The Great Joy of Traveling

Some of the best conversations I have with our clients is finding out where folks have gone and what adventures they have encountered during the year.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing our clients happy, healthy and yes, wealthy. Wealth permits us to enjoy some of life’s luxuries, including travel. Travel is certainly an indulgence that we work hard to save for and enjoy, and many of us are fortunate to be able to experience this in our lives.

Travel can be a special adventure that adds to our immediate well being while also leaving us with special memories to feed our happiness for years to come. It is a great investment in our own personal welfare!

Of course, travel is made even better when shared with family and friends. Adventures can be enjoyed near or far. There are many beautiful treasures found right here in our own backyard, and I encourage you to explore all our country has to offer. I, however, have found that traveling internationally affords some of the best opportunities for broadening one’s perspective and fully realizing some of the most noteworthy benefits of travel. Let’s dive in and explore some of these.


According to a joint study from the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, women who vacation at least twice a year show a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack than those who only travel every six years or so.

The study also made similar findings for men. Men who do not take an annual vacation show a 20 percent higher risk of death and a 30 percent greater risk of heart disease. Let’s make sure to make vacation a priority.


Although missing a connecting flight or losing baggage is sure to boost your anxiety, traveling has been scientifically proven to lower stress levels rather dramatically.

According to one study three days after taking a vacation, travelers report feeling less anxious, more rested and in a better mood. Interestingly, these benefits tend to linger for weeks after the trip has ended.


It is very easy for us all to get stuck in our everyday routines. Finding oneself is a foreign land triggers a dormant part of our minds and gets those old synapses firing anew. Our brain is stimulated, as we are required to navigate new places, read foreign words and signs, make quick decisions based on limited knowledge and adapt to different cultural norms. We literally become smarter because of these new experiences.


Our creativity is also enhanced by our foreign adventures. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and imperativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” explains Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School who has authored a study that investigates the concrete links between creativity and international travel. Travel alone isn’t enough, however. Galinsky has found that international travelers must be purposeful about engaging. “The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion and adaptation.” He continues, “someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.”

So when traveling internationally, go explore new places and soak up the local color! While enjoying the local scene, you’ll make new neural connections and fuel your creative genius.


So, there are clear, scientifically based benefits to traveling the world. You can gain a lot from packing your bags and visiting places you’ve never been. But where will you go? What adventure calls to you? Here are a few of my favorites that you may wish to put on your radar:

London, England. If you’re new to international travel and want to get your feet wet, there’s probably no better destination to begin than London. London is a must-visit city. Not only is there so much to see and do, it is relatively affordable and easy to reach from most major U.S. cities. There is also no language barrier, which is a bonus for those of us who only speak English, myself included.

Lucerne, Switzerland. If you have never been to Switzerland, Lucerne is a fantastic city to experience. It is conveniently located close to the Zurich airport and easily accessible by a comfortable train ride. The city is compact and lively. Not only are there many sites to see in the city proper, but you can also take a short excursion outside the city limits to the countryside to enjoy amazing hikes and stunning mountain vistas. Don’t miss out on the delicious cheeses and chocolates either!

Banff, British Columbia and Lake Louise are all about sunshine, mountain adventures and jaw dropping natural beauty. Prepare to be wowed by the spectacular beauty of Banff National Park’s mountains, lakes and valleys either on land via a scenic drive or in air by a helicopter flight. Unwind beside a campfire under the vast starry sky. Take time to connect with nature in one of its most beautiful settings. To date, our family’s visit to this region is still one of our most favorite vacations.

We would love to hear from you about your recent adventures! Please share your recommendations. We wish you many fun and safe travels in the years to come!

Robert G. Carpenter | President & CEO | rcarpenter@bwfa.com