“Coming off the winter holidays, most of us start dreaming of, if not planning, our spring and summer getaways. It’s tempting, of course, to default to the same vacation each year: your family’s cabin, a familiar beach town, your favorite city, that resort the kids loved. We often choose to spend our hard-earned dollars for comfort, predictability, and relaxation, and there are benefits to doing so.
But as a psychologist, I believe that travel should routinely be used to achieve the opposite: to get out of your comfort zone, expose yourself to uncertainty, and eschew rest for exploration and learning. The result is personal growth — greater emotional agility, empathy, and creativity. A recent trip to Sri Lanka, with an unexpected stop in Thailand, led me to think more deeply about the positive impact of adventures that challenge us.”
“Empathy also increases when your travels thrust you into new territory. In that same study of Americans, those who’d traveled abroad showed a greater ability to suspend judgment about a person until acquiring information beyond surface qualities (age, sex, race, or ethnicity). They were also more adept at discerning whether another person’s actions reflected deep-seated personality attributes or a variety of situational factors that could be influencing their behavior.”