Search for Serotonin - Full-Time Travel

Search for Serotonin

Happy Travels

A Happiness Expert's Guide to Mood-Elevating Excursions

Will traveling to one of the world’s happiest countries improve your mood? Before you book that flight to Finland — currently the world’s most contented country according to a report released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations — here’s what a happiness expert says about boosting your serotonin on the road. Christine Carter, Sociologist and Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley says that happy travels are far from one-size-fits-all. The trick, she says, is tailoring your trip to your specific needs.

Inn Crowd

Sleep depleted? Stay close-ish to home, or at least in the same time zone, says Carter. “Do not take a red eye if you’re already exhausted and whatever you do, don’t travel across multiple time zones. It’s impossible to lead your best life when you’re exhausted,” she says. “Stay as close as possible to your circadian rhythm. People hate to hear this but if you’re exhausted and go to Bali, it’s going to take you weeks to recover,” she says. “It’s also important to know your personal booby traps. If you truly need rest, find hotels without Internet access if you’re easily distracted with social media, etc.” Tip: Search for a stay that encourages rest. At L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona, the focus is on recharging mind and body with activities like yoga, meditation and forest bathing, where guests are guided through nature at twilight to calm all of the senses. 

Well & Good

“If what you need most in your life is a greater sense of meaning or fulfillment, thenvoluntourism is a great idea,” says Carter. “It can put you in touch with the power you have to help others.” Research shows that volunteering has been shown to improve your mood, lower stress and even increase life span. Combining volunteering with travel is no less beneficial, says Carter. Tip: Discover Corps offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities around the world.

“You may not get a lot of comfort from visiting a developing country, but if you have a meaningful experience volunteering there, you might feel a sense of peace and contentedness that you’ve never felt before.”

– Christine Carter
Sociologist and Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley

Nature Nurtured

Short on serotonin? Carter recommends seeking a sense of awe. “One of the best ways to do this is to find transcendence that comes from the natural world,” she says. And you don’t have to travel to the far ends of the earth to reap the benefits: Even a 20-minute walk through an urban park can have a positive impact on mood. Research also shows that it’s not just the Grand Canyon and Northern Lights that activate awe: Viewing nature at its most destructive — volcanoes, tornadoes — also has the power to make us happier.

Eat, Drink, Repeat

So is there any reason to visit the world’s happiest countries? “One argument would be that emotions are very contagious, so if you are among locals who have a very high level of wellbeing, their happiness is likely to cue our own nervous system,” says Carter. “If you’re going to Bhutan because you want to be happy, however, you’re going to have to hang out with Bhutanese people.” Finland recently launched a campaign to do just that. Rent a Finnpairs tourists and locals (known as “happiness guides”) to explore the country’s natural wonders, food and culture. While all spots have been taken for 2019, here’s a quiz designed to help anyone optimize happiness while visiting the country.

HERO: @Ritz-Carlton

INN CROWD:@L'Auberge de Sedona

WELL & GOOD@African Impact

NATURE NURTURED:@Matakauri Lodge

"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen