It’s easy to get caught up in the busy demands of our everyday lives. To put off our dreams of traveling to faraway places until things “settle down” at work, the kids are off to college, or the economy improves. To focus on the aspects of vacation that annoy us—the busy airports, lost luggage, and language barriers—instead of the reasons why travel intrigues us.
But it is worth prioritizing. And here’s why:
1. Experiences outweigh things. Money can’t buy you happiness—at least, not when you’re spending it on things. A study at Cornell University found that we adapt quickly to material goods, but that experiences endure “in the memories we cherish, the stories we tell and the very sense of who we are.” If you’re looking to make your money count, forget the mall and spend it on a vacation with someone you love instead.
2. You’ll find answers. Getting some distance from our normal surroundings actually seems to help us think more clearly. As Jonah Lehrer observes, taking a trip will “not only make you smarter, but more open-minded and creative.” When we’re exposed to the cultural contrasts and ambiguity of a new place, it’s easier for us to realize that there are different ways to interpret a situation. “When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.”
3. You’ll gain perspective. Travel “guides us toward a better balance of wisdom and compassion — of seeing the world clearly, and yet feeling it truly,” says Pico Iyer. Just as getting away helps us approach our own problems more creatively, it also gives us a new perspective on our lifestyle at home and how it compares to the rest of the world. When we dine in France, taking our time to enjoy every bite and the sense of community that comes with it, we rethink the many meals we’ve guzzled down on-the-go back home because we “just didn’t have time.”
4. The sensory experience. See, hear, touch, smell, taste…when is the last time you used all five senses and truly appreciated a moment for all it’s worth? Sure, you’ve seen a hundred pictures of the ruins in Athens, but have you felt the rubble beneath your feet? Have you tasted a true Italian pizza or breathed in the bouquet of a Spanish Tempraníllo? You can listen to music of the Caribbean on the radio at home, but there’s something to be said about hearing it augmented by the sound of crashing waves on the beach.
5. Because we only live once. St. Augustine once said: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” With only one chance to see it all, we ought to make the most of it!
We’re passionate about travel here at Windstar. We plan our trips with care and make sure every shore excursion you take is meaningful, but we also think the journey is as important as the destination. It’s why we strive to make our cruises so personal, so unique and so enjoyable that you come home thinking as much about your voyage as the cities it anchored in.
What are your reasons for traveling and what are some of the most profound experiences you’ve had abroad?