This article is part of a new series called "The Traveler's Mind" dealing with the psychology of travel with the goal of creating an ongoing discussion. If you have any suggestions for future posts please feel free to leave a comment below.
A study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.
Now, the type of long-term travel that many of us find ourselves in isn't the same as a week 'vacation' in the Bahamas. As of this moment, I can only speak to the the time before departure, which for me was more stressful than anything. Dealing with 2 major itinerary changes and the emotions of leaving was difficult to say the least.
How has your happiness level changed in the before / during / after phases of your long term travel?
Does the stress that comes with travel in far away places, and the process of heading back home to 'regular life' seem to diminish some of the things you experienced along the way?