Seeking out new and exciting destinations to broaden your perspective and add depth to your experiences is the goal for many travelers.
However, there is something even richer, more desirable, and more lasting you can add during your next vacation – years to your life!
And it’s obtained by doing something many tourists are already great at.
Cultural enrichment is when you immerse yourself in the arts, entertainment, and lifestyles of the society around you – taking a little piece of it as a souvenir, if you will.
There’s a reason these areas of life are major tourist attractions. They add to a person, and in a big way.
The British Medical Journal put out a study revealing that “regularly engaging with the arts has a direct effect on a person’s lifespan,” reports Lonely Planet.
Research led by Dr. Daisy Fancourt from UCL found that engaging in frequent cultural activities could reduce your risk of dying early by 31%, compared to those who avoid the arts altogether.
For those of you who aren’t into gambling, trust us that those are pretty good numbers.
If you needed any more motivation to gaze upon the skyward beauty of the Sistine Chapel or grab a Guinness with the locals in Ireland, then this is it.
More than 6,700 adults participated in the study and had been selected from an even larger study on aging named the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Participants were monitored for an impressive twelve-year span, and “factors likely to influence the results – such as marital status, employment, wealth, education and friendship groups – were taken into account in order to get a balanced result.”
While one can see how engaging in the arts causes new brain synapses to form from the new experiences and new thoughts (like why hasn’t the leaning tower of Pisa toppled over yet), it’s the exploration of new social factors that’s a key determinant of health, according to researchers.
We’ve seen that spending time by the sea can improve our mental health, and now we may be able to add years to that peaceful existence by catching a game at Yankee Stadium or perusing the Natural History Museum.
Looking for some fun ways to add the arts to your next vacation?
If visiting Washington D.C., spend a morning at the National Gallery of Art and admire Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of Ginevra de Benci. It’s his only original work housed in the entire Western Hemisphere.
If you want to do more in California than walk around Hollywood hoping to catch a glimpse of Brad Pitt, then visit the enchanting home of the Ewoks in Redwood National Park.
Or if you’re the outdoors type, share a cup of hot cocoa with the indigenous people of northern Canada under the inspiring array of the Northern Lights.
Whichever cultural enrichment activity you choose, you will undoubtedly add memories to an already amazing getaway.
Please let us know in the comments section how you include the arts into your vacations, and what your favorite cultural experience has been so far.