Credit: Avopix

The Dream of a Far-Away World

You’re going away for five days. You’ve packed a small suitcase full of clothes, essentials, and a charger for your phone. Just in case, you bring a book, and a journal. You don’t need your computer. The 12-hour drive is arduous, and something you aren’t necessarily looking forward to, but in the end, you will have reached a destination so vastly different from home that it practically seems you’ve entered a new world.

For a few days, you’ll be free of e-mails, calls, and meetings. Work was left behind the moment you stepped out the office door. While you’re away, the only thing you have to worry about is yourself, the people you brought along, and the adventure you’re about to go on.

Credit: Travel + Leisure

Most agree the scene above paints an exciting picture they wish they could be a part of this very moment. Travel is something universally agreed to be a positive influence on the lives of those lucky enough to experience it. Once over, the experience is mulled over and pined for months (once the post-travel-blues have finally faded). Fond memories, inside jokes, and the experience of a new scenery is a cherished symptom hopping on a plane or into a car has on us. We return to our jobs refreshed and stress-free for a while.

While these effects fade after a while, a long-lasting imprint is left behind we never accounted for. Travel is known to make us more empathetic and open-minded. Through experiencing the ways different people live and learning about the many unique cultures, we become more accepting of others. We form connections with these people, and stronger bonds with those who made the journey with us. If we traveled on our own, we develop a stronger sense of self. Travel makes us well-rounded, understanding people.

Sound Body, Sound Mind

A more balanced inner self and mental health leads us to thrive as human beings. Perhaps the new food we eat or hike around mountains and canyons promote a healthier lifestyle, but it’s the removal of stress that truly makes a difference in our lives. One doctor reported to Forbes the important physical effects vacationing has. Risk of mortality for cardiovascular disease decreases by 32% for frequent-traveling men. Women who travel have a lower risk of heart disease, and are less likely to be tense, depressed, or tired.

Credit: Travel Market Report

But even with statistics staring us in the face, many do not take advantage of the vacation days offered to them. More than half of Americans let their vacation days go to waste. For many, it is about a lack of funds—a perfectly viable point. Some feel they can’t step away from their daily quota—if they do, they’ll return from their vacation with double the workload.

There is an immense problem with the working lifestyle we as citizens of the United States face. Many feel their career is more important than their personal life and well-being. It is certainly not a bad thing to be passionate about one’s job, but it is a bad thing to let it lead to the detriment of one’s health. Travel is something that makes us better people all around—of mind, and of body—and it shouldn’t be something we push aside. Become your best “you.” Do yourself that favor. Even a short get-away for a weekend can recharge us in ways we never excepted.