Life is stressful. Working, bills, the economy, errands, love, family, commuting- lots of stress. It all adds to the mountain and causes us much anxiety. When people feel stress, it’s important we relieve it and one of the best ways to do that is to travel. Travel can refresh us. It is like a time out from life- just like from grade school but this time it is fun. It slows us down, makes us stop and smell the roses, and creates a little change from the norm in our life.
But isn’t that irresponsible to just leave? Not at all. Is it irresponsible to let yourself be so overworked and overstressed? Life is for living and enjoying not sitting in an office. Travel makes a great break for when you are feeling low. Whether you take a weekend, a week, a month, or a year, just getting out and doing something different can recharge the batteries. The excitement, the fun, the new places give you more energy and bring you back into focus.
Think about it. You are away from all the stress in your life. You are in a new environment. There is a lot to see. A lot to do. People to meet and places to go. You can do what you want and that is the most stress free experience out there. By focusing on your mental health, you can return to work and your responsibilities with new focus and commitment because you have cleared your head.
Most people think travel is expensive but only because they see all the advertisements on TV for fancy vacations and believe all travel is like that. But only a small fraction of travel is like that. Traveling is actually very cheap. With the economy doing poorly, that is even more important today than ever before (though low cost has always been good). As an added bonus, travel companies are now slashing prices and airlines are cutting fares to try to get people to travel more so the cost of traveling is getting even cheaper.
Which means it is a great time to take a life time out. Most people would say this is the wrong time to be spending but if you think about it, it is actually the best time. When the economy is good, you’ll be in demand and will be able to make the most money you can earn. If you are off spending your days in Fiji (which I recommend) or some other tropical island, you’re missing out on your chance to maximize your earnings.
But when the economy is bad, you are most likely going to be fired or unable to find a great high paying job. The average person now waits four months to find a job. If you are going to spend four months doing anything, why not spend it in Europe or China or bouncing around Central America? Best to ride out the storm somewhere else. Moreover, you may find a new passion or opportunity that would never have presented itself otherwise.
Author Tim Ferris is famous for his book on the four hour work week. That may not be realistic for all of us but he strikes upon a great point in his book- the idea of mini-retirements. Most of us work towards retirement, that time when we can sit back, relax, and do what we want instead of what we have to do. But by the time most of us get there, we’re old, we can’t do what we wanted when we were younger, life is different, or we might be sick. Or maybe, we never make it to retirement. People put off their dreams for a future that may never come. You can’t delay life. You just need to make the most of it now. Taking a break is like a mini-retirement. It gives you a chance to stop delaying all those things you want to do and helps you relax because when was the last time you really did that?
So the next time you have visions of white sand beaches or climbing Mt. Everest, just do it. You never know what you’ll miss by waiting.