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“I need a vacation.”
How many times has that come from your mouth this week/month/ year? What about your family, friends, and co-workers?
We just love talking about how we need to escape from it all for a few days. Why? According to a 2013 survey by G Adventures, many of us associate travel with happiness.
83% of people surveyed consider travel very important to their happiness. 71% find travel more important than retirement, cars, home ownership, promotions at work, or getting married.
If you’re working 9-5, you might be a part of the 89% who spend an hour or more daydreaming about travel. Or, one of the 61% who’d prefer more vacation days over a raise.
But The Truth Is…
Few people live the jet-setting, adventure making lives they dream of. Only 21% of the US population traveled abroad in 2014 (US Census data). I take statistics with a dose salt, but essentially:
8.9 of 10 people daydream about travel at work
2.1 of 10 people travel outside the US
Project: Time Off, a research-driven initiative to prove the benefits of taking earned time off, shares interesting data. Americans lose an average of 1.6 vacation days per person each year. That unused time leads to reduced happiness, diminished health, and lackluster performance.
Why Don’t We Travel More?
It’s emotional. Some blame time or money, but at the end of the day it usually boils down to a feeling.
Fear & Anxiety
I call it worker’s FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The thoughts of hundreds of unread emails, your pet projects falling apart, or sneaky folks taking credit for your work while you are away are enough to make many employees stay put. Taking time to prepare your work before you leave for vacation can help ease your fears, but for some that’s only the beginning.
“Prior to taking my first flight, I didn’t sleep for almost 32 hours straight.”
If #WorkProbs aren’t a distraction, personal anxiety might get in the way. For me, the anxiety of getting lost at the airport, missing my flight, and having to step off the plane in a country where I didn’t know the language kept me up all night, literally. Luckily, I’ve moved far past that, but the thought of traveling can at times be crippling for some. The good thing is that with a little preparation, you can get your work life and personal fears in check before you travel. That upfront effort will allow you to go stress-free and return from vacay feeling relaxed. Get Your Pre-Vacation Checklist Here
Lost luggage. Cancelled flights. 5 star hotels online that are really 2 star hotels in-person. Those little points of frustration can cause some folks to throw in their traveler towels before they even leave the house. It’s perfectly normal to get irked when things don’t go your way. However, being grounded in the purpose of your trip makes it easy to brush off the little things and focus on the positive.
Sad to leave home and sad to come home. It’s a cycle most travelers, including myself, know all too well. When you leave for a trip you may tear up thinking about saying bye to family members, friends, pets, and your comfortable routine. When you get ready to leave your destination, you’re saying bye to a new experience, the local culture, and possibly dreading the routine you were scared to leave only a few days ago.
In The End, It’s Worth It
Despite any series of emotion you go through, the important thing to remember is that travel is worth it. You gain empathy in experiencing other cultures and grow personally through your time away from the norm.
If you do it enough, it becomes almost like breathing. Something that is vital to your feeling alive.
What emotions do you have when you think of traveling? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.