Bucket List Travel Can Improve Your Health, Broaden your Perspective, Even Lead You Into New Careers
If travel is something you long for, I encourage you to do it. Don’t let fears or worries stop you.
Study after study reveals that travel is good for us. It’s good for the body and good for the mind. It lowers stress, strengthens relationships and gives you memories for a lifetime.
Whether you like natural beauty (think rivers, mountains, beaches, waterfalls), cultural experiences (think museums, concert halls, art galleries), or historical sites (think battle grounds or presidential libraries), traveling to these places can enrich and enlarge your life in numerous ways.
Want to be amazed? Fascinated? Awed? Travel somewhere you’ve dreamed about but never actually been. Or, return to someplace wonderful you visited decades back and feel the wonder anew.
My husband, Al, and I began to travel in earnest after we were involved in a serious automobile accident in 2012. That wreck brought home to us how fragile life is. How it can be snatched away in a moment, in the blink of an eye. We decided to stop putting off our travel dreams.
Since then we’ve cruised through the Panama Canal, visited the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, ridden on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, cruised the Mediterranean, driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, and cruised the Mississippi River on an honest-to-goodness steam-powered paddle-wheeler. Next spring, we’ll cruise the fjords of Norway.
We’ve been pleased to learn that travel is associated with lower rates of heart disease, reduced risk of depression, as well as increased brain development. Yes, our brains can develop even at our “seasoned” ages.
Activities such as touring a museum, finding your way through an unfamiliar town, walking along the beach have positive mental, physical and social benefits.
Traveling develops new skills. And that increases confidence.
When we travel and meet people from unfamiliar cultures, we may find new ways of looking at life. And that can give us a different perspective on things. We may find ourselves growing intellectually and emotionally.
Because travel often includes walking, we may find ourselves actually getting in better shape. We may even lose weight and gain muscle as we hike, stroll, walk or amble about.
Escaping the every-day, if only for a weekend, can energize and renew us.
Travel is fun.
And you never know where your travels will take you. Al and I have made friends we never would have met otherwise. And we found our travels so amazing, that we began to write about them.
So travel has turned us into authors. We write travel memoirs, filling them with all the wit, wisdom, discoveries and surprises we experience on our journeys. This year, we’re publishing three books about a trip we took in 2014.
Cruising the Mediterranean, describes our adventures in Amsterdam, Venice, Athens, Istanbul and other places. It was named an Amazon #1 best seller in the senior travel category.
Indie Book Reviewers say that the book is “…full of adventure and life and great advice on traveling.”
Our second book, Finding Ourselves in Venice, Florence, Rome & Barcelona, was also named a #1 best seller in the senior travel category. In addition, Amazon named it the #1 Hot New Release in Venice travel guides.
In this book, we visit local markets, famous sites, and quiet out-of-the way neighborhoods, staying in Airbnb apartments and using Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus to show us around.
Rick Bava, author of In Search of the Baby Boom Generation, said this about the book: “The beauty of these wonderful places shines through every page. I recommend it for Baby Boomers and others whose hearts long to travel. You’ll feel like you’re right there…”
And we have a third book, coming out soon: Cruising the Atlantic, Our Epic Journey from Barcelona to Miami.
I tell you this to underscore how travel can take you places you never dreamed of. Who would have imagined that a wreck caused by a texting driver slamming full speed into us would result in our becoming travel memoir authors sharing our trips with readers around the world?
But there you have it. We’re either writing about a trip, planning a trip, or we’re on a trip, enjoying all the benefits of travel.
At our age, we have the time for travel and we have more money for travel than we had as young adults. Still, we are careful with our travel funds, and try to get the most value for our dollars.
If you have a travel dream, I encourage you to take it. Travel now, while you can. The Internet can make the trip easier than ever. Nearly every city, state or national park has a website where you can check out tours, lodging, points of interest, even maps of the area.
Do some online exploring, plan with care, fuel your sense of adventure, trigger your imagination, then make your dreams come true.
Al and Sunny Lockwood have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Everywhere they go, they capture unforgettable moments — Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook. Their work has been published in magazines and newspapers. This photograph was taken in an Athens coffee shop, when Al and Sunny ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour. You can contact the Lockwoods at [email protected]