Apr 11, 2024 3 min read

2 Profound Travel Experiences That Enhance Mental Health

Go beyond the daily routine—it's truly life-altering; giving way to more than just an interruption from the normal day-in, day-out monotony, but a serious plunge into your own thoughts and feelings.

Travel Experiences That Enhance Mental Health

This article follows the astonishing travels of two adventurers whose wanderings did not keep to themselves just to explore but rather went as far as moments of self-reflection and healing, sometimes radical personal development.

Solo Himalayan Journey Teaches Resilience

If I had to name one, it would hands-down be my solo travel experience in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, India.

I was fighting plenty of challenges, personally as well as professionally. A financial setback, deep regret, lack of emotional support, helplessness, and betrayal triggered me to escape from reality. I booked a one-way ticket to find some respite in Rishikesh, which then led me to an unplanned trip to a Himalayan village.

Deep down, I was certain escapism is not an answer, and I was clearly looking for answers. As the saying goes, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." I chose to volunteer at a local homestay. It gave me an opportunity to give back and satiated my desire to travel and meet new people.

The lofty Himalayas encouraged me to slow down to nature’s pace; the solitude helped me to face my inner problems with ease, and the people I met, surprisingly, had one story in common: the power of being resilient in chasing our big dreams.

Ironically, the volunteer experience brought me closer to my problems like never before. The literal distance multiplied, but the metaphorical distance shortened.

That solo trip did not magically solve all my problems, but it did teach me to be more present, worry less, trust myself, and stay strong. It gave birth to a calmer, clearer mind, a resilient heart, and gave me the courage to fight my demons.

My older self is grateful to my 21-year-old self for being courageous enough to take that solo trip.

Tanisha Guin, Career Coach, Learning Designer & Social Impact Manager

Volunteering Abroad Shifts Perspectives

Upon graduating from college, my mother told me I could go on a trip of my own liking as a gift. What she expected me to say was "Eurotrip!" but instead, I asked if I could volunteer to teach English in Samoa. I knew nothing of the country; I just knew it was far away and very remote.

I was quite lost after graduating and had zero expectations for my time there, but when I left, I felt a shift in my reality. While in Samoa, I found out that the year before, they had just passed a law making it illegal to not attend school. Many of the children I was working with had never stepped foot into a classroom.

When I spoke with the older students who had just begun attending, they were filled to the brim with excitement to learn. The younger students couldn't believe the opportunities they had now instead of sitting at home.

This trip changed my perspective on life.

I had been a double major in college, while performing in a pre-professional traveling dance company. I complained often about how tired I was and how I wanted to quit it all.

My time in Samoa made me swear to never take my education for granted again. During my time in college, I had often felt that I wasn't able to contribute to the world, or I couldn't do anything on my own. But here I was, working with students who were eager to learn, and I actually had something of value to give, providing confidence not only within myself but within them.

I wasn't a rotten teenager, but after leaving that hectic month and a half on the island, I truly began to understand the privilege I was afforded simply because of the country I was born in.

Tia DeVincenzo, Intuitive Eating Mentor, TD Wellness LLC

The greatest exploration is boundless, yes, in a physical sense, rising instead to provide resiliency, change in perspective, and nurturance in the many ways one connects to the world and themselves.

In following our lead, we are given the courage to face our own challenges, the strength to embrace change, and the wisdom to appreciate the fact that sometimes, the farthest journey is that which brings us right back to ourselves.

Alex Cornici
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