There's much to be said about the benefits of travel. At the surface level, change is good, and vacations and trips are the best and easiest way to embrace it, however temporary. Different scenery, new people, a break from your routine - all wonderful. Watch this video:

Buzzing? Feel a little travel pang in your chest? Us too. Being visually stimulated releases the same hormone (adrenaline) as physically doing the activity.

Though we could watch YouTube videos all the livelong day, nothing compares to physically being in a new place.


It creates a structured adrenaline experience. New, exciting activities and environments create a mixture of being uncomfortable, afraid, and excited, all of which stimulate the release of quick bursts of adrenaline, a hormone usually released in a fight-or-flight situation that increases the oxygen flowing through your blood. More oxygen to your brain = exhilaration.


New places break up your brain patterns. Your gray matter is a creature of habit, an efficient beast that searches for repetition so it  can maintain an orderly system of processing. Once you've established habits (if you work full-time, you probably have many), your brain knows what it needs to perform the activity and what it doesn't need, so the next time the activity arises less brain power is needed to process it. But this means exactly what it sounds like - your brain is less devoted to these activities, so if your habits involves creating things on a regular basis, you're a bit out of luck. Creativity is tossed out in the window in favor of efficiency. An efficient brain evolved for survival, but we don't want to survive, we want to LIVE!

Got a bit carried away there.

Removing habits (any habit, even waking up with the same view every day) when you travel gives the brain challenges - new situations to adapt to and new problems to solve. From a simplistic, metaphorical standpoint, it's like when you go to a new yoga class and use muscles you've never used. They hurt, but it's kind of a wonderfully "new" feeling.


New connections in the brain lead to not even "creative" thoughts, just different ones. We're not going to sit here and flat out explain that being a new place means you're automatically creative. Do you remember the first time you went to a new state? You started thinking about things you've never thought about. How did a river dig through a huge rock? George Washington must have been really tiny? Why does the Gulf of Mexico have clearer water than the Atlantic? Putting your brain through new questions and curiosities sets it on paths it hasn't taken before. It puts a fresh look on the mundane and the everyday, making new connections and spinning new threads while the creative problems you brought from work simmer in the background. In a smaller sense, it's similar to how showers and sleep seem to bring up good ideas. Your creativity becomes the secondary function, and while your brain accepts new stimuli, the thoughts and sparks filter through and solve problems underneath.

So do it! Go somewhere. Go here. Go there. Just do it, and blame it on your need to break up your established brain patterns.

Posted: 6/25/2014 3:48:48 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments