The importance of travel for mental health.
International travel has made a triumphant return in 2022. As more people are getting vaccinated and we are all safely learning to reintegrate back into social settings, we’re optimistic that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon and that we will all get to travel around the world together again.
At FTLO we understand the value and benefit of travel for mental wellness. As we resume our trips to countries that are safely opening their borders, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the importance of travel as a tool for aiding mental health and wellness.
We don’t have all the answers and we aren’t mental health experts, but we do know a thing or two about how transformational travel can be and how useful of a tool for mental health travel can be. We know how it can help with regaining a sense of independence, freedom, and reawakening after a long pandemic.
Here are some of the main reasons we want to encourage everyone to keep travel in mind as a tool for resetting in the next year - whether that means a weekend at the beach, a week in Greece, or a month-long getaway to Italy.
Travel reminds you that you're a strong, capable person. Travel requires a certain level of independence, because no one else is going to take the initiative to set up your vacation. They might be able to help you with itineraries and logistics (OK, fine, we can help!), but at the end of the day, travel requires initiative. Once you realize your potential to plan and make decisions, anything is possible!
Travel inspires new ideas. It’s almost impossible to travel to a new place and not feel inspired by everything new that you are encountering... food, technology, or people. Wherever you go, your creativity will flourish, and who knows where that could take you next.
Travel provides a new lens for evaluating yours and the world’s problems. It’s easy to forget that the challenges you face in life - though valid and real - are proportionate to your own lived experiences. The scale of your problems changes once you step outside of your immediate surroundings and into the complex and changing world, and it’s easier to put your hardships and shared human experiences into perspective.
Travel ignites spontaneity and curiosity. If you’re not already the most spontaneous and curious person in the world, traveling will ignite (and sometimes demand!) those characteristics in you and you'll be unstoppable!
Travel brings out the most authentic you. When you’re traveling somewhere new, you’re experiencing new things, meeting new people and in a constant process of learning. So when you’re traveling, you’re going to meet the most vulnerable, real, confused, amazed, open, curious, and resourceful version of yourself that you never knew you could be.
Travel reminds you that the world is big and ready to embrace you. Regardless of what’s going on in your life, there is a big world out there ready to welcome you, embrace you, and hold you during the good and the bad times. There are more people to be met, more jobs to apply for, more conversations waiting to happen, and more of the world that would benefit from you, as you would benefit from it.
Lastly, it’s time to remember what exploring and socializing feels like again. Especially after such a year of uncertainty, closures, and few opportunities to socialize safely, it’s time to see things in person again, it’s time to see the world through new lenses and to appreciate all that the planet has to offer.
So if you’re stuck in a mental rut from the past few years, remember that your mental health is worth taking care of and investing time in. Tend to your mental health the way you would tend to a sprained ankle or injured wrist: with immediate attention and care. We like to travel for mental wellness. It soothes us, helps us, and guides us, and we're firm believers it can help others too.
We also want to remind you that there are many resources out there that were created to help everyone reach a state of mental well-being, including medical and licensed professionals, online resources, and even just talk groups to help you wade through any and all things. Travel is yet another important element to the equation of everlasting personal growth and mental wellness, and a resource that will always be available to you, especially here at FTLO.
To learn more about the FTLO and our upcoming group trips - and wellness trips! - visit ftlotravel.com.