How Travel Makes Us Smarter, Wiser and All-Around More Awesome

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According to a study from the British Psychological Society, intelligent people are more likely to experience “lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.”

Using data from a long-term survey of 15,000 people, aged 18 to 28, psychologists determined that those who lived in cities were generally less happy than those who lived in rural areas and people tended to report higher life satisfaction when they saw their friends more often.

The study justified this finding with the “savanna theory of happiness.” They compared more rural living to how ancestors once traveled in close-knit, smaller tribes. Basically the lifestyles of hunter-gatherer tribes have formed the evolutionary foundation for what makes people happy now.

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How and why does travel make you more awesome? Let me count the ways:

More social – It’s sink or swim on the road. You either get better at making friends or you end up alone, crying each night into a pillow. You learn to make friends out of strangers and get more comfortable talking to new people. When I first started traveling, I was kind of an introvert and uncomfortable talking to those I didn’t know. Now, I’ll happily talk to strangers like we’ve been best friends for years.

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Better at conversation – Travel not only makes you comfortable talking to strangers, it makes you better at it too. After talking to people all the time, the same questions get boring. You start to even bore yourself. After a while, you don’t care about where people are from, where they are going, how long they’ve been traveling, and yada yada yada. Those kinds of questions don’t actually tell you anything about the person. You’ll get better at small talk and how to ask interesting questions — the ones that matter and tell you more about the person

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