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I’m writing this on my way back from a staycation. It wasn’t anywhere too far or too special. Mr O and I spent a few days pottering around Scarborough, enjoying the tail end of a typically overcast and nippy British summer and eating our weight – okay, just me here – in fresh fish.

The beauty of travel is it opens your mind to new worlds and expands your knowledge. Until three days ago, I had no idea there were villages named Barton le Willows, Holme on Spalding Moore, Thornton le Dale. I also didn’t know Scarborough was Britain’s first seaside resort.

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In 1626, Elizabeth Farrow discovered a stream of acidic water running down the cliff and into the sea in the South Bay. The water healed ailments because of its chemical make-up, much like stomach salts in chemists do today. A Dr Wittie book about the spa waters published in 1660 was a huge catalyst for visitors to ‘Scarborough Spa’ and the town became Britain’s first seaside resort.

Neither did I know that the town was founded in 966AD as Skarðaborg by Thorgills Skarthi, a Viking raider.

On the way back, taking the scenic route, we decided to stop by the picturesque village of Thornton le Dale whose chocolate box cottages decorate many chocolate and biscuit tins.

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The beauty of travel is it changes you. Every time you step out of your comfort zone and travel somewhere new, you’ve changed. Whether it’s Nairobi or Newcastle, Kigali or coastal Kent… every new experience miles you into this new person.

Here are some of the top benefits of travel.
1. You rediscover the world you live in
Have you ever felt stuck in a rut? Day in, day out, in the same routine? Even a day trip gives you a break from the routine. So wired are you to new experiences while you are away that you come back with renewed zest for life, heightened senses, and sharper eyes to appreciate the magic in the mundane.

2. You rely on your gut
The beauty of taking yourself out of routine is it also takes you out of your comfort zone. Have you ever travelled to a country for the first time where you don’t speak the language and you rely on your intuition to navigate the world around you? Once on a girls’ trip to Marrakech, losing my way in the labyrinthine souk, in a moment of foolishness, I almost relied on some local lads giving me directions until two alleyways in, I realised something was amiss and possibly narrowly missed being mugged in broad daylight, relying solely on my gut. Middle England doesn’t seem as risky, but on this staycation, I came way out of my comfort zone cycling out on the rolling hills of Yorkshire and once again relied on my gut to find the safest route back home in a landscape I wasn’t at all familiar with.

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3. You become more adaptable
Another beauty of coming out of your comfort zone is you have no idea what it will bring. It’s when you travel you realise that no matter how well planned a journey there will always be roadblocks you couldn’t have foreseen. Travel is a great test of one’s flexibility. The road you meant to take has a diversion? The restaurant you were looking forward to eating at is shut due to staff shortages? How will you work around these obstacles? If you can navigate your way around the curveballs life throws at you on the road, you can navigate any little hiccup once back home.

4. You give yourself a much-needed break
Routine makes one rusty. Especially after the 18 months, we’ve all head in the grip of a global pandemic it is so easy to get burnt out without realising that’s what happens. Even a day trip helps break down the routine and recalibrate your mind.

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5. You get to meet new people
If you’re not naturally outgoing, this may feel like torture. I recall my mum – possibly a bigger introvert than Mr O – having to dodge calls from a woman she’d met on holiday who’d insisted on having her and her friend’s number so they could keep in touch and come over for coffee once back home in Istanbul.

After a year of unreturned calls, Ms Aisha finally got the message. Extreme cases of introversion aside though, I’ve heard stories of many a friendship forged while on holiday. Worst-case scenario, as I do, you can eavesdrop on useful conversations about local attractions or strike up a conversation with a fellow dog owner about the dog-friendly venues on location.

6. You discover we are all the same after all
Checking out of the hotel this morning, I overheard a family quarrel in a thick Northern accent. Difference of accent aside, it sounded like the sort of disagreement that could happen in any family. The further you travel, the more you realise, despite our superficial differences – race, colour, creed, accent, we are all humankind after all. And God knows, in the world, we live in today, we could do with as many reminders as we can get.

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