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Gap years and travel in Africa: Refresh your soul, free your mind and work your body

By 2nd November 2018 No Comments

No matter the circumstances- be it a painful breakup, leaving school or varsity or even quitting your job and wanting to expand yourself with a gap year, feeling you’ve sunk too deep into the stresses of the rat race, or just making the best of a life-changing disappointment- travel is a panacea often prescribed by the heart [and full supported by scientists and psychologists too, by the way]. As the team here at Acacia Africa know so well, there’s something very special about the way Africa seeps into your soul. Whether it’s a weekend away, a full-blown adventure or a gap year spent exploring this unique corner of the world, left Africa wash away your troubles today.

Africa can renew your health

This is the land of Marula and Baobab oil, calabash massage and healing volcanic muds. It’s also a place of wide open, mind-freeing spaces, new sights and friendly people. Travel is packed full of the physical- from participating on a tour to trekking the magnificent sites- and we all know the more exercise the better for our bodies. Add to that the boost to mood and chance to experience new sights and sounds, and there’s little wonder that travel is so great for your health.

Surveys from the travel market have suggested as high as 90% of travellers feel rejuvenated and relaxed just one day into their holiday. Pretty amazing, right? No surprise, however- you’re on a new normal when you’re travelling. All those little routines that vex you day-to-day become irrelevant. Leisure activities actually get considered, where you usually write them off or allow them to slide to the bottom of the priority pile. Stress and satisfaction rise. Now imagine surrounding yourself with bright dreamy Africa, escaping cold winters and depression-triggering low light levels… your body will thank you for it.

Africa will challenge your mind

One of the keys to warding off age-related degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Dementia is keeping your brain sizzling. Travel of all sorts promotes concentration, improves memory, stimulates you with different scenarios and keeps your social skills ticking over, and nowhere else in the world will you experience this busy, happy mind as well as you will in Africa. From the friendly smiles and multitude of languages and cultures swirling around you, to the intricacies of getting yourself where you need to go, Africa will keep your brain at its best.

Africa will inspire you

Movies, print media, fiction and non-fiction… Africa has always held a special place in people’s imagination and it’s time for you to embrace that energy for yourself. Let the different scenes and experiences spark your neurons and enhance your creative vibe. Engage with people and places outside your comfort zone, get a glimpse of how different people live and how differently people live, and let the ubuntu spirit of Africa seep into your soul. Who knows, you may even spark an epiphany!

You’ll be navigating way out of your comfort zone, experiencing new things at every step. Your brain will experience a shift in thinking and perspective- and with that could come new insight into yourself, your needs and your dreams. The effects will linger long after you return from holiday, too, allowing you to see life in a new, different way. Be prepared to challenge your assumptions about yourself and your world and come out stronger, healthier and better.

Africa will bring you friendship, laughter and love

Many of us are used to leaning on only ourselves, or a small friend group, in our daily life. Travel offers you the chance to learn to turn to others, enhancing your social nature and building new connections. You’ll find yourself becoming more open and more flexible, with the deeper connections with others boosting your trust in [and relationship with] yourself too.

The small adrenaline rushes of travel can even be good for your body long-term. A lot of daily stress comes from our bodies mismanaging the stress response. By experiencing ‘proper’ adrenaline bursts as you explore and enjoy, your body will learn to reset itself to a more appropriate stress response, helping you build a better coping mechanism and reduce general anxiety. You’ll learn to trust yourself and your ability to handle anything life throws at you.

In short, travel in Africa, be it a weekend or a gap year, will make you fall in love. In love with this beautiful, mysterious, heartbreaking and amazing continent. In love with the people who call her home. In love with yourself and what your body and mind can do. And who knows- maybe in love with someone special you meet on the way, too!

Let the wild call of Africa bring you home to yourself with Acacia Africa, and let Mama Africa wipe your tears and rejuvenate your life.

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