Have you ever felt so stressed, burned out, lost, unhappy, or felt unfulfilled that you booked a trip somewhere? Or have you ever found yourself searching flight prices, spending hours looking on Pinterest travel boards, or looking at a world map and making a list of where to fly to next when you felt an imbalance in your life?

People turn to travel for a variety of reasons including healing from a traumatic life event or a death in the family, to work on a marriage or a relationship, to bounce back from a heartbreak or a break up, to get a break from a stressful workload, to spend time soul searching, to gain clarity on one’s life and purpose, or to disrupt a daily routine.  Travel is a powerful tool to help people thrive in all aspects of life.

I was a broke college student who had no idea what path in life I wanted to take and what my purpose was.  I had been struggling with a severe anxiety disorder and bouts of depression for years and I felt like my life was just stuck. I decided to turn to travel to challenge myself, to do something new, and to visit the beautiful places that I had seen in travel magazines and movies growing up.  I wound up falling in love with travel and spending over a decade travelling the globe to over 80 countries by the time that I was 30.  I realized how much my life was transformed through travel and how it was helping me succeed in different areas of my life.

My adventures introduced me to new people who enriched my life.  I built meaningful relationships and realized the importance of human connection.  I found that traveling allowed me to have the necessary time to myself to self-reflect and work on my mindset.  My favorite thing to do while traveling is to find tranquil bodies of water like a serene lake or a quiet beach and journal or work on my mental health. Breathing in the fresh air always has a calming feeling and being in nature brings a sense of peace. Traveling has the ability to improve your mental wellbeing tremendously.  It can boost your self-worth, self-confidence, and self-awareness and provide you time to focus on your internal thoughts and spirituality. 

According to decades of research by organizations like the U.S Travel Association, travel has the ability to tackle burnout, a growing epidemic in and out of the workplace.  This is due to the studies that show that travel can lower stress and anxiety levels, give you a sense of purpose, boost your brain health, improve your cognitive ability, allow you to pursue new passions, add adventure and excitement into your life, help to strengthen relationships, improve your respiration, increase happiness hormones, help you prioritize self-care, and give you a sense of belonging.   The U.S National Library of Medicine shares that “therapeutic landscapes like forests, mountains, and calming sea sides may help to decrease the risk of psychosocial stress-related diseases” and the Wisconsin Medical Journal states that “women who took vacations were much less likely to suffer from depression and other mental health issues, so they subsequently enjoyed a higher quality of life”.

Travel can also help you thrive physically by keeping your body active and exposing you to new healthy and nutritious produce and food that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.  Strolling through the local markets in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Peru is a favorite of mine because I get to learn about and try new fruits and vegetables that are chalked with nutrients essential to improving your health.  Engaging in physical activity while traveling is also a fantastic way to help you reach your physical goals.  Keep your heart rate up and burn calories on a brisk hike in nature, snorkel in the crystal blue ocean, or grab a map and take a stroll around a new town.  There is so much to see and do while traveling that will keep your body moving.  Many countries around the world are known for their healing properties or remedies ranging from massages, mediation, hot springs, acupuncture, traditional herbs and teas, spiritual vortexes, and spas.  These remedies can help improve your overall physical health and heal your body in various ways.

New people, places, sights, and sounds can help you grow emotionally.  Travel can strengthen your emotional equilibrium by exposing you to other ways of life and the reality of what exists in the world.  Engaging with locals, experiencing new cultures, learning new beliefs and perspectives, and seeing what exists in the world can inspire you to be more compassionate and empathetic.  These experiences can inspire you to grow emotionally which can ultimately improve your personal growth and thrive in your home and work-life.

Better yet, I learned how traveling was impacting the lives of so many others who I met throughout my journey.  Traveling inspires people to take risks, make moves, dream big, and make things happy for themselves.  Over the past five years, there has been an incredible surge in digital nomads and people seeking more freedom-based careers, even if that means becoming entrepreneurs themselves or quitting a job to travel the world.

Alongside thriving mentally, physically, and emotionally, travel can undoubtedly help you thrive professionally.  Hilton’s partnership with Thrive Global for their Thrive@Hilton program shows great promise for helping people thrive in the workplace. Meeting new people who come from different professional backgrounds and expertise, learning new communications, navigation, problem-solving, planning, researching, and language skills, and growing creatively can help you thrive in the workplace.  Travel introduces you to new ideas and can spark your innovative juices and productivity.  From the people that you meet, the ideas that you come across, and being in new environments can boost your professional performance.  

Some of the most successful and famous experts were inspired professionally through travel such as Kevin Systrom, the creator of the Instagram filters who was inspired while on vacation in Mexico, Howard Schultz with Starbucks who was inspired by the cafes in Verona, Italy, Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the play Hamilton who was inspired on a vacation to the beach, and well-known writers like Aldous Huxley and Mark Twain who were inspired by international travel.

Travel is a powerful tool that people and companies should prioritize to help them thrive.  Incorporating more travel into your life and into your employee’s work-life is key to improving overall wellbeing and company culture.  It’s time to take travel off of your back burner and put it at the top of your list for creating a healthy and happy lifestyle and work-life. 

I believe so deeply in the power that travel has to help people and companies thrive that I have made it part of my mission in my Thrive Through Travel Initiative.  Recognize travel’s wellness and workplace benefits and utilize its ability to help people thrive.

Travel has helped me thrive in my personal life and in business, how has it helped you succeed in some way?