Since I started travelling back in 2007, I've always found travel to be uplifting and invigorating, as well as a wonderful way to bring clarity to what's going on in my life. Over the past 11 years I've used travel as a pick-me-up, and have utilised it to help me get through the tough times.
I've taken all sorts of trips to all sorts of destinations and have found that certain styles of travel inspire me in different ways, depending on what I'm in search of at that point in time. These ten types of trips are ones that I've taken myself on at various points in my life and this is what I learned about each style along the way.
It's only as I got older that I started to dabble in more luxurious travel and as I started doing more of it, I started seeing the benefits in it.
When I'm burnt out from work, nursing a broken heart or struggling with low self-esteem, I've been known to take myself away to a luxury resort to do little more than spend my days being pampered with massages, facials and pedicures, and dine on the most decadent of foods.
This style of trip has been so effective in picking me up when I've been low because it's all about me spoiling myself, something I rarely do. Being able to indulge and focus on what makes me feel good in a beautiful location is sometimes all I need to recharge, rejuvenate and lift myself up out of a rut.
In my early travelling years, roughing it was all I knew how to do. I'd find the cheapest locations, stay in the cheapest accommodation and find the challenge of roughing it quite exhilarating. That thrill has never really left me.
These days I travel rough when I'm feeling bored with life. When I feel that need for excitement that I'm just not finding in my everyday life, I book a trip to a far off place with only the most basic of creature comforts. On a trip such as this, I usually find myself re-evaluating my priorities and lessening the importance I put on my materialistic needs. It's truly freeing to go back to basics.
City breaks are convenient and make a great option when your time is limited. Chances are you can get a flight directly into the city of your choice and you can be in your hotel shortly after arriving.
The simplicity of a city break makes it a great spontaneous option when you really just need to get away.
Cities are buzzing with energy and life, and offer an endless amount of activities, sights and stimulation, so you're able to make up your mind when you get there about what you want to do.
You have the option of sitting in a tea house and watching life go-by or you can go indoor skydiving. You might join a bunch of strangers on a tour or you might sign up for a cooking class. The possibilities are endless when you've got all types of opportunities within arms length.
For me, escaping to a new city inspires me professionally. When the stress of work has gotten me down, or I feel exhausted and disheartened by my professional endeavours, heading to a new city motivates me and I almost certainly head home with a notebook full of new ideas, a soul full of motivation and a head full of inspiration.
When the demands of everyday life overwhelm me, I head out into nature. There's a lot of information written about the many benefits of disconnecting and immersing yourself in a beautiful natural environment, and I have found it all to be entirely true.
There's something truly therapeutic to falling asleep to the quiet stillness of the night and waking up to the sounds of birds in the morning. Nature offers us an unbelievable array of sights, sounds and smells that never fail to lift our mood and that's why I routinely take myself away to nowhere as part of my own self-care routine.
It's important to switch off our technology and reconnect with ourselves every once in a while and there's no better place to do that than in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes or the ocean. Immersing ourselves in nature reminds us to appreciate the things around us and inspires us to improve our mind and body health.
An adventure to a far off place is the perfect way to shake up your life. When you find yourself in a rut and needing to make some major changes in your life, adventure travel is a great option to kick start your journey. It brings you excitement and challenges you in weird and wonderful ways.
Facing obstacles and going into the unknown isn't just a thrill, it boosts our self-esteem, makes us more resilient and increases our self-confidence. When I've got major changes to make or I need to reignite the spark in my life, adventure is what I seek to help facilitate this.
You might hike a mountain, dabble in adventure sports or travel a remote part of the world, each of us has our own idea of what adventure travel means, our own limitations and our own tastes, so the style of adventure you choose is entirely up to you.
If adventure travel isn't your cup of tea, you might prefer picking yourself up with a trip that allows you to relax to the max. Think lazing poolside or endless hours with your head stuck in a good book, creating, painting or drawing, practicing meditation or morning yoga routines, whatever it is that works for you. These sorts of relaxation activities don't just allow your body to relax, they also give your mind the chance to switch off from regular everyday worries.
Surrounding yourself in peace and quiet, and giving yourself the chance to unwind and clear your thoughts has a truly uplifting effect. It reenergises your body and significantly reduces your stress levels.
After taking myself on getaways with the sole purpose of relaxation, I've always returned feeling a comforting sense of calm and inner peace.
The benefits of solo travel are massive. No matter where you go, when you're travelling alone you naturally find yourself exposed to so many more authentic local experiences. Solo travel challenges you by not only pushing you out of your comfort zone and teaching you to be independent, it challenges your beliefs and perspectives on life through the interactions you have with people who see things differently to yourself.
Travelling alone gives you the chance for significant reflection, all the while providing you with endless opportunities to interact with anyone and everyone you come across. You're entirely in charge of your trip, where you go, what you do and who you socialise with, offering you an awesome sense of freedom.
As an introvert, I find solo travel extremely enjoyable. I push myself out of my comfort zone when I like but am still free to retreat into myself if that's what I feel I need, I don't have anyone to answer to, leaving me completely free to just be me.
Heading off on a group trip can have a dramatic impact on your self-confidence. Putting yourself amongst a group of complete strangers and heading off to an unfamiliar location can really bring you out of your shell. You're forced to mingle with people you don't know and before long you find that you've forged lifelong bonds with people whose paths you may not otherwise have crossed.
Group travel gives us the opportunity to leave our baggage behind and interact on a deeper level with people who know nothing about who we are, what we've been through or where we're from.
You're able to share amazing moments with people you didn't know the week before and you're accepted purely for who you are in that moment. This style of travel gives you a chance to leave your self-doubt at home and reinvent yourself to a degree. It's been during group trips that I've had some of the most life-affirming experiences of my life.
Planned or Unplanned
To plan or not to plan, that is the question! I love spontaneous trips with little to no planning just as much I love planning out every detail of a trip before I depart, but my trip style does vary depending on how I'm feeling at the time.
When I'm struggling with depression, pouring over and planning out every detail of a trip improves my mood and helps to lift me up out of my state of depression. It gives me something to look forward to in my times of darkness.
On the other hand, and as contradictory as it may seem, unplanned trips tend to ease my anxiety. By simply going without too much forethought, I'm able to bypass the over-thinking, stress and worry, and that somehow brings me a sense of comfort and calmness.
No matter whether you're a planner or more spontaneous, an adventure seeker or in search of relaxation, a city slicker or a nature lover, an introvert or an extrovert, you prefer to lap it up in luxury or go back to basics, whoever you are, you're sure to find huge benefits in packing a bag and heading off to explore somewhere new.