I have been making New Year’s resolutions since I was a child and when I had children of my own, I encouraged them to do the same, set three goals, write them down and make them achievable. Copies were then stored in Dad’s Christmas stocking. The next year when getting ready for New Year’s, we would take them out and see what we had achieved and how those achievements affected our lives. It was a good feeling to look at those achievements, whether you made all three or just one. It was a very positive way to start the New Year and set new goals.
This year I will only write one goal, which is to travel more. Each year my goals have been around getting more exercise, learning something new or trying to cook new foods. Travel can accomplish all these goals, can improve body and mind health and contribute to better interpersonal relationships. According to studies conducted by Passport Health USA, those who travel have decreased levels of stress hormones and a lower risk of heart disease and depression.
Here are a few more benefits of travelling:
Brain Simulation: Travel forces us to exercise our brains without realizing its positive effects. Experiencing the unfamiliar and meeting new people expands and works our brains. Travel is also relaxing as it gets us away from everyday obligations and gives the mind time to relax and regenerate.
Exercise: Travel forces us to get out and move around more. We all have a natural sense of curiosity about our surroundings. Whether it is exploring the hotel or resort we are staying in or getting out in the sunshine and discovering new sights, we tend to move more on holidays.
Dining: Eating can become an adventure when on holidays. For example, in Taiwan I was introduced to Buddha Hand fruit and in Thailand, Durian Fruit (often called stinky fruit due to its over powering aroma). Different spices and styles of cooking are some of exciting elements of eating while on holidays. Personally, when on trip if I taste something that I love I ask for the recipe and most of the time I have been greeted by a visit from the chef who is so pleased and sees this as a great compliment. One such recipe, African Malva Cake has become a great family favourite and the chef and I worked together to reduce the recipe from one for a 100 people to a family size quantity. He even posed with me for a picture!
Education: Travel not only exposes us to new experiences, but it can change our preconceived ideas about a destination. It provides first hand encounters with people as well as knowledge about the history and culture of a destination. I think Mark Twain said it best, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”.
Relationships: Travel brings people together. Travel is more than the seeing the sights, it is the combination of experiences, shared memories and new friendships that make a trip memorable.
So get out there! I leave on my first tour of 2018 on January 12th for the President’s Cruise to New Zealand and Australia. Where will you go?
Written by: Joan Niemeier