How travel makes you happy

two female travellers smiling in india

March 20 is proclaimed as the UN International Day of Happiness. The day recognises the importance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of people everywhere.

It was inspired by the country of Bhutan and their political philosophy of prioritising and measuring happiness amongst their people, over income.

Amongst Intrepidites, we know it’s fairly unanimous that travel makes us happy. But what aspects of travel? Little things, mammoth things? Is it before you even leave when bookings are made and you ponder what to pack? What makes you happy when you travel?

We put this question to a bunch of Intrepid staff, and here’s what they had to say:

Travel makes me happy when …

…”I’m out of my comfort zone, living on the edge and knowing there’s no place I’d rather be at that moment.” Leanne

…”I get to reunite with distant family and friends and also having the opportunity to experience other places and cultures first hand.” Hildy

…”I question the material things that I take for granted.” Rob

…”I observe people in local communities see Western travellers for the first time and they giggle about our appearance and take a while to interact. But once the bond has formed, as the curiosity is mutual, there is a moment that will be remembered by both parties for a lifetime.” Glenyce

…”I experience moments to reflect upon.” Kat

…”I get to experience something that takes my breath away and humbles me.” Daniella

…”I get the chance to catch up with myself.” Ben

…”I am seeing something completely amazing with my eyes, not via a TV or computer screen.” Chris

…”sitting in the background, just watching life go by in a country very different to my own and knowing that the feeling and experience will make me richer than money ever could.” Kaye

…”I learn something that I did not know before.” Haitham

…”a tingle of delight runs through my body and I know that in that moment, in that place, I’m fully alive!” Jane

…”I get to be spontaneous and do something on the spur of the moment that I don’t get to enjoy at home.” Sue

…”I am reminded that we live on a beautiful and diverse planet.” Robert

…”visiting local markets and shops – I love to see how the locals live, and the things that make us the same and different – from soft drinks and chocolate bars to toothpaste and toiletries. And also seeing local wildlife – you know you’re somewhere different when the animals are more at home than you are.” Gillian

…”I feel the freedom of the open road.” Bob

…”I have the realisation about the simplicity of happiness and fulfilment, as children run around their village, daily family life continues and there’s much laughter and smiles.” Glenyce

…”I try the local cuisine.” Aurassi

…”I’m hiking in the mountains anywhere, and stop to chat with locals taking the same route and have a small window into their lives.” Macca

…”I get to enjoy new experiences with old friends.” Cristy

…”my body and soul enjoys the fruits of discovery, whilst my worries are left behind.” Simon

Travel happiness can be found in spades here!
How about the wind in your hair, sun on your skin and a magic sailing adventure.
Take a Bhutan tour and see how they’re measuring up on their Gross National Happiness index.
Find out where the mystics seek happiness in Spiritual India.
Bring happiness and a better life to others through The Intrepid Foundation – and Intrepid Travel will match your contribution – up to AU$400,000 in each financial year and a maximum of AU$5,000 per donor in each financial year.

Photo in India by Sarah Thomas.

About the author'
Jane Crouch - Jane is a responsible business guru who writes about all aspects of how travel can bring positive environmental, social and economic benefits. Informed through travel on seven continents, leading Intrepid trips through SE Asia, work in outdoor education, energy conservation, international development, philanthropy and climate change action, plus a big love of walking, mountains and world music.

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For most people, going on vacation is something to look forward to. Being in a different environment is a chance to relax and leave the daily grind behind, let go of stress and forget the routine. No meetings. No deadlines. No annoying bosses.
There’s even a study that links happiness and geographical location, showing that people’s tweets get significantly more positive in mood the greater the distance they are from home.
So it appears, we’re least happy at work and most happy when we are farthest from home.'

Travel makes me happy in that first hour after leaving, when the umbilical cord to home is cut and I know there’s freedom and lots of new discoveries awaiting 🙂

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