The Surprising Connection Between Happiness and Travel

 Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, who has studied the connection between money and happiness for over 20 years, has found that spending money on experiences is an amazing investment in happiness.

Many of us enjoy buying things, but when the novelty wears off, we no longer have the same level of enjoyment. In contrast, spending our money on experiences helps us to feel happier for a lifetime, because we create memories. Those memories become part of our life’s story, and part of our personality. We share our experiences and bond with each other by exchanging our stories.

 I suggest that travel can be one of those experiences. We can feel a sense of freedom not having to answer to anyone for a while. Our own thoughts come back to us in a refreshing way. Happiness stems in part from the transformative effect of meeting new people in other cultures, where we see that life can be lived in so many different fashions. Conversations with strangers can spark creativity and joy. Author Lawrence Block wrote, “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”
The experience of travel can bring us joy because we are transported away from our normal routine and habits. It gives us an escape from newspapers and time schedules.  When visiting a place, connecting with a local can make it more authentic.  I love that in any moment a surprise awaits around the corner–musicians entertaining in the streets, a food truck, a beautiful panorama that soothes our soul.

Travel is an experience worthy of investment.  Yet we can gather experiences to create happiness without straining our bank accounts. We can go camping, visit nearby towns with art walks, museums, and local cultural treasures, and picnic and hike in city parks. Beautiful and unusual mind stretching experiences, such as meeting an angel outside of a church in Italy happen spontaneously when you travel; these can bring you happiness.

 Even if you journey to your neighboring town 20 miles away, adventure there with a curious mind, an open heart, and the willingness to meet new people who love the culture of their own cities.

Learn more about traveling to Italy on Lenora’s Italy Retreats For Women
Find out more about Lenora’s Sweet Life Workshops and Sweet Life Happiness Coaching.

You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided the above author credit is included.