Back in 2013, the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies did a study on the health benefits of travel.
They found that frequent vacations correlated with less heart disease-related deaths and lower stress. Now it should be mentioned that this study was done in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, but I personally don’t doubt the truth of their findings.
As a travel writer who spends much of her time on the road, there is no doubt in my mind that travel does amazing things for our health: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Sure, working as a travel writer often involves long flights, even longer hours, and exposure to new foods, climates, and time-zone shifts that can put your system out of whack.
That said, traveling to new places, meeting new people, trying new foods, and seeing new landscapes and architecture does wonders for the mind, the heart, and the body. Not only does it keep you active, which we all know is necessary for health and well-being, but it can also inspire one of the most beautiful aspects of human existence: the sense of wonder.
As a writer, I always try to approach the world through the eyes of a child, making a concerted effort to allow myself to be wowed by things that others might find mundane. While this may make me seem a little over-enthusiastic and eccentric to some… it sharpens my observation skills and keeps me alert to the magic of little things. Plus, it keeps me positive, even when I’m jet lagged or just having a rough day. And when we’re positive, we tend to have more enthusiasm, more drive to get out and be active, lower stress levels, and overall better health.
I see travel as a fast-track to the experience of constant wonder.
Even when we are at our most crotchety, it’s hard not to be instantly infused with joy when seeing the Pyramids of Giza for the first time, or sharing a moving experience with someone without speaking the same language. As travel writers, we get to share that very wonder with our readers, maybe even inspire people to take journeys of their own. And if that’s not great for our health and well-being, I can’t imagine what could be.