Travel

The holidays are approaching quickly. Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away, and after that, we have only three weeks left until winter break! Some of us will choose to stay at home for the holidays, while others see these breaks as the perfect opportunity to get out of town and travel.

Why is it that so many of us feel an urge to travel? Whether we are exploring nearby areas in Florida or far away countries, there is something about travel that makes us eager to pack our bags and venture off to another world for a little while. Psychologist Michael Brein, who calls himself "The Travel Psychologist," believes that traveling can be related to several basic psychological needs:

1. Fulfills curiosity: Being curious is one way that humans satisfy basic and higher-order needs. When in a new place, we have many new stimulating experiences. We can gaze at beautiful scenery, taste exotic foods, listen to new music and meet new people. Learning about cultures and societies different from ours excites us. Exploring the world brings novelty to one's life and satisfies our innate curious tendencies.

2. Heightens our self-esteem: It's cool to be well traveled. It's also fun to share adventure stories with friends and family. Getting away from a boring existence and going to new places can elevate one's self worth and improve other's perceptions of us (as they "Ooh" and "Aah" at your travels with a hint of jealously).

3. Keeps things fresh and exciting: We all crave some adventure in our lives. Traveling can be tinged with danger and fear of the unknown, which is part of what makes it so interesting and exciting. Life can also get pretty mundane if we stick to the same routine all the time. Getting out of the house and exploring Gainesville, venturing to a new restaurant or road tripping across the state are all simple ways to spice up a long weekend or a boring Wednesday night.

So what are your travel plans for the holidays? The semester will be over before we know it, and vacation planning should start soon. Whether you travel 15 minutes or 15 hours away from Gainesville, be sure to quench your curiosity and get your fill of excitement before school starts up again.

Posts in Gator Minds appear on Wednesdays.