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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 July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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