Five ways traveling boosts intellectual wellness

When you think of going on vacation, you probably imagine yourself lying in the sand on your favorite beach, sipping piña coladas and listening to Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” Perhaps you enjoy driving out to the mountains and taking in the lush scenery, while trying to capture the perfect Instagram pic. While these experiences can be fun and exciting, there’s more to traveling than meets the eye.

Packing light for your next adventure

Let me be completely transparent: I’m hardly a “light” packer by nature. The suitcase I took on a recent trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, weighed in at a hefty 64 pounds. Want to see me lose my cool? Ask me to magically find a home for 14 pounds of shoes at 4 a.m. in the airport.

When you spend six weeks traveling Europe with a standard 45-liter backpack, you have to get very creative with your limited space. So, over the years, I’ve adapted out of necessity.

Traveling this summer? Beware of Zika

Zika virus For most of us, mosquitoes are an annoying summer pest. But in other countries, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as dengue, chikungunya or malaria. Best case scenario, you’ll win some general itchiness. Fortunately, for us living here in the United States, our minds rest easy knowing that the risks of catching any mosquito-borne disease are slim. First-world luxuries such as air conditioning and screened windows can prevent mosquito infestations. Most U.S. streets lack standing pools of water, the beloved nests of mosquito larvae, and when the threat of being bitten is imminent, we liberally spray plumes of OFF! mosquito repellent.

Yet, recently, our mosquito concerns have amplified. On May 31, 2016, a child was born in a New Jersey hospital with Zika virus-related microcephaly.