As a young adult, I was an avid traveler, constantly seeking exciting experiences while living abroad.
When my children came along, I was thrilled to share my love of adventure, taking them on wild journeys across the world from Australia to Istanbul.
As they and I grew older and their school and sports commitments tied the kids to home, my once wanderlust-filled life gave way to a comfortable routine. Despite the kids now being in college, the thought of boarding a plane and traveling afar no longer appeals to me.
Fortunately, an amazing best friend convinced me to take a chance and embark on an epic adventure to Bali. I was apprehensive in the days leading up to our departure, nervous about the 20+ hour plane ride over the Pacific Ocean, crossing the equator into the southern hemisphere.
My worries were unfounded as the flight on Singapore Airlines turned out to be quite comfortable, with hundreds of movie titles to keep me occupied. Moreover, my premium economy seat reclined enough for me to get 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep – with a little help.
Landing in Bali, I was immediately hit by the heat, humidity, and unique aroma. As I explored the island, I experienced one new thing after another, from spicy cuisine to bustling local markets brimming with vibrant colors and warm and welcoming people. The best part was the yoga and meditation sessions followed by heavenly massages.
Bali was like stepping into another world. I could forget about the stresses of home with the constant barrage of news on my phone silenced to nothing more than white noise.
Although I was halfway across the world from everything I knew, I felt a sense of peace I hadn’t experienced in years. This journey made me realize the numerous benefits of getting out and exploring the world.
This trip also rekindled my wanderlust, prompting me to plan my next adventure to Barcelona.
The world is immense and fascinating, full of different cultures, languages, landscapes, and experiences. Traveling abroad allows you to broaden your horizons, gain new perspectives, and create unforgettable memories. While many people associate travel with young people, the truth is that traveling later in life has significant benefits.
Benefits of Traveling Abroad
Improve Cognitive Flexibility and Help Prevent Cognitive Decline
People who regularly engage in new and challenging experiences, such as traveling to foreign countries, have increased cognitive flexibility compared to those who stick to familiar routines. (1)
Furthermore, traveling can positively affect mental and physical health, according to a study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine. People who travel experience significant reductions in stress and anxiety and improved mood and overall well-being. (1) Moreover, traveling can promote physical activity and provide outdoor recreation and adventure opportunities.
Expand Your Worldview and Gain New Perspectives
After years of living in one place, becoming complacent and comfortable with your surroundings is easy. Traveling abroad exposes you to new cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking, which can challenge your preconceptions and broaden your mind.
For example, living in a Western country may limit your understanding of the challenges faced by people in developing nations. However, traveling to a country with a lower standard of living can provide a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of poverty and economic inequality. Experiencing different cultures firsthand can help you become more tolerant and empathetic toward people from different backgrounds.
Sense of Accomplishment and Fulfillment
After years of working and raising a family, you may be feeling like you’ve missed out on opportunities to see the world. Traveling can provide a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Paris, imagine the sense of fulfillment and joy you’ll feel after finally experiencing the city’s beauty and culture. Travel provides opportunities for personal growth and reflection as you leave your comfort zone and face new challenges.
Build Meaningful Connections With People From Different Backgrounds
While it’s easy to form social circles with people with similar backgrounds and experiences as your own, traveling can help break down barriers and connect you to people from different cultures. Interacting with locals, trying new foods, and engaging in cultural events create unforgettable memories and foster new friendships. Traveling with a group of like-minded friends deepened our connections. Attending a traditional Balinese dance helped me gain a deeper appreciation for the culture and form a connection with the locals.
If you’re still hesitant to embark on new adventures due to financial concerns or health issues, there are several ways to make travel more affordable and accessible. Taking advantage of senior discounts, traveling during off-peak seasons, finding tour groups for specific interests or needs, and booking accommodations in advance all help make world travel more accessible.
The world provides endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Though many people associate travel with younger generations, traveling later in life can have just as much – if not more – impact. Experiencing different cultures, deepening your understanding of other’s traditions, pushing yourself to do new, challenging activities — there is something to be gained by everyone who travels. Even a short trip to a nearby city you’ve never visited can provide an experience filled with invaluable insight.
Don’t fall into the “comfort zone” trap or let your age stop you from seeing the world. Look into everything that international travel has to offer. Get out there and explore what this wide and beautiful planet has waiting for you.
Don’t Forget to Pack Probiotics
Traveling to a destination with a different climate and sanitary practices than your home increases your risk of developing traveler’s diarrhea. Although it’s typically not serious, it can be very unpleasant.
Symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea include stomach cramps, loose stools, nausea, and gas. Exposure to parasites like E. coli, found in contaminated food and water, is usually the cause. Even brushing your teeth or having ice in your drink with tap water can infect you with E. coli.
You can prepare your body in advance to fight against harmful parasites by balancing your gut bacteria with a quality probiotic.
Stonehenge Health® Dynamic Biotics™ is a daily probiotic containing 16 unique strains of good bacteria and an industry-leading 51 billion CFUs. These help create a balanced gut microbiome and lower the risk of diarrhea and other digestive issues.
Dynamic Biotics™ also includes the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium breve, known for its ability to combat traveler’s diarrhea, helping you recover more quickly if you do get sick. (2) Packing Dynamic Biotics™ is an excellent idea for upcoming trips and improving digestive health.
1. “5 Reasons Traveling Abroad Is Seriously Good For Your Health”. 2017. NBC News. | nbcnews.com/better/wellness/5-scientifically-proven-health-benefits-traveling-abroad-n759631.
2. Yang B , Huang Z , He Z , Yue Y , Zhou Y , Ross RP , Stanton C , Zhang H , Zhao J , Chen W . Protective effect of Bifidobacterium bifidum FSDJN7O5 and Bifidobacterium breve FHNFQ23M3 on diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Food Funct. 2021 Aug 21;12(16):7271-7282. doi: 10.1039/d1fo00504a. Epub 2021 Jun 24. PMID: 34165468 l pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34165468/