What are the positive and negative effects that travel can leave on the soul?

The travel psychologist explains

These holidays can have both positive and negative effects on your psyche

Since we freely limit our time while traveling, we can often forget the problems of everyday life away from home quite well. This isn’t just a feeling, stresses travel psychologist Christina Miro. As such, it helps people manage their concerns about upcoming or past travel, such as when a job or relationship requires a move abroad.

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She is also familiar with short vacation trips. “Travel reduces stress, provides physical relaxation, gives us time to ourselves, and focuses on one’s wants and needs,” she explains. Instead of just observing the pleasant weather through the office window, people spend more time in the sun on vacation, going to nature and collecting new impressions. “This is why so many people are so happy at the holiday destination.”

As a psychiatrist, Christina Miro works with people who have concerns about the upcoming trip. She also especially loves to travel.

Unfamiliar situations provide a variety

You don’t have to be a long-term traveler for these positive effects, even shorter vacations guarantee relaxation. But why does a simple change of location inspire people so much? “When you travel, you are exposed to situations that are different from those at home. You have to communicate in foreign languages, order unfamiliar dishes in restaurants, and adapt. This automatically gives you new experiences. At home, you do a lot of things out of habit. People give up their daily lives while they are on the move.”

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But the trip can have a positive effect in the long run. “If you master unfamiliar situations along the way, you become more courageous. You build self-confidence and broaden your knowledge.” When travel experiences really get on your skin, they often leave deep marks that last a lifetime, the psychiatrist explains: “These can be Positive and negative things. For example, if someone witnesses cruelty to animals while traveling, it can change their attitude toward animal husbandry forever.”

Negative travel experiences can also have an effect

Miro experienced this changing character of the journey for himself. She did volunteer work in Bolivia, working with animals and people – also in the psychological field. It was a formative time for a psychotherapist in training. “In addition to the aid projects, you also get to learn about the people and culture,” Miro says. “When you know what it’s like to live without a shower or not be able to flush a toilet with water, you get a different connection to water and how precious it is,” she says.

A woman stands with her bag at the airport and looks closely toward the runway.

A woman stands with her bag at the airport and looks closely toward the runway.

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But negative experiences can also shape travelers, sometimes permanently. These include theft and experience of terrorism or violence and poverty. “It can cause mental problems. For example, many long-term travelers report adjustment disorders at the beginning of their tour. Then they will not be able to find their way around in their current existence,” says Miro.

However, challenging experiences are as much a part of travel as they are of life: “In the end, it’s all about the situation itself and how you deal with it.” Those who master it can gain new self-confidence from those with them.

Private travel experiences can be so close

You don’t necessarily have to gain these new experiences on another continent. Anyone who is unsure about travel due to the current global situation can recharge their batteries at home. “Germany is a great place to travel, and there are many great nature experiences to enjoy here. Plus, there are great destinations all over Europe where you can stop by. You don’t have to go halfway around the world to have great travel experiences. If If you want to be on the safe side, you can take care of yourself with a tour.”

And even? Japan is at the top of Miro’s personal travel wish list. But due to the Corona crisis, tourists are currently not allowed to enter the country. But the anticipation of the trip, which may take place much later than hoped due to the pandemic, does not allow it to spoil it.

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