By Precious White
There are many benefits of traveling, especially traveling often. In fact, mention travel to just about anyone and notice a whole new demeanor come over them. People love things that make them feel young and happy and traveling usually tops the list. However, have you ever noticed how society as a whole is fixated on griping about the disadvantages of getting older? While complaining about our weight, changing looks, graying hair and increasing birthdays, people rarely choose to see the benefits of aging. But like any situation, the positives usually far outweigh the negatives; you just have to look through a new lens.
Having experience under your belt brings with it a whole new set of advantages. For starters, experience brings increased knowledge of just about everything in life than you had before. You now know to slow down and take the time to enjoy yourself and others important to you - spouse, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. Moreover, peer pressures lessen, society boundaries seem less rigid, goals become clearer, stability increases, people respect you more and the confidence that comes with reaching a certain age is priceless.
Getting older in number doesn't have to mean sitting around reminiscing about the "good old days." The truth is that older doesn't have to mean boring. In fact, keeping in mind these top five reasons traveling keeps you young will remind you why you should not only plan your next trip, but why becoming a travel addict should be in your future.
1. Breaks up your daily routine
Traveling provides a change of scenery. In today's world where technology often replaces face-to-face interaction, traveling makes you get outdoors and tune in to humanity. Whether your days are filled with work, parenthood, grocery shopping or all three, a new setting will lend you the freedom you need to recreate yourself. No matter your stage in life, stepping away from your daily life keeps stress from taking over or boredom from creeping in.
2. Relieves your stress
Travel is necessary to our survival. The spontaneity and excitement of travel allows you to put petty frustrations in their rightful place. The physical and mental rejuvenation that accompanies traveling enables you to return to your daily routine with the energy and patience needed to deal with all your responsibilities. Spend your money on travel and prevent the buildup of stress that will make you throw your money away at the doctor's office.
3. Requires you to be active - physically and mentally
Traveling by its very nature makes you move. Whether you're zip lining in Costa Rica, walking the streets in Rome or simply lying on the beach in Jamaica, you will be active. Most of us know that physical exercise is good for our general health, but physical exercise is also good for your brain. If you think you're going to get smarter sitting in front of your computer or watching television, think again. It is said that our brain is a thinking organ that learns and grows by acting and interacting with the world. Mental stimulation improves brain function and protects against severe cognitive decline caused by disease. Most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from mental and physical inactivity. In other words, use it or lose it. Why not use it by traveling?
4. Provides education beyond books
Traveling is not mere recreation, but education through experience. Travel captures things books can only describe. A traveler learns that there are numerous ways of thinking and more than one solution to a problem. Travel teaches that not everyone shares your beliefs and that other ways of doing things can work equally well. In issues from child-rearing to politics, travel rids you of the arrogance that comes with everyone believing they're the best. In essence, traveling the globe makes you a lifelong learner.
5. Brings spiritual health
Travel teaches humility. Travelers learn that all people in the world are basically alike. Language, customs and all exterior differences aside, we all share the basic desires and concerns. Travel makes us care about strangers and become comfortable with the unfamiliar. It makes it impossible to have a disregard for others. We become concerned for and respectful to all people. Ultimately, spiritual health is about finding meaning and purpose in your life and discovering who you truly are. Physical, mental and spiritual health is deeply tangled in a web of cause and effect. Start traveling and instantly bring good health to all three.
In summary, traveling keeps you young in more ways than one. Most importantly, travel nourishes the soul. Prescription: Travel as often as you can...doctor's orders.
Editor's note: Precious White is a local Paulding resident and former educator in the Paulding County School System. She recently opened a travel agency and will be sharing tips and ideas with Patch on a weekly basis.