But many Americans refuse to ever travel outside of this country
For many Americans, there really is no place like home.
Seven percent of Americans say that even if money was no object, they wouldn’t travel outside of the U.S., according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults 18 and older released Thursday by The Cashlorette, a site owned by Bankrate.com; people who live in rural areas and members of the Boomer and Silent generations were significantly more likely to not want to travel internationally. And this comes at a time when only about one in three Americans holds a valid passport.
Why are many Americans repelled by traveling outside of U.S. borders? Psychologist Christine Barber-Addis says that this may be due to the frequency with which we consume media and social media these days. “With the easily accessible knowledge of the violence and turmoil around the world, it seems that these 7% of Americans are not feeling safe to leave the states,” she explains. “Perhaps there is a sense that staying ‘home’ is safer than venturing outside of it.”
The language barrier may also play into this, as many Americans only speak English, as might the fact that America has “a lot to offer in terms of travel destinations, explains psychologist Crystal Lee. And psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, author of “A Happy You,” notes that travel hassles might prevent people from wanting to leave the U.S., as could the fact that many of us are simply “more comfortable with what is known.”
Whatever the reasons, this tendency to stay within the U.S. could have negative implications. Indeed, research shows that traveling abroad can enhance creativity. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, who has studied the topic, explains in The Atlantic.
But not just any foreign experience will do. “The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion, and adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.”
Other benefits of foreign travel include exposure to other cultures and learning at least some of a new language or customs. And travel in general has been shown to reduce stress, improve health and boost happiness.
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