Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show. This quote is from an unknown person, which should form the basis of our lives. There is an inherent wisdom in this that urges us to focus on creating experiences rather than accumulating physical wealth! Ideally, the title of this article is not correct! You don’t need a reason to travel. You travel because you want to! Neither should you have excuses not to travel. Because as the great author Paulo Coelho said, travel is never a matter of money but of courage.
You must have read about the old couple, Mr. Vijayan and his wife Mohana from Kerala, who ran the Sri Balaji Coffee House in Kochi. Known as the travelling couple, they travelled 26 countries in 16 years before Mr. Vijayan passed away in 2021. However, the takeaway from their story is the spirit and courage to travel despite humble earnings from a teashop. They decided to follow their passion and create memories and made it happen! We were quite happy to see that 63.6% of the seniors who responded to our last week’s survey on travel said they travel multiple times a year.
Travel opens our minds, makes us humbler, more tolerant of other cultures, and less judgemental about diverse ways of life. Many studies have proved that travel provides many mental health benefits to people, especially seniors. It keeps them happy and free from anxiety and aids in better sleep. It also helps them prevent or control many chronic diseases. More importantly, there is evidence that it can prevent or delay cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s because travel does impact our brains positively. One recently published study also said that travelling aids longevity in seniors with long-term health benefits. It also said travel provides seniors self-enrichment and self-identity for active ageing. Notably, 68.2% of seniors also mentioned their relationships with loved ones strengthened because of travel.
Do you still need reasons for travel? If yes, here you go!
In some way, you must be aware that travel is the passport to your good mental health. Researchers say that a reduction in novel experiences deteriorates your mental well-being. This has been corroborated by your responses in the survey! 81.8% of you said that improved mental and emotional well-being was the most positive impact travel has had on your life. It means everyone needs to break free from their mundane routines occasionally. Perhaps, that’s what Paulo Coelho tried to sum up in his quote, if you think adventures are dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal! Travel is a recreation that forces your brain to wake up and acknowledge new activities and experiences. It puts you in a good mood and improves your productivity up to a month post-travel. It is a great social connector. Even if you are not travelling in a group, you interact with people on the go. Sometimes, doing nothing and taking a chill pill, looking out at vast expanses of sea or greenery from atop a mountain, can do wonders for your soul.
Most of us have bucket lists for travel. For the generation who grew up watching the Yash Chopra movies, it could start from Switzerland! Perhaps, some of you always wanted to see Niagara Falls or the Statue of Liberty. Or it is the enchanting beauty of the Northern Lights that you want to experience in person. These days, you need not go to Amsterdam for Tulip gardens! Our Kashmir is as good an option. The lure of the Middle East mysteries is another option, whereas, for some, it may be the call of the Down Under or the African Safari! Whatever your bucket list start working on it to create memories. Looks like most of you are aware how beneficial travelling for recreation is as 40.9% of you mentioned that you travel for the desire of new experiences and adventure.
The spiritual pull is a little more as we age, they say. Whether you want to visit Angkor Wat or the Char Dham, Mecca, Medina, or Bethlehem, never has it been easier to make the arrangements. Pilgrimage is one thing you must explore before it is too late. Find your mental peace by offering prayers at your favourite pilgrimage centres.
It is not uncommon for people to combine leisure with business. So, even if you are travelling to meet a business partner, you can plan to visit places around. If you are attending a professional seminar somewhere, find out what’s worth visiting nearby and make suitable arrangements. Use the opportunity to get the best out of it, and take your family along.
Even if you travel for fun, it could always throw up some adventures for which you have not planned! Many people have faced unplanned situations during travel, such as missed flights, lost baggage or devices, transit VISA issues, etc. It does keep you on your feet and your mind sharp. However, let’s hope none of you find such adventures and will only undertake planned ones. Explore the Roman landscape, Machu Picchu in Peru, or the Scandinavian Mountain treks if you are up for adventure. Even our Amarnath and Kailash Manasarovar yatras are adventurous in a way. Travel because it is worth it to tell tales to your loved ones.
Issues during travel are not uncommon as confirmed by 36.4% of seniors in our survey. However, those can be overcome. The brighter spot is people have made lasting friendships (40.9%) and picked up new hobbies (63.6%). We end on a happy note knowing that a whopping 95.5% of you will recommend travel to other seniors! Well, the more, the merrier, they say.