After reading my 6 Ways to Find Happiness on the Horizon download, a friend from way back contacted me about her experience with the power of travel. She practices as a physician assistant in orthopedic surgery in Oregon and her story fascinated me. She's seen first-hand the effects of travel on her patients, even when the trips are only in their imagination. Here you go:
"Working in orthopedic surgery, I tend to see a largely older population. I also give a fair number of injections. I’ve taken to telling patients they have just been given an all-expense-paid vacation to anywhere in the world as I draw up their injections. Before I do the injection, I have them start telling me about their dream trip. I’ve come to find that patients fall into three distinct groups. The first group smiles and delves right into a detailed description of their dream trip. Their injections don’t bother them much. The second group contemplates for a bit and usually decides to stay home and spend time doing a hobby for their dream vacation. These folks do ok, but usually aren’t as animated with their descriptions. Finally, there is a group who just says they can’t go on a dream trip. Spouse’s health, worries with children/grandchildren, and their own health are cited as the reasons. Almost always these patients report the most discomfort with injections and report the most pain.
The medical literature is clear that positive mental health leads to less pain and better outcomes. So, offering a dream vacation seems to, at least transiently, improve the mental health of 2/3 of my patients. Travel is medicine!"
I hope you enjoyed that anecdote as much as I did. If you have your own stories of ways a particular trip or travel in general has shaped the person you are today, I'd love to hear about it.