The intangible benefits of travel

There’s no disputing travelling is an expensive exercise. Flights and accommodation are just the tip of the iceberg with transfers, insurance, activities, eating, drinking and spending money all there to finish off your wallet.

And while there’s no doubt that some time off and possibly some sun are well worth the costs involved it’s really the intangible benefits that keep most of us coming back for more.

Since moving to London circa three years ago for a change and to be closer to Europe, I’ve always said money spent on travel is never wasted. And, while I technically couldn’t afford my current trip to Sicily, as soon as I stepped off the plane I knew it would be worth any financial strain it may cause. Which got me to thinking about the real – intangible – benefits of travelling. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Change
They say change is as good as a holiday and by nature that makes a holiday change. Back home it becomes easy to fall into routines. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, in fact, routines often help us to be more productive and stick to good habits. But no one wants to be stuck in a rut. A trip away is a break from our routine and allows us to review what’s working for us and what may not be serving us so well.

2. Perspective
It’s easy to get caught up in a problem, however, physical distance can make the worrying disappear. Travel helps to give us perspective that is lacking at home when emotions are running high. It’s almost impossible to stay mad at Jenny for spilling red wine on your carpet when you have more pressing things to attend to, such as whether you should go to the pool or beach tomorrow.

 3. Headspace
Ahh, the elusive word on everyone’s lips at the moment … headspace. It is about as easy to come by as cheap grand final tickets. Travelling is one immediate (if expensive) way to gain some much desired headspace. While your mind may still be racing when you step on the plane, within a few days I guarantee it will not.  The reason I came to Sicily from a million-miles-per-hour London, and why I take many of my trips, is that it really is hard to put a price on the headspace travel provides.

4. Empathy/compassion
The world would be a much better place if we all had more empathy and compassion. It can be hard to relate to the suffering of so many from our comfortable life back home. But travel opens our eyes and hearts to what many other humans call everyday life. Unless you are heartless (which I hope you are not), it’s much harder not to care about those suffering when you’ve witnessed it firsthand.

5. Inspiration
Many of us are creative beings at heart. Travel is a wonderful way to tap into our creativity and draw inspiration from new landscapes, colours, surroundings and cultures. If you’re anything like me, you probably find yourself coming back from most trips with another entrepreneurial idea …Sicily has me wanting to go into the beach cover-up business!

6. Worldliness
As the saying goes, great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. You may have noticed that people you know who don’t get out or travel much, do indeed spend their lives gossiping or discussing others. The good news is it’s hard to become too caught up in other people’s business when you’re out seeing the world and becoming more worldly.

Clearly, we all have our constraints on how much we can travel. But, regardless of how often you go, rest assured any money spent on travelling is never wasted. I set an intention at the start of the year to spend less on material things and more on travel, and am a much better person for doing so. Travel with an open mind and heart and it will be worth every penny.

At the very least everyone looks better with a tan!

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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