Being in Awe

Go for the Experience













 A Favorite Benefit of Travel

As I prepare for my seminar that I am giving at the Prime Time of Your Life Expo this Saturday, entitled The Secret Benefits of Travel, I thought I would share one of my favorite benefits with you: Being in Awe.

A psychologist at Stanford University, Melanie Rudd, feels that there is a growing concern about people feeling time-starved due to our busy lives and use of all our technological gadgets.  She conducted a study on the correlation between awe and happiness.

This study states that awe is an emotion we feel when we encounter something so beautiful that it changes our perspective, at least for a moment. They showed the study participants “awe videos” of waterfalls, whales, astronauts in outer space, and “happiness videos”, showing parades of smiling, joyful people or rainbow confetti falling from the air. The result: By fixating on these awe or happy moments, time seemed to slow down, making participants feel like they had more of time to spare.

The study shows that “being in the present moment elongates time perception”, and makes people want to “partake in experiential goods over material ones.” The finding: “ an awe-inspiring experience, or a moment that overwhelms to the point that time seems to stand still can improve our mental state and make us nicer people overall.

Now, they didn’t have to conduct a study as far as I’m concerned. I have known that travel can bring us these moments of awe since age 13 when I first crossed the ocean by myself to take a grand tour of Europe with my cousin and her family.  Now my journal reminds me that I was in more awe of the cute waiters in our hotel dining rooms than the sights!

Here are some awe moments from my recent world tour.

I was in awe as I walked alone through the Siq in Petra, Jordan, a truly magical and spiritual moment since there were so many crowds.

I was in awe as I explored the underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

I was in awe as I walked on a path at our lodge in Tanzania. Africa is the one destination that I can honestly say will give you many peaceful moments.

I was in awe as I took a morning beach walk in  American Samoa.  

After remembering these moments, it brings to mind that the world is so vast. For all I have seen, I am reminded of all that I have not seen when I look at the winners of the annual National Geographic Photo Contest.  Take a look at this site to see the amazing and awe inspiring photos.   It is easy to think that you have seen so many destinations until the photo contest appears each year.  Then you are in AWE of the scope of the world we live in!

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