A great benefit to travel is that you get to have fun. You know, like when you were a kid, put on the red Superman cape with the handy Velcro that attached right to the PJs and flew off the top rung of the bunk bed. Or when you played house and made cookies in your Easy Bake oven. Remember when playing house and cleaning up was fun? Want to go home and sweep the floors now? NO, of course you don't. Now you do that daily or weekly or monthly (need I go on...?). Travel allows you to try new things, have new experiences and enjoy it.
FUN For some reason, when we break from the everyday grind and "go on vacation" - particularly when we leave the immediate physical vicinity of our living space (translation: you stand up from your favorite chair, walk past the front door, and out into the rest of the world") - people tend to try new experiences.
In a recent article in USA Today, Janice Lloyd pulls from a Harvard study on aging mentioning that for many whom are looking at retirement, "making investments in exercising, having fun, making new friends and continuing to learn are the closest thing to finding the fountain of youth." Back again we cycle through the other reasons why we should travel. You've heard the saying, "work hard so play hard". Right? Well I agree. Instead of continuing to ramble about something you already know, let's look at some things you could consider doing that are fun. Suggestions: Take your wife on a date to the local McDonald's. However this time make it a bit special. Get dressed up in your favorite suit, bring the nice china and a beautiful linen table cloth (don't forget the silver). Set a spectacular table for your romantic dinner of Big Macs and give her a call at work to ask you to join you for a dinner before you have to take the kids to soccer practice. It may be a bit unconventional but you will have a good time. How can you not smile while enjoying a romantic dinner sharing a Happy Meal?
Go to Ski Roundtop for a paintball match with a group of friends. Lay out the blanket on the soft grass this summer while you enjoy live jazz music, good conversation and a delicious bottle of wine at the Vineyard at Hershey or Nissley Wine. Drive down to Baltimore to enjoy a free movie night at places like Little Italy and the American Visionary Arts Museum. When you travel to a tropical destination try sailing, snorkeling or scuba diving. Many resorts and most all-inclusive properties allow you do do the first two for free and have a moderate cost to try scuba diving. Want to get rid of the tanks and see if you enjoy it first? You might want to try SNUBA.
Count the number of brightly colored new bird species that you have never seen before. Perhaps snooze beside a kangaroo or streak past the land below on one of the world's highest, longest and fastest zip lines. Going in the winter? Skiing is always popular. Try a glacier walk in Iceland or take a helicopter tour on the South Island of New Zealand. Take a jet boat into the mountains and skim over inches of electric blue water. Go tubing on Ski Roundtop, ice skating on the canal in Ottawa, Ontario, or walk through Central Park in Manhattan hand-in-hand with your love before taking in a show on Broadway and sipping a decadent cup of hot chocolate. There is no box. You might just want to hang out at a local cafe in France, peruse the local library in Oxford, walk through a market and barter for a pearl necklace in Tahiti, free-dive for conch shells in Turks & Caicos, swim in a waterfall of Puerto Rico's famed El Yunque National Forest, or go hang gliding in Australia. You can tame the raging rapids in a raft in Virginia, go for a leisurely hike along the Appalachian Trail, enjoy a safari in Africa or watch the countryside slip by while sipping wine from the deck of your stateroom on a river cruise on your way to Russia. Perhaps making a Venetian mask with a master crafter is more your style or taking a cooking class to learn how to make homemade pasta in Italy. Enjoy a ghost tour in Edinburgh, luxuriate in a deep-sea thermal spa in Japan, explore the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru or sleep in a luxury tent in Africa and wake up to the sound of nearby elephants. What is your passion? What do you enjoy? Now go do it.
RECAP We have asked the question, "Why travel?" and suggested that it helps improve our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual health. Additionally, travel gives us the opportunity for new, fun experiences. According to Dr. Matthew Sleeth, "many people that I've talked to ... have said that keeping one day of rest a week has been the single best thing they've done for their marriage, their family and their spiritual relationship." On the American Psychological Association's Stress Tip Sheet, they suggest to "take regular vacations or other breaks from work. No matter how hectic life gets, make time for yourself — even if it's just simple things like reading a good book or listening to your favorite music."
THE MORAL Moral of the story? Travel can (and I dare say, should) give us time. Time to relax and be refreshed. Time to think and ponder. Time to spend with our family and friends. Travel should give us new experiences and perspectives on a world that is much bigger than we tend to think. In the words of an American cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, "As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own."
QUOTES ON FUN. “I only do this because I'm having fun. The day I stop having fun, I'll just walk away.”
“The one guiding principle over my 23-year career in TV has been as long as I'm having fun, I really don't care what the job title is.”
Andy Cohen “At 35, I'm definitely starting to feel more like a grown-up than I ever have. There's nothing in my life that is childish or whimsical. Having fun is fantastic and I never want to lose a sense of that - and also, I think, you have to have that to put into your work or else it's going to feel stiff.” Drew Barrymore “Don't stop having fun when you get older because you will get older when you stop having fun.” Unknown