one! Science backs it that people who travel regularly live longer! Obviously, because we just told you how healthy it is for you! But just like working out, it’s not about doing it once and you are going to live forever. Unfortunately, life routines will eventually kick back in and brains will enter autopilot mode again. So, traveling at least once a year, twice if you can, is important to continue to get all the amazing health benefits that come with it.
Don’t worry, we have many adventures waiting for so that your travel doesn’t become an autopilot action too. Each vacation is stress-free planning (because it would be counter intuitive if it wasn’t) and will have different sites, new adventures, and filled with those experiences that will last in your memories for your very long and healthy life. Let’s be honest, this a new year’s health resolution that you can stick with!