By Maeve Parker
Travel is a part of our everyday lives. Whether you are walking your dogs, driving to the grocery store, or even traveling across the world, it affects us all. As you engage in each of these tasks, you are allowing time for your mind to process things going on in your daily life. Simply getting away from your everyday life for just a moment can instantly decrease stress and improve your mood.
As traveling connects us to the world around us, I believe that it can have a very positive impact on our mental health. According to WebMD, travel relieves stress, enhances creativity and boosts overall happiness.
With these powerful benefits, travel can be a tool to help a person through a hard time. I know very well that some days, getting out of bed seems impossible, but the benefits of getting out of bed and getting a simple breath of fresh air can be transformative and positively impact the rest of my day.
Many people at North Cross engage in some form of traveling. When asked about how traveling affects her mental health, student Fiona Parnell ‘26 has a unique outlook on the topic. For as long as she can remember Fiona has gone to Ireland to visit her family. Her sister, Maeve Parnell ‘23 currently attends college at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
“It is where I get my happiness from,” she said. “Ireland is my home. It is where I feel like I belong. It has helped me improve my confidence as it gives me a connection to my culture.” In Fiona’s instance, traveling improves her mental health because it is a way she can “destress from the rest of the world” and opens her to new connections with people in another country.
Another student with a one of a kind experience with travel is Ameer Albishah ‘26. Ameer has been to countries in Europe and the Middle East, and so naturally travel has become a huge and important part of his life.
“It helps me improve my mental health a lot because it’s so relaxing and calming,” he said. His favorite part of traveling is getting to visit his family in Jordan every summer.
“I visit my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and my best friends in Jordan,” he said. “It’s so much fun and I always look forward to it”
Travel is very meaningful to Ameer. “Traveling is a big part [of] improving my mental health,” he said.
Travel has improved my life in similar ways to Ameer and Fiona. I was born in Brisbane, Australia, however my family moved back to the United States when I was still very young, so I don’t remember my experience very much. However, due to being born in such a unique place, it has led me to become very interested and curious in the world around me. I have always wondered what Brisbane was like, and the dream of going back has motivated me to become interested in traveling in general.
One of my favorite activities is walking my dogs on the Fern Park trail near my house, and although it seems like a simple thing to do, it means much more to me. It makes me feel connected to my neighborhood and Roanoke, while also allowing me to destress from the rest of the world just like Fiona and Ameer.
Our lives can sometimes feel like they are in non-stop motion and there is no time in between to focus on yourself. However, by focusing on this motion, you can learn different ways to use it to help improve your overall well-being.