Why Traveling Is Good For Your Mental Health

by: Alicia M. Blanco

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Recently I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel. It started back in September when I traveled to Israel.  Soon thereafter I was in Puerto Rico for a week. And, as I sit here finishing up all my packing for my second trip to Dubai this month, I can’t help but to recognize how much healthier I feel on the inside.

When you travel, you get away from the comfort of your routine. You disconnect. You un-plug. You checkout of everything; schedules, diets, drama, gossip, heartbreak, work, stress, work-related stress, and social media. You marvel in newness, freshness, different foods, cultures, people and beyond… it’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself in this life.

Several years ago, I was envisioning myself in this space. I very clearly saw myself disconnected from my comfort zones of Arizona and LA, and entirely consumed with the freedom and fullness that comes with traveling. I dreamt of collecting stamps on my then very empty passport and I even dreamt of singing around the world for beautiful and diverse audiences.  So, last year I put this vision into action when I created my vision board, complete with pictures and images of sandy beaches, tiki huts, and water so clear and blue that you felt like you were in a dream just looking at it. Besides all the pictures of traveling (as well as my dream home, husband, wedding and engagement ring), my vision board also includes images of music, singing, and even a Grammy. It’s the first thing I see in the morning everyday and at one point I didn’t even realize how much it consumed such a large portion of my life. I see these images constantly and frequently throughout the day, without even realizing it.

When I found myself at the airport recently looking down at my passport, I realized how many of those stamps I had actually acquired over the last six months alone. As I found myself on the Sea of Galilee back in September, I realized I had this very image on my vision board with water so blue and beautiful that I felt like I was dreaming. Of course, this was way better. When I walked the streets of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico just after sunset and listened to the live salsa music, I felt completely at home. (The monfongo and arroz con gandules was mouthwatering. If you’re a foodie like me, traveling is good for your taste buds too.)  And when I checked into my beautiful hotel room in Dubai, I felt like I had seen that very space before in my mind. It was overwhelming.

To make all of this even more beautiful, I get to sing on my latest traveling adventures! I can honestly say that the very first time that the curtains were drawn and I sang the first note of “The Voice Within”, it was a surreal experience- nearly out of body. I knew I had been there before in my mind. That moment affirmed what I already knew: what you think about, you bring about. If you see it in your head, you will hold it in your hand. It’s the law of attraction.

Life will present moments where it feels like the stars have aligned and you can’t wipe the smile and simultaneous tears from your face even if you tried. It’s in those moments, at least for me, that I feel totally and completely balanced and whole. I feel a sense of health (both physically and MENTALLY), and an inner peace that’s truly indescribable.

“Let yourself go.” – Eat, Pray, Love.

Traveling has given me so much more than I was expecting. When I made my vision board over a year ago I never knew that the real thing would feel quite like this. Complete and utter bliss is when you find the thrill of running to your gate at an international airport. It’s looking out the window as your plane is about to land and seeing buildings you’ve only ever dreamt about. Its forcing yourself to learn different languages in order to communicate and expand your mind. Its making connections with people who may not speak the same language as you, but you feel as though you share so much in common because of the matching tags on your suitcases at baggage claim. It’s in the quiet moments in the morning inside your hotel room when you realize you’re waking up in an entirely different time zone – and world for that matter. Its in the space where you feel like the world is so much bigger, yet smaller than you thought it was. It’s in the discomfort and the unknown. It’s even in the jet lag. To travel is to live and grow into a better human being.

If you’ve been waiting for a sign to finally travel, consider this blog post your sign. There will always be a reason why you shouldn’t do it now. Money, timing, your job, your family… what’s your reason? No matter what it is, I hope you realize two things from my blog. 1) there is no perfect timing to do anything. Now is the time. And 2) your world and your life will be so much more fascinating when you get home from your travels. You’ll be more well-rounded, have more life experience, and you’ll see things differently than you ever did before. People included. Lastly, 3) you need to start envisioning what you want in life and believe with all your heart that it can indeed manifest when it’s time. God, the universe, your thoughts, all of these will serve you when you live your life with a plan and with wholehearted intention, day in and day out.

So please, pack your suitcase and just let go. Everything will still be here when you get back – only better.

P.S. Here’s an article I came across a few days ago that I feel says it perfectly and inspired me to write this post. It’s 6 Reasons Why Not Quitting Your Job to Travel is a Waste of Your Life

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