Top 5 Reasons Travel is Good for You

Get your passports, get packed and let's go.

It's no coincidence that many great African American artists spent time abroad when they needed to refresh their perspectives.  Research suggests that living in and adapting to foreign cultures can increase your creativity. Here's how:

  1. It creates flexibility in your ideas. Travel inevitably comes with problems, and your normal ways of solving them don't always apply.  You have to be flexible in your approach which forces you to come up with new ideas.
  2. It helps you to connect ideas better, by making you more aware of underlying connections
  3. It helps you to loosen up.  All too often, we become fixed in the way we function.  We have our routine, but travel breaks those routines, and forces you to be creative in how you approach your days.
  4. You get to know yourself better.  Interacting with cultures that are different than your own can strengthen your sense of self.  That can be a double edged sword if not coupled with intercultural competence, or the skills needed to understand and communicate effectively with cultures other than your own.
  5. You can get a renewed faith in humanity. Connecting with people from backgrounds different than yours can increase connection in those who are emotionally aware and open to the experience.  You realize that the human condition is just that- human and universal.

I would argue that for people of color, there's one last benefit - a break from the stress of America's particular brand of racism.  Traveling to the Caribbean or other places where there are a majority of people of color, resets your expectations.

Americans can be myopic, and after living here, it's easy for that worldview to rub off.  So join James Baldwin, among others, and try living somewhere else for a change, if only for a week or so. 

Go deeper:

Atlantic Article

NBC New Report