Life in the 21st century seems to be about gadgets, fashion, and social media – all signs of the consumer-oriented society we now live in, and purported bringers of happiness.

But do they? Research from San Francisco State University and Cornell University found that satisfaction from buying stuff is short-lived, and life soon becomes all about chasing the ‘next big thing’. You’re much more likely to feel connected to somebody who’s also been to Peru, rather than someone who also happens to possess the latest iPhone. So stop buying things and start accumulating experiences.

If you need any more convincing, read on for a list of the many benefits of travelling the world.

1. Improve your social skills

One of the main benefits of travelling is that you learn how to communicate with all kinds of people. It may seem an alien concept today, but ‘real’ social networks do thrive. You’re likely to meet fellow travellers, many of whom love to share experiences and tips on places to go. These chance encounters could lead to lasting friendships with people from all over the world. You never know, that couple you met in Egypt last winter may well invite you to their destination wedding in Greece.

2. Feel like an adventurer

The world has never been as well connected as it is today, but there are places untapped by many. Poring over an atlas and creating a bucket list of places to visit can be exceedingly motivating. You now have something tangible to go after, and it forces you to think differently. Adventure requires novelty; so get moving. Daunting as it may seem, going on a weekend hike will make you feel different. And in retrospect, it’ll be a decision you won’t regret.

3. Discover amazing food

You may be the best cook this side of the Prime Meridian, and your paella a big hit with family and friends. But let’s not kid ourselves; eating local food in Spain is an entirely different experience. All the flavours seem, well, different! So enjoy something old, but try something new. And wouldn’t it be a real feather in your cap if you learned to cook something new? Or re-learn how to cook a favourite staple?

4. Improve your mental well being

From reducing stress to lowering your chances of developing heart disease, travel offers a temporary disconnect from routine and helps you appreciate people and things around you. For some folk, travel has a positive impact on their mental well-being, and a trip to foreign shores can be a catalyst to alleviating signs of depression and anxiety. And all the activity can only help.

5. Enhance your creativity

Stepping outside your comfort zone makes your mind more creative. There’s no better way to develop new neural connections and gain different perspectives than by exploring new places. Being exposed to different cultures, people, and food can bring about a shift in your own patterns, instilling a healthier outlook once you return home. A hard day at work suddenly won’t seem so bad when you reflect on memories you’ve brought back with you.

6. Broaden your horizons

You’ve got your daily routine down pat, you’re comfortable where you are, but that’s a minuscule part of the world. Meeting people from different cultures provides an education that’s impossible to get through studying, reading, or watching TV. So even if you didn’t enjoy your first attempt at scuba diving or the whisky trail, you’ll at least be able to relate to it when people talk about it. You never know, you may accidentally discover your new favourite food, passion, or hobby while at it! And perhaps spice up your daily routine once you’re home.

7. Boost your confidence

Being in an unfamiliar place will naturally strengthen your presence of mind. You’ll develop the ability to deal successfully with obstacles, such as tackling an unfamiliar language or figuring out a city’s subway system. This will help you grow and make you a more confident person. Becoming a well-rounded individual is of great help in social settings with a wider variety of people.

8. Create memories

Travelling with friends and family helps you build stronger bonds and make memories. Imagine someone who’s never eaten with chopsticks learning to do so while on a trip to China. It may seem an insignificant achievement to many, but it would have created a lasting memory for the person concerned.

9. Have fun!

No matter your age or profession, your inner child is bursting to get out and have fun. So go skydiving or snorkelling, or pilot a speedboat on a lake in Switzerland. Remember, travel is not about being shepherded from one place to another; it’s about breaking free.

10. Come home rejuvenated

Do you find yourself often reaching a point when the daily pressure seems overwhelming? That’s when you need to take a step back. Travelling is a natural way to unwind. You’ll return with renewed energy, a can-do attitude, a new set of mental filters, and ready to take on the next big project or challenge. Call it a life-reboot if you will.

Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” It may sound like a cliché, but travelling is an investment in your own well-being, and companies like Tata Capital have made it possible to go on a dream holiday at an affordable cost. Besides, travel loans give you an easy opportunity to experience life anew. So what are you waiting for?