"Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.”
For many things, travel is healthy, but it can also improve mental well-being-and not only in the short term. Traveling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, creating new experiences and memories, breaking routine and enabling you to meet people from all over the world, whether you're traveling for business, on a one-week family holiday, or having sold everything to live a life on the road.
So the next time you find yourself going out to lift your mood on a shopping spree, why not put the money towards a flight?
Here are the top reasons why, backed with research, you need that next trip to your favorite spot right now!
Travelling Is A Great Way To Rewire Your Brain
The Happiness 360 Conference established that the happiest people on earth travel more. I would add that if you surf and travel, that makes you even more comfortable.
Wikipedia defines happiness as "feeling pleasure or contentment". Hum, sounds like surfing to me. But why is satisfaction so important?
Well, the answer is simple. The happier you are, the healthier you are. And the healthier you are, the more creative and productive you can become. And I'll add, the more you can and want to surf.
So why is traveling so important for happiness?
Dr. Stefan Klein, the author of The Science of Happiness, believes that the pleasures of discovering new things and the joy that comes with meeting new people all come together to create a feeling of happiness in any traveler.
According to neuroscientists, when we travel, we rewire our brains. This is because new experiences are the key to building new neural pathways in mind. By rewiring your brain, your happiness coefficient goes up.
Traveling Improves Relationships
The happiest people have the most vital connections to others, be it family, friends, or the community. One of the best ways to improve these relationships is by traveling and experiencing new things together.
On surf trips, we tend to slow down, which means we have more time to connect with ourselves and those around us. That's why your surf buddies tend to be your closest friends—because you spend quality time with each other and share a more intimate connection.
Traveling creates an opportunity to have some of the most important memories of your life, and this level of connection does wonders for relationships.
Traveling Builds Connections
Through travel, you get to meet new people, people that you otherwise would never have met. You establish new relationships and start forming connections with a global community.
Some of my favorite people in life I have met traveling. I have kept friendships for decades after having spent just a few days or a week with someone. Add a dose of surf to this equation, and you get why I am so excited by surf travel.
The following is a video I made after meeting lots of these guys for the first time on a yearly trip to Mexico. It embodies the spirit I am trying to capture every time I travel.
My yearly surf trip to Mexico
Experiences Are More Valuable Than Things
Studies have shown that we value our experiences more than any material possessions we may own. Spending money on a new adventure is more important than buying something new because the experience stays with you forever, and you can always take it with you wherever you go.
When people are reminded of the excellent experience they had before, they instantly become much happier. As we age, this phenomenon only increases. Our overall satisfaction with experiences increases while the joy and happiness we get from buying new things reduces.
For more on this topic, see my article Does Buying More Gear Lead To Happiness. Here is a quote from the article: "A surf trip is as exciting today as it was a few decades ago, the sense of adventure and the excitement of forecasted swell arouse the surfers quality of life quotient more than a discussion of who will be president or what is on CNN." <<< The president part might be a stretch these days.
Memories Play Tricks On Us
It is not uncommon to hear travel stories of people and imagine they had a fantastic experience, with no downsides, even if it is logically impossible to have only highs and no lows on any occasion. When we share stories, we minimize the bad parts and make the right parts seem even better.
The same happens when we remember something we experienced before. You might have fallen sick on your trip, but you will hardly remember that part in a few years. Instead, those memories will be replaced by the best interests of the trip.
Travel is where you meet a part of yourself that
you never knew existed.
— Derek Dodds, Wave Tribe Founder
All Experiences Make Good Stories
The irony is that this is especially true for horrible experiences. If you are on a road trip in Mexico and your buddy tells you mid-trip in the middle of the night that you have run out of gas, you jump to the task of helping.
After walking for 2 hours in the dark and sleeping on the cold concrete in front of the closed gas station, you finally make it back to the truck with a gas can. Unfortunately, when you get close to the vehicle, you hear everyone laughing. Feeling tired and grim, you come to find out that your bro didn't realize that there was a second tank and all he had to do was turn the dial. That really happened, and though it sucked at the time, it makes a great story.
Having to spend days with friends or close family and enjoy the long nights of talks and laughter by the fire or while sharing a beer or two will definitely remain in your memories for a long time. All traveling stories are great opportunities to share our experiences with others, which only builds even stronger connections— always check for a second gas tank.