Research and experiences from our personal Travel Expert: 
Lynn Lee with Grab Your Bag Travel.    
LOOK NO FURTHER for reasons to travel!  You may be shocked at the research data you’ll read here. We expect you’ll have more reasons than ever to justify making the time for YOU to unplug from the daily grind and explore our world.  The science shows positive impacts on long-term health, including seriously less numbers of heart attacks, boosted immune systems, and stronger brains to stave off depression and aging-brain diseases such as dementia.   These impacts have been demonstrated by perfectly good, modern science studies.  And to top it all off we’ll share some amazing true stories of Travel that will get your creative juices flowing with Possibilities!
Lynn says:
“To me, being strong and fit for life means maintaining a moderate to high level of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being throughout one’s lifetime. I am blessed that the work I’ve chosen to do contributes to all four of these “pillars” of health. I believe vacations are not just a nice to do when you can fit them in. Rather they are ESSENTIAL for health and well-being.”
And, yet, we too often don’t make the time or the effort to take a real vacation!  Why? These are some common reasons Lynn hears people state they can’t take a vacation:

  • They’re too busy at work and can’t get away
  • They’re saving for a new refrigerator
  • They’re having renovations done on their house
  • They’re planning to buy a house in the next year

When you weigh your quality of life and health against these reasons, we definitely need to rethink these types of responses!  Do we need that new refrigerator or house?  Maybe so, but that’s does not have to prevent us from finding ways to unplug.  Go to the beach for a morning.  Head to the Cypress Slough for an afternoon.  Experience nature!!!   Will the world—or the business you’re in—stop entirely and forever if you are not there for a few hours or days?   Hey, we only have this particular life on Planet Earth once.  Assess your priorities.  Let’s start now….   
A Love Story from Grab Your Bag Travel:    “One of my favorite stories is about a busy professional couple.  The husband first contacted me about a birthday trip for his wife, who was turning 30.  He thought about wine tasting because she liked wine.  I sent them to Napa and Sonoma, where they stayed in a beautiful inn, went on several wine tasting tours around both regions, got an in-room couples’ massage, did a hot-air balloon ride over the vineyards, dines in amazing restaurants, and strolled around the towns they visited.  They were ecstatic.  Not only did they learn a lot about wine and find some new favorites, but they had time in a gorgeous location to bliss out together.  As a bonus, the wife overcame her fear of heights. 
I’ve since booked many trips for this couple and some of their family and friends. Although they have demanding jobs, which they love, they make time to travel every spring and fall, for her birthday and their anniversary. In between they take weekend trips with friends. They now have a toddler and will be doing their first big family trip.”
People want to travel for all sorts of reasons. Some of us are stressed out or overwhelmed at work.  We may want to spend more time with loved ones.  But mainly we want to get away from the “daily grind,” relax, reconnect, and have fun.
Other people simply love their lives, and put a priority on taking care of themselves and taking vacations.  Some are retired, some are in jobs or careers that offer flexibility.  They travel to have new experiences, learn about destinations and cultures, and see the world.  These are curious people.  And as you’ll see later, we don’t have to take a wellness-themed vacation to stay healthy. Almost any kind of vacation will promote physical and mental health.
We all know that stress affects the brain, the body, and our mental and emotional states.  Data from Mayo clinic showed that “not taking a break from everyday stressors can elevate the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which actually speeds up the aging process.”
Vacations and travel promote well-being.  Multiple studies over the years have proven the following facts.

Travel helps keep us physically active, fit and helps us live longer
.   Travel offers opportunities to be active!  There are many wellness and sports-related vacation choices. Biking, hiking, and dancing are popular venues.  The picture with this article is Dr. David on a horseback ride in the mountains in Colorado last summer.  We know a lady who is on an 85-day dance cruise right now!  And, as a bonus, you can choose to visit countries which have good laws and practices in place to provide taste-so-good, clean, nourishing food for their populations.  

Travel creates stronger antibodies by boosting your immune system.  When you travel from place to place, your body adapts to thousands of new bacteria, which in turn enhances the effectiveness of your immune system.  – Mary Ruebush, PhD and professor of microbiology & immunology at Kaplan Medical Center: Why Dirt is Good.)  

Want more? Here are a few other key studies:

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine professor: “Travel triggers genetic changes which dampen stress, boosts the immune system and lowers levels of proteins linked to dementia and depression.”
  • Framingham Heart Study began in 1948; followed 5200 men & women for 20 years; additional 20-year studies continued after that. The long-term data show significantly decreased risk of heart disease and death. (keep reading for details)
  • Global Coalition on Aging & US Travel Assn examined these & other studies.The Findings they highlight are:
    • Men who don’t take vacations were 30% more likely to have heart attacks and at a 20% higher risk of death; heart attack risk increased to 50% for women
    • Women 45-64 who vacationed every 6 years or less had an almost 8 times higher risk of heart disease or death than women who took at least 2 vacations a year.
    • Men at high risk for heart disease who took annual vacations had a lower risk of death from any cause.

YES!  Travel improves mental health, mental power and can prevent burn-out.   Studies show it:

  1. Reduces stress, promotes better sleep & mood; boosts happiness & feelings of well-being
  2. Helps keep the mind sharp, improves focus, increases creativity; brain science: novelty increases neuroplasticity, cognitive flexibility, ability to integrate disparate thoughts
  3. Lowers levels of depression and risk of dementia

Travel creates an opportunity to be with yourself and/or family and friends to reconnect, share experiences and create memories.  Apart from the daily grind and the “norm”, we open up to experience more of our humanness.  Studies show that travel:

  1. Builds new relationships
  2. Deepens understanding
  3. Strengthens sense of self
  4. Strengthens bonds with family and friends
  5. Increases communication skills

Cross-cultural experiences have the potential to pull people out of their cultural bubbles and increase their sense of self.These vacations to foreign lands create a greater understanding, appreciation and acceptance of other cultures and their people.So, it’s not just wellness vacations per se that promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, but *any* kind of vacation can do the same, to a greater or lesser degree.
You may be able to save money by booking your own travel using online booking sites—AND MAYBE NOT!  What we find is that a good travel agent saves us TIME (a big deal for us), agony, and a possible vacation-gone-wrong experience.  This type of service is priceless.  There are no do-overs for bad vacations. Here’s a sad story from Lynn:

“I met a couple on a plane a few years back who were returning from a 50th anniversary trip that they had booked themselves.  They had invited another anniversary couple to come along.  Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out so well.  They booked a hotel on St. Croix that looked like a very nice place.  What they didn’t realize, and the hotel didn’t tell them, was that (a) it was off-season, the hotel’s restaurant was closed for the season, and they were operating on a skeleton staff; (b) the hotel was many miles away from the nearest restaurant and things to do (many of which were closed), and they had to take an expensive taxi ride to get anywhere; (c) it was rainy season and rain came daily; water was flowing into their room under the sliding doors, and maintenance staff was not to be found.  The hotel refused to refund their money or send them elsewhere.  (I don’t know if that hotel is still in business.)  Instead of having a joyous and fun milestone celebration, they shared a disaster with their friends.”
Many people, especially today, don’t realize the benefits of working with a travel professional.   Doing research on your own is a good thing, and your travel agent should encourage that.  Booking travel is another matter.  Anyone who has planned their own travel knows how time consuming, confusing, and sometimes overwhelming it can be.
What we find is that a quality professional who knows the ropes is far more likely to know the right questions to ask and the right resources to trust.   We say SAVE the aggravation, time, and mis-steps. Find a good professional to help you!

Think about it this way:  How do you put a price on the happiness, well-being, improved health and personal growth that travel provides?   And it’s just plain FUN to have someone ask you what you like to do, ask if you would consider this or that.  In any case, Just Do It!  A professional agent will help you create magic and keep your peace of mind!
Want help?  Contact Lynn Lee at, (603) 384-3303.
Lastly here are some final bonuses to consider about planning vacations as a habit: 

  • There are vacations for *every* budget.
  • Vacations are too important to skip.
  • Successful companies sometimes reward their employees for taking vacations, or even insist they do, because vacations make happy, more productive, more creative workers.Maybe you own your own business.Take a trip and take the tax deduction!

Even if you have a stay-cation at home or do short, local trips, PLEASE do it for Your Health!  .

Enjoy your 2019 Vacations!
Deb & Dr. David Martin
And all the Providers at Lotus Blossom Clinic
Serving the Greater Fort Myers area with Natural and Holistic Medicine:   Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Science-backed Food as Medicine, Energy Medicine. NEW in 2019:  Movement Medicine!.  
Why Dirt is Good.  Mary Ruebush, PhD and professor of microbiology & immunology at Kaplan Medical Center.
Framingham Heart Study.
Healthy Aging:  The Physical, Cognitive and Social Benefits of Travel.