To fight depression – travel
People often asked me: why do you travel so much? My tongue in cheek answer: every time I get depressed, I buy a trip. I know, I know, women are supposed to go shopping when they get depressed. Personally, I don’t like shopping – it is too dull for me. My advice to all these women: if you want to fight depression – travel!
To tell you the truth – I never suffered from depression. However, the necessity of putting fires out in demanding business with hundreds of students, parents, teachers, receptionists would occasionally stress me out.
Planning the trip will improve your mood
I enjoyed planning the trips as much as the trips themselves. At the beginning of each school year (we were the owners of the large school of music and dance), I checked out different traveling options.
I wanted to travel much more, but we had to follow the school calendar. It meant that we could go abroad only during school breaks. Usually, we tried to add a couple of days here and there to make our trips longer.
It made me feel a little guilty, but I always reminded myself and my husband that “I am worth it!” Some women are “worth” their jewelry and fancy clothes. I think that I am “worth” to go on a great trip.
Every time, the planning of the trip put me in the best mood. The first step was to borrow the books at the library, get information on the internet, talk to other travelers.
How can you be sad or upset about anything when you have an exciting trip coming in a few months? My mood was automatically improving while I was planning the trip, buying tickets, looking for the hotels, reading about the country’s customs and culture. It inspired me to work even harder
Just driving to the airport and knowing that in a couple of hours we will be “out of here” is like a tonic. Long flights, mediocre food served on airplanes (unless it is an Asian air carrier), lack of sleep followed by a jet lag, – all these unpleasant aspects of travel can be downers, but not for me. Instead of concentrating on inconveniences I look forward to seeing new places and meeting new people.
Traveling will make you
forget your worries
As soon as the trip started, we were able to “forget” about the business. Of course, concerns about it visited our minds from time to time. However, we managed to shake them off with the thought: whatever wrong could happen with the business (even something as disastrous as a fire), there was nothing we could do about it while traveling in a faraway country.
Meeting like-minded people
When we travel with a group, we meet many like-minded people. Many of them traveled extensively, and they enthusiastically share their experiences. We ask them questions, such as what tour companies they used, what are their favorite destinations, what food they enjoyed. We always look forward to such conversations.
Depressed travelers – a rare exeption
Of course, there is always an exception. In our travels to 71 countries, we have met with the depressed tourists only once – on our trip to New Zealand and Australia.
In our big, but the cheerful group we had the Russian couple (Andre and Olga) who were unhappy during the whole trip. Andre and Olga already traveled to several countries on their own. It was their first guided group tour.
They spent the majority of our social time complaining about this or that. Some of the complaints were reasonable (read our blog about the best and the worst tour guides). But what annoyed us was their constant droning about almost everything else – hotels, food, schedule, etc.
Andre and Olga complained to everyone, but
Farm stay with the unhappy people
Can you imagine our chagrin when we discovered that the tour guide paired us with this couple for the farm stay? Overnight stay on a farm in Fairlie, New Zealand was included in our itinerary.
The local farmers met our bus. Each family could host four tourists in their farmhouse. We had a unique opportunity to see the farm, eat home-made dinner and breakfast and learn about farm life.
Our hostess, Debbie, brought us to her small farm and immediately offered to go around her property and see the animals. We put on wellingtons which were lined up next to the front door and walked to the fields. While my husband and I enjoyed the sights and sounds, Andre and Olga lagged behind and continued non-stop grumbling: it is too far to walk, the grass is wet, the soil is too soft…
One would think that being outdoors, looking at cows, horses, sheep, a bull and even llamas (our hostess had four llamas) would make anyone happy. Not this couple. They just kept on complaining and getting more and more annoyed by the whole experience.
We were envious of other members of our group – they enjoyed the company of happy and cheerful people. The two of us were stuck. These days of the farm stay was quite an unexpected downer for us. Well, you cannot be happy all the time.
For the rest of this trip, we tried to stay as far away as possible from Andre and Olga, and socialized only with the “happy people.”
Let travel elevate
It was the only encounter with the unhappy travelers that I can recall. It tells me that either all such people are staying home or they forget about their depression when they venture out to see the world.
Of course, while traveling, you cannot avoid stress altogether. But being in a new exciting place will make you forget your real or imaginary troubles. You will pay attention to the new sights and the people around you and will think about something else besides yourself. So, buy a trip, pack and go. Instead of taking medication to fight depression – travel. It is healthy for your mind.