Idries photoshoot 2

By: Dr. Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, MD


As a self avowed travel junkie, it really doesn’t take much to get me on an airplane (a truth my wife most certainly will attest to).  Oh my God, that fare is so low honey, we just have to go!  Well yeah, that fare is a bit high but if we wait it will probably just get higher!  Wow, I have two weeks off and nothing to do, lets go somewhere. Jeez, I’ve been working nonstop and I am so stressed, lets go somewhere!  It’s a never ending litany of reasons/excuses and I’m okay with that, no travel shaming here.  Yes, I am filled to the brim with steaming hot wanderlust; experiencing new people, places and cultures is my crack (I know that’s not dignified, but it is what it is).  Anywhere but here is my happy place!


Unfortunately, most people don’t suffer from my affliction. As a matter of fact, the good ole U S of A (my home sweet home) along with our North American neighbors Mexico and Canada are among the world’s most “vacation-poor” countries meaning we receive fewer vacation days per year on average and we use only a fraction of what we receive.  Joining us on the list of vacation-poor countries are the Asian nations of Japan, Singapore and South Korea.  On the flip side, some of the most “vacation-rich” nations (nations that on average receive and use more vacation time) include the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) along with Germany, France, Spain, and Brazil.  Do you think it is a coincidence that the Scandinavian countries are also consistently ranked amongst the happiest in the world?  There is an undeniable link between taking time for ones self and ones overall level of happiness.  As a travel junkie and a doctor however, I have always felt that it goes further than that.  I have long believed that travel not only makes you happier but it also makes you healthier.  Well, thank you science because not only have you proven me right once again but you have also given me yet another excuse to travel.

Recent research has shown that regular travel at all stages of life both reduces the risk of heart disease while increasing longevity.  This means that having and most importantly using vacation time makes you both happier and healthier.  These studies looked  both at pre-retirement aged individuals (65 years of age and younger) and post-retirement age individuals (older than 65) so the benefits are not age dependent.  Better still, you don’t have to take months long sabbaticals traveling around the world to derive the benefit as even shorter, local vacations have the same effect.


The point is clear and I stand vindicated.  Taking time for one’s self and using that time to explore and experience new things not only makes you happier, it also makes you healthier.  So please, make a regular habit of joining me at 35,000 feet for a little therapy and lets all live happier, healthier, fuller more enriched lives.


Dr. I indulging in therapy around the world:


Therapy at Machu Picchu in Peru

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Therapy at the Jordan River in Jordan.


Therapy at the DMZ in South Korea at the boarder with North Korea.


My favorite place in the world for therapy, 35,000 feet!

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