Kale. Meditation. A good night’s sleep. You know all these things are good for you (even if you don’t always incorporate them into your daily routine). A vital addition to that list is travel, which offers a host of health benefits to your mind, body, and soul.
Anybody who has traveled outside his or her comfort zone can attest to the excitement that comes from being in a new environment. As research has shown, travel is not only exciting; it also offers the following six health benefits.
1. Promotes Heart Health
Travel promotes physical activity, whether it is rushing through the airport, walking the streets of a foreign land, or climbing a mountain. Physical movement lowers blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.
According to information gathered from the Framingham Heart Study, a landmark study that began in 1948 and spanned over the course of 20 years, women who vacationed only every six years or less were nearly eight times more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who traveled at least twice a year.
2. Keeps the Mind Sharp
Travel also can promote brain health and keep the mind sharp. When your brain is introduced to new experiences and environments (which happens during travel, essentially) it becomes challenged and builds resilience at the cellular level so degenerative disease is potentially delayed. This increase in cognitive stimulation due to exposure to novelty has been shown to improve both memory and concentration, particularly in individuals with dementia. Similarly, when you travel, you interact with novel stimuli in the form of new people, cultures, situations, and experiences, which can contribute to the delayed onset of degenerative disease.
Note: While you may like to frequent the same vacation spot every year, switching up the destination will allow your brain to reap the benefits that result from different activities and location.
3. Enhances Creativity
Turns out writers have good reason to travel to a different country in search of inspiration and motivation for their next novel. The brain’s neural pathways are influenced by environment and experience (the brain’s adaptability is also known as neuroplasticity), which leads researchers to believe that travel can spark synapses in the brain and enhance creativity.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found a strong link between creativity and travellers’ immersions into cultures different from their own. According to the study, the better you are at engaging and adapting to new cultures, the more creative and professionally successful you will be. In order to actually enhance creativity, the author stresses the importance of immersing yourself in new cultures, rather than simply changing your physical location.
4. Relieves Stress and Boosts Mental Health
Stress reduction is one of the most important benefits of travel, according to the Global Coalition on Aging. According to a 2012 Expedia survey, 89 percent of vacationers found they could let go of stress and just relax after only a day or two into their trip. Pulling yourself out of your daily routines and into new surroundings resets both your mind and body, resulting in significant stress relief.
Moreover, leisure activities, such as travelling, can lower levels of depression and improve psychological functioning, according to a 2009 University of Kansas study. You can experience a boost in happiness even while planning a trip (up to eight weeks before setting off to your destination). Having something to look forward to, even if it’s a two-day trip, can feel rewarding. Vacationers also likely experience less stress and more satisfaction with their overall mood and outlook after returning from a trip compared to non-travellers.
5. Shifts Perspective
Travel broadens your perspectives, not only of the world but also of yourself. When traveling you may often find yourself in situations that you wouldn’t be in otherwise. You are faced with the reality of living outside your comfort zone, which, as uncomfortable as it is, gives you the opportunity to transform how you see things. Psychologists point out that people often have epiphanies while travelling, as they are able to view their problems from a more detached view.
Watching firsthand how other people live, almost like viewing the world through someone else’s eyes, can also broaden your view. Watching how other cultures live can force you to challenge your own assumptions and free your mind to experience alternative ways of being.
6. Increases Connection to Others and Self
Travel offers opportunities to meet new people that you otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to connect with. When you are outside of your comfort zone in a different country, you may have to look to others for guidance, which can create a sense of connectedness. Whether you obtain this connection by engaging with the locals, other travelers, or even those you are travelling with, making social connections, or deepening the ones you already have, can improve your mental and physical health.
Moreover, the social aspects of travel can enhance your sense of self. Research has shown that when you get out of your social comfort zone and immerse yourself into cultures different from your own, you strengthen your personal identity, including your values and beliefs, and increase your confidence.
We live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Brisbane is an absolutely awesome place to live and an even more awesome place to raise kids! We have wonderful weather, a great outdoor lifestyle, beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife, loads of cool things happening and brilliant facilities and services for residents.
We also love to take holidays and have adventures around Australia and the Pacific, day trips around Brisbane, including the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
We love Art, Sunday Drives, Tropical destinations, The Beach, BBQ’s, Spending time together and with friends and having a good laugh.
We Love Living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Flying Out Of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Destination: Cairns, Northern Queensland, Australia
Cairns, Queensland, Australia – December 2016
Cairns is Australia’s gateway to northern Queensland. From here you can visit the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree rainforest, the Atherton tablelands, Cape Tribulation, and much more. Cairns is a pretty typical tropical city, and life here focuses on taking the time to smell the roses. With so much to see, the city deserves a longer stay than most people give it. I would stay 3-4 days, which will give you enough time to explore the area, plus spend some time lounging by the pool. This Australian town may be small, but it will leave you wanting more.
I have been flying up there for around 28yrs now. I was addicted to the place from my first visit and now have taken 3 out of my 4 children up there 3 times and now it is there favourite place.
Cairns, Queensland, Australia – May and August 2017
Flying out of Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Destination: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
I have had 3 trips up to Cairns in just 12mths. I love it that much!
On one trip, I had my first visit to Kurunda Markets.
Kuranda is known as The Village in a Rainforest, made famous by the Kuranda Markets many years ago. The original market section is still there as well as the Heritage Markets and the New Markets. Really the whole village is a big market. We found the original section to be more alternate, tied died clothing, dreadlocks, incense etc. The new markets are really lots of souvenir shops and the Heritage more modern type of markets. It gets busy when the Kuranda train from Cairns comse in. Overall it’s a very pleasant place.
Kuranda Heritage Markets includes hand made products, natural organic produce, stallholder information, online market stalls, art and craft.
At Kuranda Heritage Markets there is a distinct tropical theme amongst products and of course the setting is the perfect backdrop to set the ambient mood. Here you will find a large variety of local artists selling hand painted plates, blown glass, pottery, sculpture, hand painted fabrics and other such tropical fauna and flora styled crafts.
You will also be surprised to discover several products unique to Kuranda Heritage Markets such as 100% pure emu oil said to be excellent for relief of arthritis, muscle pain, skin problems and burns, plus hand-painted emu eggs, Australian gemstones, fresh-water pearl jewellery, sun catchers and locally made woodwork, handcrafts, toys and delicious locally grown organic coffee.
My girls would swim in the Esplanade Lagoon all day in the centre of Cairns if they could!
A day spent at the Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon is the perfect way to soak up some sun, enjoy some safe swimming, meet some other tourists to catch up with your friends and take in the views of the stunning Trinity Inlet and mountains that line the horizon of Cairns city in Queensland Australia.
While there are plenty of nearby restaurants and coffee shops at and near the swimming lagoon, locals like to lay out a picnic at one of the many tables located in the surrounding park grounds under the huge Banyan Trees. Dotted along the boardwalk of the Cairns Esplanade right by the Swimming Lagoon are 12 BBQ facilities that are cleaned daily and are available for use throughout the day.
The Cairns Swimming Lagoon on the Esplanade is a magnet for backpackers from around the world as a sunbaking and social gathering place, a place for locals to get fit on all the exercise equipment dotted thru the parks and the esplanade boardwalk, a place for little children and family to have fun on the play equipment and to learn to swim
A short walk north along the beachfront boardwalk you will discover a world of fun for families at Muddy’s Playground, along with a Skatepark, Beach Volleyball, Healing Garden playground and at the northern end the Funship Playground.
OUR FIRST CRUISE ON PACIFIC DAWN!
PORTS – Brisbane, Noumea, Lifou, Port Vila, Brisbane
A list of things you might get up to during a P&O Pacific Island Hopper Cruise includes snorkelling in Lifou, strolling on tropical beaches in New Caledonia, and staying
in luxury onboard the ship throughout, but it’s really the unique combination of everything this week-long getaway provides that makes it so spectacular.
The sense of relaxation and adventure begins the second you step aboard the Pacific Dawn , as this return trip from Brisbane takes you to a handful of the most glorious island locations the Pacific has to offer.
When the ship is so comfortable, activities on board so numerous, shore excursions so appealing, and the destinations themselves so tropical and dreamlike, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular trip. Plus, the 7-night timeframe makes it relatively easy to schedule a break from work and real life, but it’s still long enough to truly unwind.
The Pacific Dawn offers room for 1,546 guests, which in cruise ship terms is definitely on the small side, so you’ll enjoy a more intimate experience on board. If you’ve ever felt worn out with your daily life or have yearned for an exciting new adventure, this one’s for you.
Pacific Island Hopper itinerary
Day one: Depart Brisbane
Day two: At sea
Day three: Arrive Noumea, New Caledonia
Day four: Arrive Lifou, New Caledonia
Day five: Arrive Vila, Vanuatu
Day six: At sea
Day seven: At sea
Day eight: Arrive Brisbane
Activities and amenities on board the Pacific Dawn
The Dawn has recently undergone a refurbishment that revamped the nightclub, added two new dining rooms and an incredible waterpark, giving cruisers more to love about this crowd favourite.
The P&O Edge Adventure Park is one of the most noticeable features of the ship. This is where you can easily spend your days at sea swimming, flying down the zipline, attempting the slack line, or hurtling down the waterslides. It’s Australia’s largest park at sea and one that promises plenty of fun in between shore excursions.
You can easily keep yourself entertained with shopping, wine tasting, both fine cuisine and buffet-style dining, fitness classes, spa treatments, gambling at the casino, or checking out the live music every night. The Pacific Dawn features so many activities and amenities on board that you could easily enjoy a fulfilling and exciting holiday without ever leaving the ship.
My children and I are currently planning for cruise number 5 on this beautiful ship.
Port Vila, Vanuatu
In this nation of tiny islands and indigenous villages, Port Vila is the exception: a bustling port town with hotels, restaurants and markets to delight visitors and cruise ship passengers. The 150-foot-high Mele Cascades waterfall is the ideal place to refresh yourself in the South Pacific heat. For a glimpse of real Vanuatu culture and traditions, travelers say a trip to Ekasup Village is a must.
We personally love the Cascade Waterfalls and Mele Bay Tavern.
Cascade Waterfalls, Port Vila, Vanuatu