“This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest, a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and your gonna have fun. We’re gonna have so much fucking fun they’re gonna need plastic surgeons to remove the smiles from our fucking faces. We’ll be whistling zippity-doo-dah out of our ass holes”
As eccentric as this character is, the legendary Clark W. Griswold strongly believes in quality time and traveling; although the road to hell is paved with good intentions as we have clearly seen in the timeless classic, National Lampoon’s Vacation. Above all else, the Griswolds do have one heck of a story to tell.
Here we are mid-summer and have you taken that family vacation yet? Have you had the opportunity to take that wanderlust break from your mindless routine on your lonesome or with friends? There are plenty of benefits in doing so and as mental health providers we are fully aware of the benefits of “stepping away” from situations or environments to gain a different perspective and experience a shift in mood. Additional mental health benefits of traveling include:
- Helps to get the creative juices flowing, so if your feeling stuck in one way or another, traveling may help you to get unstuck, feel inspired again and reboot your imagination
- Aids in overall personal development in that while learning to function in an unfamiliar land allows you to practice mindfulness in your new surroundings, opening the door to learning more new stuff about yourself
- Creates mental distance between you and your weighty thoughts and concerns from back home, creating a space for new perspectives, ideas, and solutions
- Offers yet another opportunity to build tolerance for our age old nemesis, the human condition of fear of change
- Shakes things up some and awakens all your senses, opening you up to mystery and wonder- Remember that feeling?
- Broadens your mental associations and loosens rigid cognitive habits
So how about hitting the holiday road for a few days sometime soon? The experience is not solely a selfish pursuit in that it’s safe to assume that your family members, employers, co-workers, and clients would sure be glad to see your positive and sparky back to the grind attitude, your rested eyes sparkle and warm and welcoming smile again.