All of us have probably found ourselves mildly depressed at least once in our lives, with or without any particular explanation. It could be any combination of reasons or it could be something that bothers us without realizing what that something really is. Or it might be the routine we live in and we just need a change.
Before thinking of paying a visit to a therapist, I would suggest taking a trip somewhere. I can guarantee you that, by the time you are back, you’ll feel much better – or at least you’ll have a clearer idea of what is bothering you and how to change it. Yes, travel does that to you. It opens your eyes, opens your heart, unlocks and unblocks you and makes your anxiety slip away.
HOW DO I KNOW?
Besides my personal struggles where travel proved to be my antidote, several studies involving scientific research prove exactly the same thing: Traveling, millennia’s favorite hobby, is stress relieving and curing.
Who am I to doubt that?
To add to that theory, I asked several people from different countries, backgrounds, sex and age a very simple question to get their personal perspective: What does traveling mean to you?
Their replies went deeper than what I expected, things like “it teaches us not to be afraid”, “it is how I recharge”, “expanding horizons”, “it’s a time to enjoy life”, “discovering oneself”, “fighting my/your fears”, “leaving your comfort zone” while most of them gave me the answer “meeting new people & making new friends”.
Click HERE for the full post THE MEANING OF TRAVELING
If that doesn’t describe what travel does to people, then I don’t know what does.
It’s a way to meet new people.
Which means to be able to socialize, exchange ideas, meet new cultures, have alternative conversations, and see things from a different angle. That alone can help so much with mild depression. Meeting new people, hearing and relating to their perspective- a fresh one that you never heard from your friends or family back home, which will also happen to be the one you really need – will make an impact on your life. Do not doubt that, it happens more often than you think.
Also you’ll be able to meet people with problems way bigger than yours which will make you appreciate the life you have and view it differently. That’s what happened to me when I went to Egypt, where I saw people simply trying to survive. People who lived in graveyards. People who will never ever have the chances I had in my life. Yet they were still smiling and enjoying their lives, one day at a time. They seemed to enjoy the small things, like a picture I asked to take of them, a falafel wrap I offered them, and just the fact that someone had noticed them. That was such a healing trip for me. It made me realize, among other things, how lucky I am and how small my problems actually are.
It is different when you see it in person than when you watch it on the news or NatGeoTravel. And way different when it is YOUR experience and not the one you read on my blog.
So cash out that check you were saving and book an airline ticket before you book a doctor’s appointment and TRAVEL.
Because to travel is to live.
And so many of us get depressed because we forget how to live. We are consumed by what society dictates and what the mass does and we forget that each one of us needs different things to fulfill us. Take a step back, relax, find a destination you really want to visit and try to mingle with the locals.
Leave your comfort zone and dare to do something different. Go to Norway and watch the Northern Lights, visit the Great Pyramids in Egypt, crash a Greek Wedding (they are usually big, you won’t get noticed :p), book a hiking tour to Mount Kilimanjaro, visit the Monkey Forest in Bali, go to a yoga retreat in India, have a beer in a pub in Texas… just DO what you’ve always wanted to do when the “buts” were too big and responsibilities held you back. Put you first. Prioritize.
I’m sure there is one thing you’ve been meaning to do your whole life.
There’s no better time than now!
The cure for your depression is just one ticket away.