Stop Taking Prozac and Start Traveling: 5 Reasons Why Travelers aren’t Depressed

The daily grind of life is rough.  Even with a great job that you really enjoy, it still sucks.  I’m convinced that the monotony of life is a strong reason for some kinds of depression.  It takes hold of every one of us.  The best way to cure your depression isn’t to take a pill a day – try taking a trip instead.

One of our readers just mentioned that they retired at 47 and has been taking at least four big international trips a year since then.  Not all of us are fortunate enough to be independently wealthy at any age.  For that reason you’ve got us.  We’ll show you how to travel the world for free.  The bottom line is that you need to start traveling.

Here are 5 big reasons why travelers aren’t depressed:

1. Get Humbled. Traveling will humble you.

Haitian Tent City

Tent City in Port-au-Prince

Even when you feel like your life is in the toilet because your dog died, you just got diagnosed with diabetes, or you just wrecked your car, you could always find someone who is deeper in the spiral than you.  Spending more time outside of your small sphere of influence will quickly reveal this.

If you don’t believe me, then I could purchase you a one way ticket to Haiti and introduce you to some people who disagree.  Heck.  You don’t even have to go to Haiti to find these people.  You might find them in New York, or even Salt Lake City.  The moment you leave your regular life and start looking around at other people you’ll quickly realize just how good you have it.

Traveling provides you opportunities to look at your situation and remind you that life isn’t so bad after all.  Put the Prozac down and back away from the counter.

2. Travel to Get Some Sunshine in the Winter

You know that I’m writing this as I see snowflakes falling to the ground and STICKING on April 30th.  AARRRGGHH.  When you live in a place like Idaho, where the winters last 9 months out of the blasted year, it is healthy to get out of town and see some sun.  

Traveling baby beach

Max enjoying the sunshine

There is nothing like breaking away from the long winters to soak up some rays.  You know what kind of winter that I’m talking about.  The one where you don’t leave the house except when absolutely necessary because there isn’t any more food in the pantry. Your skin looks like that of Edward Cullen and you don’t dare go outside.  Lather up the sunscreen because your pale skin won’t be ready for the full blast of rays you’ll be getting, but your mind surely will love you for it.

In January we took a trip to Panama to enjoy the scenery, visit some historical sites, visit the Embera tribe, and soak up some rays.  It was so refreshing to feel the warmth of the sun.  Our winter was in full swing with blizzards in Idaho, but it felt good knowing that I was enjoying the warmth.  It is good for your heart, soul, and mind.  So start planning today and book a trip for next winter to get into the sun and away from the medication.

 3. Travel Creates Happy Memories that Last

travel picture

Shae and I in 2009 Enjoying the Cambodian Temples

I’ll never forget skateboarding across Barcelona with two of my best buddies in 2001.  We spent hours riding the streets and exploring the city.  How do you ever forget an experience like this?  Try this one on for size:  My wife and I spent three weeks touring across Southeast Asia before we had any children.  We visited temples, had massages, ate some amazing food, and met delightful people.  Just try to forget something like that.  I dare you.  Ain’t gonna happen.

When you reflect upon wonderful times in your life, it helps you to remember that life is a good thing.  We need more of this.  It’s easy to focus on the right now, and how bad things are hurting now, but reflecting back on wonderful memories will help to ease the pain.  Obviously it doesn’t remove it completely, but at least starts the healing process.

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4. Travel Gives you Something to Look Forward to

Maybe some people are different, but I can’t imagine that those people would actually be reading a blog like this, so I’m going to assume that you’re all similar to me.  I’m convinced that planning a trip can make you happier.

Romeo and Juliet

Us at Juliet’s Balcony in Verona, Italy

When I was looking into visiting castles on my European vacation last year I stumbled upon a video from Rick Steves that talked about the most well preserved medieval castle that he had ever visited.  It sparked a thought in my mind, and I knew that I had to visit this location.  I checked out videos at the library to learn about the places that I’d be seeing.  My wife and I watched documentaries on Netflix about the building of Venice.  All this stuff was fascinating to me.  I was having a blast as I looked into the fun things that I’d be doing on the trip.

We found out that Verona had a balcony that “belonged to Juliet.”  Of course we stopped there, and of course my wife slapped me when I rubbed the statue’s breast (which was supposed to be for good luck).

John, a member of our army of WorldWanderlusters, is spending two weeks exploring Italy with his wife RIGHT NOW.  This kid was intense with his research.  He became enthralled with the trip and did exactly as I had done on my trip.  It is all paying off now because his trip is going to be more memorable knowing that he’s prepared himself for the events of his vacation.

5. Travel Puts the Daily Grind to a Halt

Are you kidding me?  America gets the lowest amount of vacation than any other nation on Earth.  We are basically slaves to our jobs.  Heck.  I’m even self-employed and I’m still a slave to myself.

People are more efficient when they get a break from time to time.  Imagine the last time you attended a work meeting that lasted all day.  Did they give you any breaks? What if they would have allowed no breaks, but slammed 10 hours of straight meetings in your face?  Everyone would be asleep from boredom after 2 hours.  People need breaks.

Life works the same way.  If you work everyday and never get a break, you’ll be less productive.  It’s time to put the daily grind to a halt and sharpen the saw.  Tell your boss that you need more time off and less pay.  After all, what good does more pay do for you if you don’t even enjoy your life now?

Pull out the sharpening stone by taking a break and traveling more.  Leaving the daily routine, even if it is for short breaks, will be worth its weight in gold.

Please Note: This post was not meant to offend anyone who suffers from depression or other mental illness. I realize that medication is the only thing that helps some people to cope with their depression.  While traveling might not completely cure anyone, I’m convinced that it will help everyone.

 

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6 Responses to Stop Taking Prozac and Start Traveling: 5 Reasons Why Travelers aren’t Depressed

  1. Ken says:

    Looking out my window now the snow is flying! We’re supposed to get 7-10″ before the day is up. It’s May 1st for God’s sake! When we left for our honeymoon a few weeks ago it was snowing, and when we got home it was snowing. And now it’s snowing again. Winter for Denver just won’t die!

    • Sheldon says:

      @Ken- Sounds like it is time to start planning your next trip!

      • Ken says:

        I’m self-employed so I have tons of leeway Feb-July. Sep-Dec I’m a workaholic since 90% of my business is that time of year. Wife just got hired at a public school so I’ll have 2.5 months each summer to plan trips 🙂 So next summer will be the “Summer Of Fun”.

  2. Chris says:

    Amen! I am new to the site, and love the idea of wander lusting! I plan on using your tips very soon!

    • bradleyjai says:

      Chris-

      We are glad to have you! Please comment with any questions and share abundantly. There’s nothing we like more than helping people travel the free way.

      Brad

  3. e.p. says:

    as someone who has depression and has also traveled a lot (and will continue to do so), i must say that this post is inaccurate and saddening. it would be helpful if you put the italicized “please note” paragraph at the beginning of your article.

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