Did you know that your brain is not immune to aging? Like the rest of your body, your brain changes too ! At the end of our twenties our brain starts to lose neurons. Neurons are also known as nerve cells. These nerve cells send  signals between different body parts. This is a natural process in life.  But luckily there are a lot of options to keep your brain healthy and ofcourse improve it too. One of the options is traveling. Curious how? Keep on reading!



   1.Traveling stimulates the brain and promotes growth of new connections within the cerebral matter

When you go on a trip to Fiji. A lot of brain parts will be stimulated. Because you will be visiting museums (frontal lobe) , adapt to new situations (frontal lobe), smell the ocean mist ( olfactory cortex), order food in a foreign language ( wernicke’s area) , taste a new cuisine ( gustatory cortex) , hike ( motor cortex), navigate a new city ( parietal lobe)  or take in the scenic views (visual cortex) . And when those parts are stimulated new connections (called dendrites) between nerve cells will exist . This results in a revitalized mind. 


   2.Traveling enhances your cognitive skills  

Dendrites are branch-like extensions. They are a part of neurons. The function of a dendrite is to send information between different regions of the brain.  And the more functioning neurons , the better your brain will perform. This aids in maintaining cognitive functions ( = memory, attention, problem solving, learning, thinking, reasoning, decision making ).

With his study Dr. Paul Nussbaum a clinical neuropsychologist from the University of Pittsburgh concluded that when you travel, it doesn’t even have to be relaxing or go according to plan. The benefits still appear.  Because when we come up against an obstacle or problem, we are forced to  reason everything out and think of a solution. Also when your brain gets exposed to a new destination/ environment the brain will be stimulated more. Because you’re flooded with new experiences that ask your attention. So all these new stimuli promote dendritic growth, and give our reasoning , thinking, attention and general problem-solving abilities a boost.

Ofcourse you can use vitamines too, to maintain cognitive powers, according to Harvard Health Publishing, but traveling engages our minds in ways vitamines never could. 


   3.Traveling furthers your personal growth


You build resilience

Let’s face it: Traveling can be hard. Even the most organized vacation will not always go as planned. For example; a flight delay or a hotel booking mistake. These disastrous events will actually make you stronger and more resilient. Because you are forced to come up with and adapt to uncomfortable and unexpected solutions. 


It boost your self-confidence 

It’s so easy to get caught up in your daily routine. But traveling really gets you out of your comfortzone, which gives you for example the opportunity to press reset and change the pace from your daily life, nutrition intake, physical condition. This really boosts confidence.


Improves emotional stability 

When we’re staying within our home routine, we seldom push our own boundaries or put ourselves in situations where we will be uncomfortable. When you travel, these situations are often unavoidable. Growth is often uncomfortable, so learning to get comfortable with discomfort prepares you to embrace personal growth. When you endure discomfort, it actually trains your brain to be less reactive. You will eventually enjoy improved emotional stability.



It challenges your attitude and perspective

Preconceived notions and stereotypes are a natural part of human existence, but traveling challenges your assumed perspectives and teaches you that there is more to everything than meets the eye. Our need to use ‘low-resolution’ approach to understanding the world shatters into pieces as we get a chance to see only a singular foreign culture up close, let alone ten of them. Traveling transforms your attitude and perspectives for the better or worse.



For those who travel for at least 4-8 months there where found more personal changes  


The study by Julia Zimmermann and Franz Neyer found that those who returned after extended getaways showed also an increase in 

  1. Openness to Experience

  2. Agreeablene 


    4.Traveling boost your creativity 

Trying new things can boost your creativity because the mind has the ability to connect things in unexpected ways.  Dr. Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School and the author of numerous studies on the connection between travel and creativity, notes, “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.” This leads to more creative ideas naturally. Further, travel encourages you to step out of your routines outside of your normal setting. You get outside of the bubble of your normal community and experience other cities, cultures, food, and ways of life. You return to your day to day life inspired and full of new creative ideas!


     5.Travel lowers deceases and improves mental health 

Activities commonly associated with travel, such as meeting new people or hiking through national parks, help prevent cognitive decline. According to the Global Coalition on Aging, there’s adequate research to suggest that regular participation in social or leisure activities, including travel, has the potential to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


Travel can also lower the risk of depression.

The growing appreciation for the need to protect our mental health appears to be changing how we vacation. A whopping 81 percent of American travelers say they regularly take vacations where a primary goal is "mental wellness," and they overwhelmingly see a vacation as a chance to "hit the reset button" on stress and anxiety (91%), according to the latest Expedia Vacation Deprivation Study, an annual survey on American traveler behavior and attitudes.



The WOTS-Foundation