The Fascinating Backstory Behind Valentine’s Day Candy Hearts.

The history involved a pharmacy and

America’s first candy machine.

Conversation hearts, Necco hearts, candy hearts, Or Sweethearts, people use many different names to describe those tiny heart-shaped chunks of candy sporting short messages that are ubiquitous around Valentine’s Day.

The candy is iconic, and pretty much synonymous with the most romantic day of the year. But when it comes to actually eating real conversation hearts… well, let’s just say it’s a divisive topic.

But what are they even made of? And where did they come from? In honor of Valentine’s Day, we took a look at the history and process behind
conversation hearts.

The history of the hearts

The story of conversation hearts begins in 1847, when a Boston pharmacist named Oliver Chase invented a machine that would make it easier to produce lozenges.

At the time, apothecary lozenges (basically medicine mixed with sugar paste) were in high demand as a popular remedy for sore throats and other ailments. But making them was a labor-intensive process that involved pulverization with a mortar and pestle, kneading dough, rolling it out and cutting it into small discs.

Oliver simplified the process with his lozenge cutter, often considered America’s first candy-making machine.

The pharmacist then shifted his focus from medicinal lozenges to candy and founded Chase and Company, which later became the New England Confectionery Company or Necco. The candy lozenges became what we know today as Necco Wafers. In 1866, Daniel Chase, brother of Oliver, devised a way to press words onto the candy lozenges, using a felt roller pad moistened with vegetable coloring (usually red).

There are a few different theories about the inspiration behind these specially printed lozenges. One unverified legend claims that Union soldiers in the Civil War carried around Necco Wafers, then known as “hub wafers,” and the practice of sending romantic letters to soldiers sparked the idea for conversation hearts.

Others suggest that Daniel was inspired by the growing popularity of Valentine’s Day cards, which Massachusetts resident Esther Howland started selling in the mid-1800s. What seems like a more likely explanation is that Daniel drew his inspiration from cockles, a popular candy shaped like a scallop shell that contained a “motto” printed on thin, rolled-up paper. He decided to devise a way to print the messages directly onto candy.

UR SWEET: What they’re made of

Necco offers classic Sweethearts, as well as sugar-free, chocolate, “color your own” and “dazzled” varieties. The company website describes how the classic candy hearts are made.

Daniel’s “conversation candies” or “motto lozenges” were not heart-shaped until 1902. Around that time, the candy, previously sold as simple discs, also started appearing in fun shapes like baseballs, horseshoes, and watches.

Conversation hearts were a big success, and over the next century, other small candy companies started offering similar products. With the acquisition of Stark Candy Company in 1990, Necco says it became “the leading manufacturer of conversation hearts.”

Today, the company claims to produce about 100,000 pounds of Sweethearts every day from mid-February through January. It produces approximately 8 billion candy hearts each year.

Manufacturers combine sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, flavors, gums, and colors into a mixing machine to create a dough, which then goes into a machine that presses it flat, stamps it with sayings and cut it into hearts. After 30 minutes in a “drying tunnel,” the six different heart flavors are mixed together and packaged.

According to the ingredient list on the box, Sweethearts contain sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, glycerine, artificial and natural flavors, gelatin, vegetable gums (tragacanth, xanthan, and Arabic), citric acid, and artificial colors (red 3, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, blue 1). So, no, they’re not made of chalk.

 

TEXT ME: The sayings

Today’s sayings are on average much shorter than the original ones. Some of the original sayings are still in rotation including “Be Mine,” “Be Good,” “Be True,” and “Kiss Me.” In the early 1990s, Sweethearts began an initiative to update the sayings each year, retiring some while adding others. The first new phrase, “Fax Me,” gained a lot of attention from Sweetheart fans. Following this notable effort, each year Sweethearts receives hundreds of suggestions from romantics, candy lovers, and school kids. From old tech, “Call Me” to new tech, “Text Me,” Sweethearts phrases have reflected eras throughout history.

While most people love to eat them, Sweethearts have also been used in other ingenious ways over the years: to propose marriage, to teach children reading, to decorate cakes and to use as borders for picture frames. The uses for Sweethearts are seemingly endless!

 

Source: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/history-of-conversation-hearts_n_5a72a8e1e4b06fa61b4d60ef?guccounter=1&guce_

 

Winter Travel Destinations

Aspen
Aspen really has it all when it comes to a ski town. The beauty of this place is seldom matched, with expert ski slopes that flow directly into its impressive historic downtown. On top of that, there is skiing at three other mountains on the same pass: Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk.

If you’re more into shopping than skiing, Aspen is definitely your ski town. Famous brand name stores line the streets, matched by some of the country’s most premier boutiques. Kemo Sabe offers among the finest handmade cowboy boots and custom fitted hats, immortalizing the Old West.

Along with the “Power of Four” resorts, Aspen has lodging throughout its beautiful valley. Snowmass Village is another fun outlet for apres-ski entertainment. It also boasts the most ski-in/ski-out lodging of any town in the state. A free shuttle connects all the ski areas.

Breckenridge
Sitting at the base of the stunning Ten Mile Range, Breckenridge is known for its high altitude life. The former boomtown sits at 9,600 feet above sea level, making it the highest town on this list (Leadville, home to Ski Cooper, takes the cake for ski towns at 10,152 feet).

Breckenridge Ski Resort features five fun peaks to shred on Peaks 6 to 10. Some folks will complain that Breck flattens out and is a beginner mountain, but with 2,908 acres, if you can’t find the expert line you’re looking for, keep looking. Breck’s a party town that’s absolutely loaded with restaurants and nightlife. You can’t walk down the street for more than a few minutes without passing dozens of happy hour specials.

Telluride
Few towns can match the natural beauty of Telluride’s rugged box canyon. The Gondola rises directly out of its historic district offering unparalleled views and access to its internationally renowned slopes. The ski trails begin at 8,750 feet and rise all the way to 13,320 feet (with a little hiking). This happens in the San Juan Mountains too, some of the state’s steepest.

After skiing, this Old West town is just waiting to be explored. Low key restaurants serve up a world-class fare. A separate mountain village offers even more options. Festivals happen nearly every weekend, keeping the spirits at a high all winter. This added to Telluride’s remote location, make it a truly special place to be.

Steamboat Springs
Steamboat is home to the best tree skiing in the state, bar none! Combine that with Champagne Powder and an awesome mountain town and you get tourists that turn into locals after the season’s over. That’s the Yampa Valley curse put on the town by the Ute Indian Chief Colorow. So don’t expect to leave this western charmer without returning year after year. Steamboat’s 2,965 acres and down to earth amenities will please nearly anyone.

Downtown Steamboat has everything you need for an epic ski vacation, including two hot springs: Old Town and Strawberry Park. While in town stop by F.M. Light & Sons for an authentic Cowboy get-up. They have been outfitting Routt County for over 100 years.

Crested Butte
Crested Butte is often referred to as Colorado’s “last great ski town”. And for good reason, the town is sweet and the mountain scenery is spectacular.

The mountain makes the most of its 1,547 acres, with expert steeps and long, groomed cruisers. You can even ride its iconic butte if you hike a little. The Crested Butte Adventure Park will keep the kids busy while off the skis with tubing and mini golf. Downtown CB is as picturesque as they come, lined with colorful Victorian storefronts and homes. A separate base village provides additional dining, lodging, and attractions. Families will enjoy the frequent deals that combine lodging or airfare with free lift tickets.

Vail
Of course, the biggest ski area in the state has an equally impressive home. Vail’s Austrian inspired village is absolutely gorgeous around nearly every corner. In addition to its two striking base areas: Vail Village and Lionshead, the Vail Valley are dotted with places to stay and play, including plenty of cross country ski and snowshoe trails, as well as I-70, which divides the town.

Much like how Snowmass Village was combined with Aspen earlier on this list, Beaver Creek is combined with Vail. It’s a Vail owned resort nestled high behind a gate above its home in Avon, ten minutes from Vail on I-70. They also share a daily lift ticket so you can ride both in one day, but that’s unlikely given their combined 343 trails and 7,121 skiable acres. Nearly every business in both towns strives to deliver world class service and experiences. Stay at either the Ritz Carlton or Osprey in Beaver Creek and you’ll walk right out onto a chairlift. To escape the crowds, head into Minturn and grab a beer at the Saloon.

Winter Park
Winter Park is perfect for those looking for a reliable ski area, with a variety of things to do, but no attitude. Its relaxed personality is reflected in every beautiful town in Grand County, which all happily welcomes visitors with their western charm.

Combined with Mary Jane, Winter Park reps 3,081 skiable acres, including a wide bowl and backcountry gates. The tree skiing at Mary Jane is among the best in the state too. There are known to be a few ski shacks built by locals in the woods so keep an eye out for them. Winter Park is another resort with both a mountain village and a separate downtown. The village is quaint and charming, complete with a Cabriolet, or small gondola, that brings visitors to its car-free streets. The downtown may be less walkable than some, but it’s got variety in restaurants, affordable lodging, and easy-to-access recreation.

Keystone
Below Keystone’s steep slopes, you’ll find a well thought out ski village waiting to be uncovered. It has probably the best outdoor ice rink in the state. Like Vail, Keystone’s mountain village is also downtown. It’s not as busy as Summit County neighborhood Breck, but there are still plenty of places to eat and stay, and you can always find a deal if you look.

The ski area is Summit’s largest at 3,148 acres, with three incredible peaks: Dercum Mountain, North Peak, and The Outback. There’s also night skiing on weekends and holidays. If you get bored somehow, you can ski at Arapahoe Basin, which is also in the city limits.

Source: https://www.uncovercolorado.com/best-ski-towns-colorado/

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Source: https://healthylittlepeach.com/2018/01/24/butternut-squash-soup/

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 3 large carrots ((dice in big chunks))
  • 1 medium onion ((quarter the onion, big chunks))
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chicken bone broth
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pumpkin seeds or just plain seeds will work
  • cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425º. Line a large roasting sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash cut in half lengthwise (removing seeds), carrots, onion, and garlic on a roasting sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add to the top shelf of your oven.
  2. After 20 minutes of roasting, remove the onions and garlic. After 45 minutes, remove the squash and carrots. Make sure it is fork-tender and allow it to cool before scooping out the squash.
  3. Once cool, start scooping out the inside and transfer the squash and carrots to your blender with your onions and garlic. Add 2 cups of compliant chicken stock and 1/2 cup bone broth to the mix (If you don’t have bone broth, just use regular broth). Depending on desired consistency, add more broth for thinner soup and less for a thicker consistency.
  4. Add in your ghee and coconut milk and blend until all ingredients are smooth.
  5. Add more seasoning to taste and top with bacon, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro. Drizzle everything with fresh coconut milk to make the
    flavors explode.

Pets of the Month

Gojira: The Boston Terrier
My name is Gojira aka Goji and I live with my human, Kimmy Laposky, at LionsHead Apartments in Omaha, Nebraska. I am a one and a half-year-old Boston Terrier. My Mom says I am the friendliest little pup who loves everyone. I was rescued from a puppy mill auction along with my brothers by the MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue. I enjoy spending my days sunbathing, doing tricks for treats and giving kisses. I also have an Instagram account: @gojikingofbostons.

Tali: The Cat
My name is Tali, and I live at Le Palais Apartments in Houston, Texas with my human, Rachel McCarn. My Mom says that I am a precious princess diva kitty. My favorite things are being brushed and relaxing in the window. I am also an explorer and like to jump up on top of the kitchen cabinets. I don’t care for company that much, so I’ve become a pro at hiding from visitors!

10 Survival Tips For Holiday Travel

Wherever you’re heading, if you’re traveling during the holiday season, you need to realize that everyone else in the world is, too. But don’t let invasive security scanners, terrible drivers and long lines at the airports get you down. We’re giving you tips to survive the holiday travel season without a Frosty the Snowman-size meltdown.

  1. Do your research.
    Plan alternative trips if traffic makes your way home too overwhelming. Is there a scenic drive that might be longer but has less traffic? Break up a long drive by finding a few places to stop that will get the kids more excited than a truck rest stop. When flying, make sure you check the airline’s restrictions ahead of time on carry-on luggage and fees for checked bags.
  2. Stay connected.
    Stock up on the latest travel apps before you leave home. GateGuru gives you approximate times you’ll spend in the security line. Heading out on the road? Find the cheapest gas with GasBuddy.
  3. Pack light.
    Avoid checking bags altogether if you can. You won’t have to wait for your luggage on the conveyor belt, and you won’t have to worry about your mom’s Christmas present getting lost in an Airport. If you do check luggage, make sure you have all your medications,
    important documents and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage, just in case your checked luggage gets lost.
  4. Pack earplugs.
    Short of doing yoga in the airport, the best way to mentally escape your stressful surroundings is to turn the volume down. The easiest way to do that is with earplugs. Is there a crying baby in the next seat over on the plane? Earplugs. Sister’s music in the car driving you mad? Earplugs. If you really want to check out for a bit, bring an eye mask (as long as you aren’t driving)!
  5. Don’t get hangry.
    When your tummy growls, your mind can’t think straight, and you could unknowingly get in the wrong line, take the wrong turn, or worse, upset an innocent flight attendant. Pack snacks and drinks, so you and your family will be fueled up for a road trip. If you’re flying, definitely get some grub before you board the plane so you won’t have to rely on airline food if you’re sitting on the tarmac for hours.
  6. Ship gifts or give gift cards.
    TSA suggests to ship wrapped gifts or wait until you reach your destination to wrap them, as they might have to unwrap a present to inspect it. Ship gifts ahead of time or bring the gift that can’t go wrong: gift cards!
  7. Travel on off-peak days.
    The day before the holidays is always the busiest time to travel and can also cause you the biggest meltdown. A better option is to leave early on the day of the holiday and avoid the traffic the night before. Same goes with flying: If you fly on the actual holiday itself you’ll be avoiding the long lines and hoards of travelers.
  8. Travel early or late in the day.
    Flight statistics show that planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance. If your flight is canceled, you will have the option of taking a flight later in the day and, there will be fewer lines at security. When is the best time to hit the road? When everyone else is asleep — early morning or late at night. You can always take a nap when you arrive at your destination or on the ride there (if you aren’t the driver, of course).
  9. Plan for the unexpected.
    Have only a half-hour before connecting to another flight? Traveling to Rochester, N.Y., during snow season? Think ahead and plan accordingly. Leave extra time before flights to deal with security, extra time between connections and, for road trips, pack tire chains for snowy conditions, flashlights, and of course, a few bandages.
  10. Inhale. Exhale.
    The overly friendly person next to you on the plane, the canceled flights, the luggage that fell off in the middle of the highway? All of it will make for great stories over dinner when you finally make it to your destination.

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

This year’s top gifts are all about gadgets, comfort, retro comebacks and products they’ll love and never realize they needed. Check out the hot gift items on everyone’s wishlist in 2019.

1. Polaroid Camera 

A modern twist on a retro camera, Polaroids are making a come back and are all the rage. It features simple operations for instant print pictures, plus automatic functions that pick the best camera settings. It comes in multiple colors, as well as gift packages that include film packs!

2. Smart Phone Portable Theater Projector

For the person who makes you huddle around all the time to show you videos on their phone, turn their smartphone into a portable theater projector! It’s not just for smartphones, you can connect a laptop, USB Drive or video game console as well. Depending on the model, most offer full HD resolution and up to a 100” screen size. What’s better than receiving a gift that allows you to watch your favorite shows and movies anywhere you like?

3. Wireless Mini Mobile Photo Printer

For the one who loves taking photos! With this photo printer, they can skip the hassle of ordering pictures, and instantly print photos at home via wifi or the free mobile app. Its small size makes it portable, perfect for taking it along on adventures to give photos to friends!

4. New Nintendo Mini Game Console

This gift is perfect for the gamer or retro-loving person in your life! Bring back memories with the 2019 Mini Nintendo Game Console that features 620 built-in games! Some of the pre-installed games include Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, PAC-MAN, Dr. Mario, Mega Man, Final Fantasy and dozens more.

5. Bamboo Bath Caddy Tray 

This versatile gift is perfect for someone who would love getting away to enjoy a good book, movie, or glass of wine while taking a relaxing soak. It features a wine holder, cup holder, soap dish, phone slot, and book/tablet space.

6. Monthly Subscription Box

Monthly subscription boxes are a great gift choice because there are so many different kinds of subscriptions to choose from! It can be anything from makeup, clothes, wine and cheese, craft beer, food, books, candy, pet products, and more! Subscriptions can be delivered weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the brand and what they offer.

Some popular ones include My Coffee and Book Club, Ipsy (makeup), My Craft Beer Club, FabFitFun (women’s beauty, wellness and health), HelloFresh (weekly ingredients and recipes for healthy meals), Vinebox (wine), Barkbox/Kitnipbox (toys, treats and more for dog or cat in your family) and the list goes on.

This is a gift that keeps on giving all year long, that they will be excited to receive every month. Because it is delivered right to their door, there is no wrapping or hassle involved for you! Because of the huge variety of choices, you’re bound to find a box that perfectly fits each person on your list, right down to the family pet.

7. Weighted Blanket

Who doesn’t love getting plush fluffy blankets? But add in the feeling of a weighted blanket and you’ve got the ultimate comfort gift. These blankets are filled with weighted materials that create a calming effect and improve relaxation. They come in a wide variety of sizes and weights (from 5 – 30 lbs) and can be used by any age group. They can help improve sleep and can help with many different things such as stress, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, and more.

8. Bottleloft by Uncommon Goods

Make his bottle of beer float in mid-air! OK, not really. He’ll be magnetized by this set of two strips that help him save some serious space in his fridge (and it looks cool, too!). If you want to get him something he’ll actually want to show off to his buddies, this is the real deal. These super-strong magnetic strips will display three beers, making room for those drunken eats (or more beer). It’s the one product he’ll love and never realize he needed.

 

Must Do Fall Activities

1. Go to a haunted house
2. Go through a corn maze
3. Go on a hayrack ride
4. Go to a football game
5. Watch Halloween movies
6. Bake something pumpkin-flavored
7. Make homemade apple cider
8. Make a hearty homemade soup in a crockpot
9. Roast marshmallows over a campfire
10. Pick fresh apples
11. Go on a scenic fall hike
12. Eat a caramel apple
13. Celebrate Octoberfest
14. Try a fall seasonal beer
15. Make/try a new fall seasonal cocktail
16. Go to a pumpkin patch
17. Go to a fall festival
18. Go to a vineyard
19. Attend a wine tasting
20. Read a book outside
21. Read a scary story
22. Have a picnic
23. Drink hot chocolate
24. Make your home smell like fall
25. Decorate for Halloween
26. Decorate your home for fall
27. Do a DIY fall decor project
28. Do a DIY Halloween decor project
29. Make your own Halloween costume
30. Carve a Jack O Lantern or Paint a pumpkin
31. Bake pumpkin seeds
32. Bake a pie
33. Go for a walk on a foggy morning
34. Go to the farmers market
35. Try a new kind of fall produce
36. Visit a sunflower farm/pick sunflowers
37. Plant some flower bulbs for spring
38. Buy/plant fall seasonal flowers
39. Host a Friendsgiving
40. Tailgate for a football game
41. Make a fall floral arrangement

 

What Laundry Detergents Should You Buy?

 

 

We tested 3 different brands of detergent. Check out our results!

 

Liquid Detergent
The most widely used among consumers, Liquid Detergents perform particularly well on oil and grease stains. Conveniently, it can be used as a spot pre-treater and you’ll never have to worry about it not dissolving. Don’t forget to use the correct amount, though. Sometimes they are hard to see, but the lines on the measuring caps are there for a reason! Follow the label instructions to ensure you don’t use too much or too little. Too much will cause over-sudsing and the soap may not rinse out when the cycle is over or it can even shut down your machine. If there is too little, your clothes won’t get clean. Many of us just pour detergent directly into the washing machine or dispenser and hope for the best but trust us, you get better results when you use the directed amount!

Single-dose Pods
These little packets are very convenient but on average, cost a little more. Don’t worry about using too little or too much detergent as it is already pre-measured. Usually, one pack is recommended for average size loads and two packs for large or heavily soiled loads. One pack may be too much for very small loads and you never want to break them. Keep in mind, some packs have trouble dissolving in some machines, especially in lower water temperatures. If you have a low-water using machine, make sure you add the packs before adding the clothes. Last but not least, make sure you store your packets away from children, pets, and anyone else who could be at risk of ingesting them or using them for anything other than laundry.


Laundry Tips

  • Get Sorted
  • Separate Linty Items
  • Wash Jeans Inside Out
  • Pretreat Stains
  • Apply Detergent Directly To Stain
  • Load With Detergent Then Clothes
  • Load Properly
  • Measure, Do Not Pour
  • Mark Fill Lines With Marker

 

While none of our picks could remove every stain completely, Persil definitly prevails as our top pick. Persil may not be the cheapest at .22 cents per load, but it is among the cheaper options especially for the quality.

 

5 Must have gadgets to make traveling easier

 

Sony Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Sony’s sleek headphones feature an adaptive sound control smart system that balances the noise-cancelling levels according to your environment. The Hi-Res Audio sound reduces distortion so you can enjoy your favorite tunes the way they were recorded. And you can customize all of your sound options in Sony’s app. The battery lasts up to 30 hours, which is quite impressive.

Micro smart phone charger: A high-capacity portable phone charger with 3350mAh rechargeable battery, Jackery Mini Portable Charger has enough power to refresh your phone to fully powered. The world’s smallest external battery charger and power bank is compact, portable & stylish and perfect for long flights, road trips, or whenever you need to charge your iPhone, iPad, or other smart device. Jackery Mini has a USB port, making it a versatile device capable of charging a wide variety of smart devices.

Internet/Communication: Pocket Wifi/GoTenna:
Pocket Wifi – Forget foreign SIM cards or roaming charges when traveling the world, Skyroam Solis has you covered. One of the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspots on the market, this ingenious connectivity gadget offers unlimited 4G LTE service in over 130 countries around the globe. Each device can support up to 5 connections and also works as a portable charger for your phone or tablet while on the move, thanks to its integrated 6000 mAh power bank. A day pass is $9 and gives you unlimited internet access for 24 hours. GoTenna – Going completely off grid? No problem. Designed to keep Android or iOS devices connected even when there is no cellular service, goTenna Mesh lets adventurers communicate while off the grid. Made of rugged materials, this slick, pocket-sized device uses Bluetooth-LE to pair with a smartphone, enabling users to share messages and location info instantly within a range of up to 4 miles in open areas. Compared to the original goTenna, this new and improved backcountry communications tool comes with revolutionary mesh networking technology that allows private 1:1 and group chats or public broadcast messages through other devices to extend beyond point-to-point range.

Purifying Water Bottle: Most of the travelers’ health problems are caused by contaminated drinking water, which means a water purification system is a must when traveling abroad. GRAYL’s Ultralight Purifier, is a state-of-the-art device capable of transforming almost any tap or clear natural water source into pure drinking water in just 15 seconds. Perfect for travelers and outdoor adventurers, each 0.50-liter bottle comes equipped with a replaceable purifier cartridge (lasts for about 40gal), providing protection against viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, as well as many chemicals. This is an excellent way to get safe drinking water on the go, while at the same time, saving money on bottled water.

Small Space Saver Vacuum: Need more room in your suitcase? Say no more! Small, smart, and stylish, VAGO is the ultimate travel packing gadget. Equipped with a pressure detecting sensor, this automatic vacuum pump removes all the air inside your suitcase, condensing the clothes to half their size, thus leaving plenty of room for souvenirs and other things you may buy on your trip. It’s an essential travel tool, especially if you’re adding a bit of shopping to your trip, or traveling somewhere cold and need to bring along some heavy winter wear.

4 Reasons why Travel is good for you!

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear ‘travel’ – Vacation? Meeting new people? Or maybe, Instagrammable sunsets? While traveling can be exciting and exhilarating, it’s so much more than sipping margaritas on a sun-soaked beach.
It’s no news that travel is good for your physical wellbeing, but a significant amount of scientific research suggests that exploring a new place can do wonders for your mental and emotional health as well.
Here are five evidence-backed ways traveling makes your mind happy and healthy:

1. It’s a great stress buster.
“The stress of work and daily demands can distract us from what we find to be actually meaningful and interesting,” says Dr. Tamara McClintock Greenberg, a San Francisco-based clinical psychologist and author of Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness. Thus, taking a break from the daily hustle and bustle is essential for your mind to relax, recharge and rejuvenate.
And what better way to do so than to pack your bags and cross wanderlust-worthy destinations off your bucket list? Traveling promotes happiness and helps you take your mind off stressful situations. This leads to lower cortisol levels, making you feel more calm and content. “It also helps us reflect on our personal goals and interests,” adds Greenberg. According to a 2013 study, more than 80% of Americans, who were surveyed, noticed significant drops in stress just after a day or two of traveling. “Even though I’m always busy when I travel, whether it’s sightseeing, taking photos or just exploring a destination on foot, I know I’m the calmest and most relaxed when I travel,” says Jacintha Verdegaal, an avid traveler and founder of travel and lifestyle blog, Urban Pixxels.

2. It helps you reinvent yourself.
Writer Patrick Rothfuss said, “ A long stretch of road can teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet .” Experiential traveling, particularly to a foreign country, can help you re-evaluate and reinvent your life. “If you allow it, travel has the ability to expand your mind in a way you never realized was possible,” says solo travel expert and founder of the Trusted Travel Girl, Valerie Wilson.
Moreover, the valuable lessons that you learn along the way broaden your perspective, making you more aware and open to new things. “I love traveling to places with different cultures because it forces you to think about your own,”

says Verdegaal. “Different is not better or worse, it’s just different. But being confronted with these differences helps me to re-evaluate my own principles and values and, sometimes, change them,” adds the professional globetrotter.
Exploring new places can also give you a fresh start if you’re recovering from a major transition in your life. “When I had Lyme disease, for several years, my world shrunk. I lost friends who didn’t know how to deal with a sick friend. I was quite alone and lost a lot of my self-confidence,” says Wilson, who began to travel “out of fear of relapsing.” “By traveling and interacting with the world around me, I found a new passion for life. I convinced myself to travel even when I wasn’t feeling well. It has brought me happiness, given me a purpose, and has made me a strong, independent woman,” she explains.

3. It boosts happiness satisfaction.
Apart from the obvious fact that you don’t have to go to work (and can legit eat pizza for breakfast), traveling gives you the opportunity to step away from the daily grind. The new events and experiences help rewire your brain, hence boosting your mood and self-confidence. “I think people, in general, are not meant to be tied down to just one place their entire lives. I especially feel “trapped” when I have to stay in the same place for too much time, without being able to really move about and explore,” says travel aficionado and co-founder of The Passport Memorandum, Marta Estevez. “My life feels most fulfilling when I’m outside, living through new experiences and learning,” adds the travel expert who has been to more than ten countries.
“Travel definitely makes me happy,” agrees Wilson. “Even the act of planning a trip gives me something to look forward to and brings me happiness,” says Wilson. Turns out, she’s not the only one who feels that way. According to a Cornell University study, the anticipation of a trip can increase your happiness substantially, even more than the anticipation of acquiring something tangible, like a new car.

4. It enhances creativity.
According to Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, visiting a foreign place and immersing yourself in their local environment (for instance, attending a ‘snake boat’ race in southern India or feasting on crispy tarantulas in Cambodia), increases your cognitive flexibility. It also enhances “depth and integrativeness of thought,” consequently giving a boost to your creativity. Galinsky is the author of multiple studies that look into the connection between creativity and international travel. Although, it’s important to note that traveling stimulates creativity only when you engage with the local culture of that place. Merely visiting a new city or a country isn’t going to cut it.

Additionally, extended traveling also improves your productivity, problem-solving skills and can even increase your chances of getting promoted at work!
However, “it’s important to remember that vacation can be very stressful for some,” notes Greenberg. If that’s the case with you, try taking “short, structured vacations in order to get used to the experience of having time off,” she suggests. Also, plan your trip properly, in advance, to avoid last-minute panic and chaos.

Now that you’ve finished reading about all the wonderful things travel does to your brain, it’s time to pack your bags and get going!