Have you ever been on a vacation or even a business trip to a place that when you look back, gives you a warm memory? 

A place where you have been with friends or family that has become your happy place?

Travel can do that. 

Research shows that the benefits of travel go far deeper than just our wish to visit a certain place because we have seen it on TV or the internet. According to a study conducted at Cornell University, the memories of your travel experience will continue to supply you with the happiness hormones for a very long time after. According to the author of this research, Dr Gilovich, the reason behind this is that the experience you had becomes part of the fabric of your being. 

While traveling, your brain is busy absorbing new information from the place you are visiting; the cultural experiences you are partaking in. This, in turn, creates a supply of memories that support your health and wellbeing. 

So, the next time you are feeling down, look for ways to create travel opportunities to allow you to increase your way to stimulate your happiness hormones.

Yes, I hear some of you saying: what if you don’t have the money for a vacation? Or nobody to go with?

Tips to create your travel muscle:

  1. Start small 

If you haven’t travelled much before and want to start, then make a list of places in your home town that you have never been to. When an athlete, both professional or amateur, decides to run a marathon they don’t go out the first day and run 26 miles, they have to build up to it. 

As a traveller, sometimes we have to build up to it too. 

So, first, start with your home town. Research what’s available for a visitor to see and do. Pick something that interests you and go visit it as if you are coming into town as a non-resident.

  1. Build Your Confidence 

Confidence is defined as “the belief in oneself and the ability to succeed”. It comes from the Latin word “fidere”, which means to trust. So again, start small.

Write down 5 things you are afraid of, and pick one to work on. Exercise that muscle. 

It could be dining in a restaurant alone, which if you are wanting to go solo traveling could be scary. There are plenty of opportunities to reward yourself in this arena. Start with coffee in a coffee shop and don’t get on your phone or device. Then work up to a restaurant where food is the agenda, not what is on a small screen. 

I have to say some of the best tips of where to go to get the best travel experiences from the places I have been having come from dining alone in a restaurant. A few years ago, I was in Tuscany for my birthday and my friends left before I did so I was alone for a few days. In a restaurant in Viareggio, a gentleman at the next table started talking and asked where I had visited and where else I wanted to visit. In the conversation, he directed me to the spa town of Montecatini, a town that wasn’t on my list and neither was a spa day. Yet both happened, as too did a ride up the vernacular railway with the stunning views across the Tuscan countryside. 

  1. Stretch your boundaries constantly

It is very easy to get complacent and bumble along doing the same thing over and over again because it is easy and safe. Yet that doesn’t keep satisfying us as human beings. We are designed to learn as Buckminster Fuller says by making mistakes. 

And stretching our comfort zone creates the opportunity to get it wrong the first time. 

Somethings we decide we want to try can turn out that we don’t like them. And do you know what? That’s ok! Because, fantastically, it creates a space for us to try something else. When life is clogged up with things that are just filling a gap, we have left no space to try something new. So push yourself to stretch. Tell people you want to try something new. Get their support.

  1. Find yourself someone who will hold you accountable

Being held accountable is a great way to make a new opportunity to occur. When we tell some one we want to do something, it gives that idea momentum. It is not just a wish or an idea anymore it allows it to gain momentum and for it to become a reality. Plus having someone else excited about what you want creates support a sounding board for your idea and a place to exchange thoughts and suggestions when you get stuck.

  1. Go out there and just give it a go

The thing is, as you start this journey and start talking to other people you will often meet people who say, “oh I couldn’t do that” and you get to share with them how you got started and guess what? As my second point states, you are building your confidence because suddenly you are the expert the one able to give advice to others.

Have fun on this journey because life really can be fun and until you start, you have no idea what you are truly capable of.