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15 Reasons Traveling Is the Wise Man’s Addiction

15 Reasons Traveling Is the Wise Man’s Addiction

When I mention travel, what do you think of? Do you think of glorious architecture balancing over the canals of Venice while Gondolas glide over the water? Do you think of the magnificent rainstorms of Vietnam? The markets of Istanbul? The art of Italy? Let’s face it, We have lives that tend toward the mundane. The doldrums wait around every corner when you have lingered too long in your routine. We need the promise of tropical sunsets and impossibly lovely meals in a piazza surrounded by fountains carved centuries ago by artists long gone to pull us into the future. Yes, travel is addictive but as addictions go, you could do a lot worse. If you indulge this addiction, you come out healthier and happier, especially if you indulge it a lot. Oh, you want specifics?

1. You have something great to look forward to

The long rainy days of Winter are much sweeter when you are thinking about your upcoming trip to the tropics with you looking amazing in your new bathing suit (Isn’t it funny that your imaginative future self is always slim with hair and nails just done?)

2. You learn to think on your feet

Airports can be very stressful. They wind around and sometimes you have to go up several floors, take a tram somewhere and find your gate, all in an hour long layover. Everyone in the airport looks relaxed like they know where they are going and you are the only one completely lost. Finding your way is a challenge but everyone seems to make it through. Things happen to you when you travel. It can be unpredictable. That is what makes it so exciting.

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3. You have to confront talking to people you don’t know

You would be amazed at how many people are deathly afraid of talking to people. This is a hidden anxiety, especially in the US. People are not always so bad and as you travel and meet more people, you start to see that most people are like you.

4. You learn to try new things

I once traveled to Belgium with my family when I was 17 years old. I spoke no French whatsoever because I was doodling in French class when I should have been paying attention. For the first week I ate only Demi-poulet e frites (Half a chicken and fries) until I got brave and tried something else. I never ended up with anything weird and most of the time it worked out. There are so many new things to eat in another culture. It is really fun to sample everything.

5. You learn to accept another culture

Several years ago, my husband and I purchased a home in a Southern Italian hill town. It is the most wonderful place I can think of. At one point I asked my friend who owns that little store in the piazza what it was like growing up there. She pointed to the balcony across the piazza from us. “That is my cousin” she said and pointed at several other apartments next to it and told me that her aunts, uncles and other cousins all lived there. As if on cue, they appeared on their balconies yelling greetings. “It is a family” she said and then she took me on a passeggiatta (a walk) through the town where we shook peoples’ hands, kissed babies and caught up with all the recent news. Not many of us do that here. It was a totally different culture and I loved it.

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6. You make friends easily

While traveling I have made friends for a plane ride and friends that I will keep forever. A few years ago I ended up on the intercity train from Cremona to Scalea; Italy from tip to toe. Half of the journey I shared a cabin with a group of people from Napoli. They spent the journey sharing their meals and asking me all kinds of questions about America. They really wanted to know. It was lovely. We did not exchange addresses but I left with a vague promise to look for them when I came to Napoli. Still, they are friends and they are somewhere in that big city. This makes Napoli seem friendly even though I have only been through there briefly.

7. You get out of your routine

Routine is a joy killer in life. Mix it up! Go somewhere ridiculous (but not dangerous) Go see the Taj Mahal! Go see the Eiffel Tower! GO SEE! Get a different view.

8. You can see your life from a distance

Whenever I travel, I notice that I stay sort of psyched up for about three days then I relax and really start looking at things. The rush of daily life fades and you can take a good look at your life from outside it. Viewing something from outside it is way more powerful than viewing something while you are stuck in it. You would be amazed at the solutions you can come up with for problems that seemed unsolvable before.

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9. You see, feel and live history

Life for most here in the Good Ol’ US of A only goes back about 200 years (unless you’re a native American). We are babies in terms of world history. The pyramids have us beat by a country mile. The renaissance happened 200 years before America was a gleam in our forefathers’ eyes. Standing and looking at the Greek temples at Paestum is awe inspiring. When you look at these ruins, you can easily build up the walls in your imagination and see the markets, the city center and the tall torches used to light the streets. You can live in history.

10. You see the works of masters

From churches built over centuries to bodies of work done by artists all in one lifetime, these were masters. They built buildings and created art with such care for details that they are revered as treasures today. The work of masters like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Rafael have to be seen in person to be fully experienced. Stand in front of the Doni Tondo by Michelangelo in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence surrounded by other works of art and you will see what the human spirit, discipline and passion can do. You can’t get that from a book or a television screen. you have to go there.

11. You learn new languages

Even if you travel within the US, there are slang words and phrases that are different and colorful. If you are really confident you can head off to Japan or another country in the Far East. My husband has traveled extensively in Japan and other Asian countries and it can be tough to find a bathroom if you don’t learn the language! See points 3 and 6.

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12. The food!

Chefs are the same in all parts of the planet. They spend their lives designing dishes to make people happy. Whether you are at Al Caminetto in Tortola, Italy or the new BBQ place around the corner, these people go out of their way to please you. You get to try something new three times a day. Don’t waste any opportunity.

13. The pastries!

What is it about Europe that they are all completely insane about pastries? Every pastry I have had over there has been so mouth watering, so flaky, so perfectly balanced, that I almost fall into a weepy heaps after putting one in my mouth. They are CRAZY!

14. The coffee

Everywhere you go people LOVE coffee. The cafes in Italy and all over Europe are known for their seriousness about coffee. There is no watered down Folger’s over there. Every time I go to Europe, I save half my suitcase for coffee. One would think I was a drug mule with all the coffee I bring back. I love it.

15. The wine

I love red wine. I don’t over indulge, but there is nothing like sitting on the balcony over the Bella Vista restaurant in Santa Domenica Talao, watching the sun set over the Mediterranean, the ancient village in the back ground turning gold in the falling light and sipping someone’s home made red wine and smelling your meal as it cooks. It is just the best thing there is. Have I hooked you yet?

More by this author

Chris Ellis

Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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