Travel makes you happy and can be the ticket to a happier life overall. Here are seven reasons to use travel in your pursuit of happiness.
People value happiness above almost anything else. Guest author Danny Newman believes travel will make you happy. Read how:
Ask someone what they want in life, and almost everyone will say some variation of: “to be happy”.
Now, happiness is a funny thing to pursue. After all, it’s a relative emotion; to be truly happy is to know deep sadness and hurt as well. In a strange way, wanting to be happy necessitates the need to be sad!
Regardless, I can fully relate to the desire. Very little compares to floating through life feeling light, joyous, and contented. Who wouldn’t want to live that way?!
Most people have their own ways of cultivating happiness. It might be via a hobby, activity, vocation, or lifestyle choice.
For me, it’s traveling.
Indeed, travel is one of the greatest tools I’ve come across for finding happiness.
Hitting the road has pulled me from misery and placed me on top of the world. There have been moments while traveling that I’ve felt pure and unbridled joy, to an extent that I’d never felt anyplace else.
I know everyone’s different; the same rules can’t apply for everyone.
But I also think travel’s a special case. I believe almost anyone can become happier as a result of doing it. I can trace the importance of traveling for a happier life to a set of specific reasons. I wanted to talk a bit about them!
If you’re at all interested, then keep reading for 7 aspects of travel that lead to a happy life.
Travel is Hard
This might seem like a strange place to start.
After all, doesn’t happiness come when life is easy?
Well, maybe, but I don’t think so. I reckon that’s something closer to satisfaction, which is always short-lived and leaves you wanting more.
The truth of the matter takes me back to my point in the intro: happiness is relative.
You can’t flick a switch and just ‘be happy’. That’s not how it works. Similarly, you can’t stay happy indefinitely. Happiness is a peak emotion, and all peaks have troughs. You know the rule! What goes up, must come down.
Emotions often follow suit.
Okay, so how does this related to travel? Well, a knock on effect is that pursuing things that are difficult is a sure-fire way to find happiness. It sounds backwards, but it works. There’s something about suffering that’s transformative; happiness is on the other side of it.
And travel is really bloody hard (even if you have these protective crystals to help you out!).
Everyone has a glorified view of it. Hell, I know I do! When I’m not traveling, I want to be; when I am traveling, I’m struck by how hard I can find it.
The road can be a lonely place. You leave the comfort of home and your friends and family, for a life of uncertainty and change. That process alone aggravates the evolutionary part of our brain that craves safety and security.
Then there’s homesickness, and tiredness, and a constantly changing routine. The list could go on!
Ultimately though, get through these down times and the rewards are ten-fold. It’s like an investment that offers an epic return after a dose of risk.
The reward of happiness may take some time to come. When it does though, oh boy is it worth it.
Travel Opens Your Eyes
Travel opens your eyes to all manner of things:
To the world, to other cultures, to other ways of life…to yourself, even.
It has a habit of bursting bubbles, testing ideas, and revealing weaknesses. It’ll hold up a mirror to you, for sure. It’s your job to stare back at yourself and see what’s there.
I’ve always found traveling to be an epic self-development tool as a result. Combined with overcoming hardship, having your eyes forcibly opened to truth, and learning more about yourself as a result, leads inevitably to a better you.
And where there’s growth, there’s happiness.
If you’re ever at a low point in life, pushing for growth is a great way to turn the situation around. Progress is an antidote to negative self-talk.
The road will humble you, and humility crushes ego. That’s good news, for ego is an enemy to true happiness. Remember to never mistake hubris for happiness- it’s just your overinflated sense of self telling you how great you are.
Instead, get humbled by seeing the world and yourself in real terms.
Travel is Fun!
On to lighter subjects!
Traveling is downright fun.
Remember when you were a kid and you spent your whole time playing with toys and friends? You had no cares in the world. Everything was new and exciting and light-hearted. There were no responsibilities to worry about. It was just moment to moment, day to day enjoyment.
It’s crushingly sad that we grow out of this way of life. Adulthood brings responsibility. We end up worrying a lot, and spending out time doing things we don’t enjoy.
Even worse, we justify it by saying that’s real life! That’s just the way it is. There are bills to pay and a corporate ladder to climb.
It really doesn’t have to be the case. If life was a Disney movie, the so-called ‘real-world’ would be the cruel evil villain, and travel would be the knight in shining armour.
Head to foreign shores and do cool stuff. Swim in the sea, laze on the beach, explore ancient temples, see awe-inspiring wildlife; eat crazy food, meet awesome people, jump out of aeroplanes…anything!
All the while you’re in full control of your time and routine. There’s no-one to tell you what to do. It’s total freedom! Feel the weight lift from your shoulders and the tension leave your body.
It’s a stress detox. It’s a fun-filled, action packed, novel experience that helps you really live!
That’s real happiness.
Travel is Different
Life gets boring.
You’re in education until your early twenties. Then you get a grad job in the city and work hard as hell for a few years. You get a couple of promotions along the way, which raise your income but your levels of responsibility too.
To justify your lack of free time you start buying more stuff. You get a house and a car. The repayments for both stack up, which means you have to stay in said job to fund your new lifestyle.
Maybe you get married and have kids. More responsibility. More expenditure. More work.
For some people that’s the dream! If that’s you, then awesome. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it.
It just isn’t enough for me. It sounds a little ordinary. And I want to live an extraordinary life.
Travel is a one way ticket to doing something a bit different. It breaks the routine, helps you see the alternative, and forces you out into an altogether novel reality- at least for a time.
Hope is a powerful thing. It’s hard not to feel happy when you’re inspired and hopeful.
Travel is Beautiful
Go traveling and you realize just how beautiful the world really is.
Sure, you can see it on the television from the comfort of your home.
But when you’re there in person, witnessing it with your very own eyes…boy is it more special. You see the sights, smell the smells, and feel the ground beneath your feet.
It’s hard to appreciate the true and astonishing scale of the world when you never explore it.
You realize that you’re a tiny speck of dust in the grand scheme of things. Those mountains have been there for millennia. That ocean wraps around the length of the world. The Milky Way hanging overhead…well, the scale of that goes without saying.
There’s just so much beauty to see out there.
To be surrounded by beautiful things makes for a far happier life.
Travel is Active
Humans are a complex mixture of head and heart.
Our mind and body interact in complex ways to deliver our experience of the world.
Feeling awful physically? Mastering the mind can help. Conversely, when you’re feeling awful mentally, getting physical can make a difference.
It’s well known that exercising and getting active is great for our wellbeing. You only need to go for a run to feel the endorphins kick in and realize how true it is. Humans aren’t designed to live sedentary lives.
Getting out of the mind and into the body is anathema to negativity.
Nicely, travel is full of physicality. Unless you’re on a beach holiday, or want to stay in the hotel all day (I wouldn’t call either of these things proper traveling over the long term, anyway), you’ll be on the move all the time. There are things to see, places to go, and people to meet. With only a short period of time available, you sure as hell want to make the most of it.
That constant movement gets tiring. But it does wonders for getting you engaged and out of your head. Now, you’ll need to rest up as well (it’s common to burnout on the road), otherwise it’ll go too far the other way.
Overall though, staying active is a key means of feeling healthy and happy; travel will deliver the goods.
Travel Fosters New Friendships
Humans are social animals.
Long term, we need other people around us to truly feel happy and whole. Acceptance and belonging are hugely powerful sensations; it’s harder to experience these when we go it alone.
Traveling is dynamite for meeting people! On the road and staying in hostels, you’ll inevitably come across hundreds of others exploring the same countries as you. That provides a constant flow of potential travel companions.
Remember, the road can be lonely too. Having others to share in the experience can make a lovely change every now and again.
Socializing and meeting friendly new faces on the road facilitates overall happiness. I’ve met some of my best friends while traveling. We stay in touch long after the trip, and meet up all over the world for further adventures.
The people you end up exploring the world with will end up as one of the greatest benefits of travel. You’ll feel far happier as a result.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of Traveling
There you have it: 7 reasons that explain the importance of traveling in the pursuit of happiness.
Almost everyone is engaged in their own pursuit of happiness. Life can be hard, and being happy seems like an ultimate goal.
For me, traveling is my way of tapping into it. I’m yet to come across a better method for cultivating happiness. And, thanks to the very nature of the experience, I think almost anyone can benefit in the same way.
Hopefully, I’ve explained why travel often holds the ticket to a happier life for anyone who wants it.
Author Bio: Danny Newman is currently writing and traveling his way around the world in a bid to figure out exactly what he’s doing with his life. He’d love you to follow along with his journey over at What’s Danny Doing or on Pinterest.