Results for tag "travel-addiction"

Mark Twain Was Right: Study Finds ‘Travel is Fatal to Prejudice’

The results of a new study support what most travelers, including the late Mark Twain, have always known to be true: Traveling abroad makes you a more trusting, empathetic and open-minded person.


Photo courtesy of sivinjski danijel

What many travelers might not realize, however, is it is not how long you stay in a particular country or how many months you spend on the road that is key, it’s the amount of countries and foreign cultures you expose yourself to while abroad that has the greatest impact. In other words, the more countries you visit, the more open-minded and trusting you’ll become.

The Northwestern University researchers behind the study were big fans of the Mark Twain quote  ”Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”, which Mr Twain wrote in his book Innocents Abroad.

mark twain travel quote

The researchers decided to test Twain’s theory – does travel really cure narrow-mindedness? – and did so across five different studies. The five studies involved a total of 700 participants (both American and Chinese)

The Surprising Findings

* Breadth (the number of countries visited) seemed to have more of an impact  than depth (the length of time abroad). The results showed that those who’d traveled to multiple countries were more trusting (I.e, they had developed “charitable views of men”) than those who may have spent several years abroad but who had only experienced one or two foreign cultures.

* People who visited countries whose cultures were vastly different from their own tended to be more trusting than those who had visited countries that were similar to their home country.

Apparently “seeing more of the world may be as or more important than spending a longer period of time seeing less of it”, according to the lead researcher Jiyin Cao.

The study was published on Dec 5th in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science. You can read about the five studies in more detail in this article on

Study Finds the Further People Travel from Home, the Happier They Become

Straight from the “well, DUH” files comes the findings of a study from scientists at the University of Vermont: The more miles you put between your home and job, the happier you become. Or, as researchers put it: “Expressed happiness increases logarithmically with distance from an individual’s average location.”

texting on the beach

Scientists reached this conclusion after analyzing 37 million tweets from 180,000 different Twitter users. The tweets, which were collected over the course of 2011 and included each Twitter user’s location, were ranked on a happiness scale scientists called the hedonometer.

People’s relative happiness levels were assessed based on how often they used common words like “great” or “hate”. Unsurprisingly, when people were far from their usual locations (I.e., when they were on the road or on vacation), they used words like “beach”, “love”, “rainbow”, “excellent” “restaurant”, “coffee”, and “new”,  whereas when they were closer to home (i.e, commuting to work, picking up the dry cleaning), they were more likely to use words like “bored”, “no”, “damn” and “hate”.

Of course, it’s hard to tell with these findings how many of those Twitter users are actually happy to be traveling and how many are just pretending or simply showing off. Then there’s the fact that while it’s very easy to complain on Twitter about having to, say, go to the dentist or get your tires rotated, people are going to be harder-pressed to find something negative to say while tanning on the beach in Bora Bora (even if they’re not particular happy while doing so).

Anyway, regardless, you can follow me on Twitter as I (happily!) tweet about my adventures from both the road and at home.

Photo courtesy of Palomaleca.

Wanna know more about the correlation between travel and happiness?

Here’s a post I wrote about how travel can slow time  and another one on how travelers are some of the happiest, healthiest and most well-adjusted people on the planet.