Everyone wants to be happy, but most people search for happiness in their possessions. The latest Nikes or the new Apple Watch provide that jolt of excitement, but it quickly wears off and you’re left searching for something more. On the contrary, research has shown that experiences bring people significantly more happiness than possessions. Experiences like travel instigates happiness from the moment you buy your ticket to long after you’ve returned home. Travel provides lasting memories and has the ability to change your perspective and understandings of the world. Simply put: Travel makes you happy.
Whether it’s a two-week vacation to Costa Rica or a two-month trip to Indonesia, spend the money and book it.
1. You’ll gain self confidence
Traveling leads you to do awesome things. You’ll navigate unknown cities, book a hostel with gestures, and conquer driving a scooter on the other side of the road. While you’re traveling doors will open to awesome experiences like swimming with sharks, riding an elephant, and hiking Mount Everest. Awesome things happen when you travel, and these experiences make you more confident in your skills and experiences.
2. An appreciation for home
When you leave home and explore the world you will see amazing things, eat crazy food, and meet interesting people. In short, it will be life-changing. But there is nothing like the feeling of coming home. When you go through customs in the U.S. or turn onto your street, your heart will jump and you will remember how amazing home is, even when compared to the wild, crazy world.
3. You get to meet new people
When you travel you will meet totally different, sometimes crazy people. Traveling drops boundaries and opens people up to new people and new experiences. You will have no trouble meeting fellow travelers, and they’ll often provide some great, can’t-get-in-the-guidebook information. Listen to the stories from the guy who rode his motorcycle around India or the couple who has been traveling in Southeast Asia for the past nine months. You’ll leave inspired.
4. The chance to get away from it all
When you’re traveling around you won’t be able to check your Instagram obsessively or text your bros about every step of your day. While you’re out on the road you’ll be unplugged and even the most smart phone obsessed traveler can appreciate the get away. Traveling will force you to look up and see the view, experience the busy bazaars, and truly taste your meal.
5. Learning new things
You will learn a whole host of new things each time you travel. From understanding a culture’s etiquette to knowing pieces of their language, you’ll have to adapt if you want to travel without looking like a total jerk. If nothing else, you’ll learn how to get into the rhythm of traveling from converting yen to dollars to mastering their public transportation system.
6. You’ll gain a fresh perspective
One of the biggest benefits of traveling is coming back more open-minded and with a fresh perspective. If you never leave the confines of your town, state, or country you’ll never see how other people live their lives. When you see the smiling faces of Cambodians as they peer out from their ramshackle house, you may view your situation a little differently. Traveling puts you in direct contact with people who identify with a different faith, race, social standing, and lifestyle than you’re used to.
7. Get to know yourself
When you’re away from the comforts of home and your support system you’ll have to rely completely on yourself. You’ll discover things that you may have never known, like that you’re awesome at reading maps but horrible at French pronunciation. Traveling gets you away from it all and forces you to face yourself through alone time without the distraction of your phone, your friends, or your busy life.
8. You’ll be more interesting
Every aspect of traveling from the highs to the lows will make for interesting stories. Maybe you got on the wrong train in Delhi and traveled six hours in the wrong direction. It wasn’t funny then, but it will be to your friends at home. You’ll come home from traveling with a bunch of great stories to tell.
9. Lasting memories
Unlike the short-lived pleasure you get from buying a new TV, traveling provides lasting happiness through stories and memories. You’ll relive your time in Croatia when your co-worker expresses plans to travel there. You’ll remember that beautiful Parisian girl you wined and dined when you meet friends for happy hour at the wine bar. Traveling changes people and the memories that you’ll create will last a lifetime.