Just a while ago, I was on my way back from a staycation. It wasn’t somewhere too far or too special. My partner and I spent a few days in Scarborough, enjoying the tail end of a typically overcast and chilly British summer. We also indulged in fresh fish – well, I indulged in it, to be honest.
One of the best things about traveling is that it broadens your knowledge and opens your mind to new worlds. Before this staycation, I didn’t know that there were villages named Barton le Willows, Holme on Spalding Moore, and Thornton le Dale. Furthermore, I was surprised to learn that Scarborough was Britain’s first-ever seaside resort.
In 1626, Elizabeth Farrow discovered a stream of acidic water running down the cliff and into the sea in the South Bay. This water had healing properties due to its chemical composition, similar to stomach salts found in chemists today. In 1660, Dr. Wittie wrote a book about the spa waters, which greatly contributed to the popularity of ‘Scarborough Spa’ and made the town the first British seaside resort.
I was also surprised to learn that the town was founded in 966 AD as Skarðaborg by Thorgills Skarthi, a Viking raider.
On our way back, we took the scenic route and made a stop at the charming village of Thornton le Dale, known for its picturesque chocolate box cottages that adorn many chocolate and biscuit tins.
Travel is a transformative experience that has the power to change you. Each time you venture out of your comfort zone and explore new destinations, you undergo a transformation. Whether you choose to visit a bustling city like Nairobi or a tranquil coastal town like Kent, every new experience shapes you into a new person. Here are some of the key benefits of travel.
As you explore your surroundings, you begin to appreciate and understand your environment anew.
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a monotonous routine, day in and day out? Even something as simple as a day trip can provide a break from the mundane. While you’re away, your mind becomes more open to new experiences, and you come back with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for life. Everything seems more vibrant, and you’re better able to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.
You depend on your intuition.
Removing yourself from routine may take you out of your comfort zone. Have you ever visited a country where you don’t speak the language, and had to rely on your intuition to navigate? During a girls’ trip to Marrakech, I got lost in the complex souk. In a moment of foolishness, I almost accepted directions from some local boys. However, after realizing something was off two alleyways, I trusted my instincts and avoided a possible mugging in broad daylight. Though Middle England doesn’t seem as dangerous, on a recent staycation, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone by cycling through the rolling hills of Yorkshire. Once again, I relied on my gut to find the safest way back home, in a landscape that was entirely unfamiliar to me.
As you develop the skill of adaptability, you become more flexible and capable of adjusting to new situations and challenges.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can bring surprises. When you travel, you may encounter roadblocks that you never imagined, despite having a well-planned itinerary. Traveling tests your ability to adapt to changing circumstances. For instance, if your intended route has a detour or the restaurant you planned to visit is closed due to staff shortages, how would you tackle these challenges? If you can handle unexpected events while on the road, you can handle any little hiccup that may arise back home.
You take some time off to rest and recharge yourself.
After spending 18 months in the grip of a global pandemic, it’s easy to fall into a routine and get burnt out without even realizing it. However, taking even a short day trip can help break down this daily grind and recalibrate your mind. Routine can make one rusty, so it’s important to take breaks and avoid burnout.
It is an opportunity for you to get acquainted with unfamiliar individuals.
Making friends while traveling can be a daunting task, especially if you are not naturally outgoing. I can relate to this as even my mother, who is possibly a bigger introvert than Mr. O, once had to avoid calls from a woman she met on holiday. The woman had insisted on having my mother’s and her friend’s phone number so that they could stay in touch and have coffee together once they were back home in Istanbul. However, my mum was not interested, and after a year of unreturned calls, the woman got the message.
Despite this, I have also heard stories of people who have made lasting friendships while traveling. Even if you are an introvert, you can still eavesdrop on people’s conversations to learn about local attractions or engage in conversations with fellow travelers. For example, if you are a dog owner, you can strike up a conversation with another dog owner about the dog-friendly places in the area.
After discovering more about ourselves, we come to the realization that we are not so different after all.
As I was checking out of the hotel this morning, I heard a family quarrel in a thick Northern accent. Despite the differences in accents, it sounded like a typical disagreement that could happen in any family. The more you travel, the more you realize that despite our superficial differences in race, color, creed, and accent, we are all part of humankind. In today’s world, we need to be reminded of this fact as much as possible.