• We’ve found the secret to youth over 50.  And no, it’s not green juice or yoga – although those help, too.

    It’s international travel.

    You may be thinking, “What? International travel? Baloney!” But before you disregard the idea, take a moment to picture the people you know who travel the most. Yup, that couple. The ones who look 10 years younger than their age and are always sharing photos of some amazing destination at dinner parties.  You probably assumed they travel because they feel young – what if it’s the other way around? What if it’s their travels that are keeping them young?

    It makes sense. Here are the ways international travel helps keep you young.

    1. It’s mentally challenging.

    When you follow the same routine day in and day out, it’s easy to let yourself go on autopilot: drive to work, hit the gym, cook dinner, turn on a movie, and fall asleep. But that’s not doing you any good; a brain needs to be challenged to stay fresh.

    And international travel is full of challenges. How do you navigate those windy cobblestone streets to find the hotel again? How do you say “I’d like a glass of wine” in Japanese? Forget crossword puzzles or sudoku – travel is the greatest (and most fun) way to exercise your brain.

    2. It gets you physically active.

    But your brain’s not the only thing that needs working out. We all know staying physically active – even just in small doses – is key to a long and healthy life.

    Traveling forces you to get active because there’s so much to see and do. Nobody goes on vacation and then sits in their room all day. (If they do, they might as well have stayed at home!) From carrying your suitcase up your cute (and elevator-less) Italian hotel’s stairs, to practicing salsa in Cuba, traveling abroad gets you moving in fun new ways.

    3. It introduces you to new friends.

    It’s been shown that people with friends live longer than those without. But the thing is: the older you get, the tougher it is to meet new people.

    That’s not the case when you’re traveling. Whether you’re on a cruise, chatting with new people at your dinner table, or on a volunteer vacation, working side-by-side with locals and like-minded volunteers, traveling is a fantastic way to expand your social circle.

    4. It gives you something to look forward to.

    Sometimes, it can feel like the best years of your life are behind you. You’ve found career success, raised a family, or done whatever it is you set out to accomplish when you were young and starry-eyed.

    Traveling internationally gives you a renewed sense of purpose and excitement. The world is vast – and once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, you’ll never feel like you’ve finished exploring it. That endless curiosity will help you live your best life for years to come.

    There are lots of ways to maintain your youth, but we think one of the most fun – and effective – is traveling abroad. The challenges and joys of your international adventures will keep you young and give you incredible stories to pass on to future generations.

    Do you enjoy traveling abroad? Why or why not?  Give your comments!

    Read More:

    Exciting New Options for Solo Women Travelers

    Learn and Travel – Road Scholar

    Can a 65-Year-Old Woman Survive Peru’s Inca Trail

    Ecotourism – 10 Wonderful Destinations

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    Article by: Susan Shain

    Susan Shain works with Discover Corps, the only volunteer vacation organization endorsed by the National Peace Corps Association. She believes the best way to discover a country is through its people. Click here to learn more about Discover Corps’ all-inclusive volunteer vacations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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    1. Alicechat2000@gmail.com' Alice2000 says:

      I’m interested in a lot of these ideas so that I can continue to travel even without a friend or partner. Very helpful!

      1. susanshain@gmail.com' Susan Shain says:

        Great, Alice — so glad you found it helpful! You might enjoy this post, too: http://thevolunteertraveler.discovercorps.com/solo-volunteer-vacations/.

    2. suzanne@boomeresque.com' Suzanne Fluhr says:

      I inherited my wanderlust from my father who decided it would be a good idea to take the family to live in Mexico for a year when I was 9, and the oldest child. My parents rented out our house, loaded up our ’57 Chevy and off we went. My parents did not have a firm idea of where we would end up. Five years later, we lived in England for a year where Dad was an exchange teacher. When I wanted to study in Bogota, Colombia for a semester during college (back before very many people studied abroad), that was fine with my parents. I haven’t looked back. Within the last 12 months I’ve been to Germany, Austria, Hungary, South Africa and Spain.

      1. susanshain@gmail.com' Susan Shain says:

        Wow, Suzanne, sounds like you’ve done some amazing things in your life! I love that you “inherited your wanderlust” — what a great thing for your father to pass on! PS. Colombia is one of my favorite countries 🙂