We all have our own reasons for getting away from the stress of everyday life... the repetitive nature of our work, the chaos of a city commute, challenging relationships with difficult people in our lives, just to name a few. But more than just an escape from the people, places, and things that heighten our stress, travel is important therapy for a healthy and balanced life.
First and foremost, travel gives us a change in perspective. Many times, our stress comes from a place of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Get away from the environment that is challenging you and perhaps you'll see that those people, places, and things that leave you feeling anxious, depressed, bored, or angry actually have more to do with your own thoughts and emotions than they do with life going on around you. Step outside of that for a little while and you may be surprised what you learn about yourself.
Traveling takes us out of our comfort zone and places us somewhere where things are not nearly as predictable, and that builds character. Sometimes, it comes in the form of navigating harrowing roadways in Baja California and finding a pristine cliffside restaurant in a forgotten town overlooking the Pacific. Sometimes it's a wrong turn on a hiking trail in a National Park and discovering the best photo of your entire trip with not a single other hiker in the shot.
Observing cultural diversity in the places where you travel and building an understanding of those cultures within your own life experience is invaluable. You may find yourself learning about cuisine that you never dreamed existed or experiencing local music and art that speaks directly to your heart and soul. You may even find yourself learning new languages. And a bonus that you may not have thought about is that all of these experiences look great on a resumé if you intend to bring them forward into your everyday work life. If nothing else, you will gain stories that your friends and family will be eager to hear about upon your return.
Finally, the happiness, adventure, and peace of being that you experience in travel becomes infectious; for people around you of course, but also for your self. It's just like when you were a child, getting over your fear of that big roller coaster, stepping off your first ride, and declaring with innocent joy, "let's do it again!"