Travel is often spoken of as though it’s a magical cure for everything. I don’t know if it’s quite that, but an adventurous vacation can certainly help with a lot of personal problems…
More people have problems with shyness than you’d think. They’re afraid of making a fool of themselves, of going up to new people and interacting, of making themselves noticed. One of the reasons that travel be great at combating shyness is that it often puts you in positions where you have to stop being shy!
The fact is that traveling does often make it necessary for you to come out your shell a little. Not a lot of people can get by in a new place without striking up a brief conversation with a local when they need some help. If you’re staying in a hostel or a small bed and breakfast in order to save some money, then not interacting with other people just makes everything feel more awkward.
Depression, like shyness, affects a surprisingly large number of people. While there’s no such thing as a simple cure for a depressive disorder – even pills and counseling can only go so far for most people! – there are loads of ways in which you can lift your spirits in the long-term. Exercising, eating right, being creative – and traveling.
Travel helps you combat depression because it gives you a sense of actually doing something – and a lot of people who struggle with depression often feel that they’re stuck in a rut, not doing anything particularly interesting. Going somewhere new, experiencing different weather, meeting new people – it all helps you feel better. At the very least, it will help distract you!
There are a lot of words you could use to describe the world right now. Confusing. Strange. Absurd. Many would probably choose the word ‘scary’ above all others. Sure, the world has always been a scary place – but there’s something distinctly grotesque about the world right now, surely?
Traveling helps you put those worries to bed. Yes, there are horrible and baffling things going on all over the world. Maybe that puts you in a bit of a funk sometimes. Maybe it prevents you from even wanting to travel for fears of your own safety. But trust me – when you visit more places and see a lot more of other people’s everyday lives, you’ll start to fear the world a little less. It’s no Disney movie, but it’s no horror show, either.
One of the most common phobias in the world is that of flying. (And, to be honest, part of me still feels that you have to be just a little bit insane not to be a tiny bit scared of being in a metal can tens of thousands of feet in the air going at hundreds of miles per hour.) While it would be a lie to say that traveling more often will definitely make you fear it less, it certainly helps for most people.
A fear of flying is often tied to fears of the unknown. It often seems to beggar belief that we can fly so safely. Understanding the deceptively simple physics behind it can certainly help, but actually getting on a plane is probably the best way to do it. Why not try taking a plane to a closer destination instead of an international train? (It’s often cheaper, anyway!)
I’m not talking about the fear of being alone in the long term. I’m referring to people’s often-irrational desire to not be in their own company. It can stem from a lack of confidence, or too big a reliance on others. To some, traveling alone would seem to be the worst possible thing you could do in this situation. But it may actually be the best.
Traveling alone can help you overcome the worries of, well, being alone. It boosts your confidence – everything I mentioned in the ‘shyness’ section goes double when you’re by yourself! It also helps you get a stronger sense of yourself. By taking a solo holiday, you may surprise yourself by how un-lonely you end up feeling when there’s so much around you to discover. It may help you rethink ‘being alone’ when you’re back at home.
Even when people go away for a relatively short time, they often feel a little homesick quite quickly. It’s often thought of as a mild, nagging sensation that can be easily dismissed – and it probably is that way for most people. But for others, homesickness can be so overwhelming that it dampens the entire trip.
The more you travel, the more you learn to get over these feelings. In the meantime, you can do this by ensuring you’re always doing something to distract yourself, even if it’s simply wandering around and taking in the sights. Check out these tips for beating homesickness on the road.