Researchers from the University of Surrey and Lund University (Sweden) observed how often long-distance travel is projected by the mass and social media. Their investigation revealed that the illustrations and promises of travel do not take into account the detrimental affects frequent traveling has on health. The latter include jet-lag, exposure to radiation, deep vein thrombosis, increased stress, loneliness, depression, anxiety and distance from community and loved ones.
The ‘Dark Side’ Of Travel
The study revealed that people who were ‘hyper-mobile’ were generally seen to have a higher social status. Researchers assessed how first-class flights, frequent-flyer programs, ‘must-visit’ destination only represented the glamorous and exciting aspect of traveling, and ignored the potential side-effects on health and well-being.
Lead author Dr Scott Cohen from the University of Surrey stated that apart from all the exclusiveness associated with hyper-mobility, there is physiological, physical, emotional and societal stress as well. These aspects have significant long-term adverse effects, including disruption of familial ties and drastic changes in our genes due to lack of sufficient sleep.
Role Of Media And Society Needs To Be Revised
The researchers encourage more discussion into the adverse consequences of hyper-mobility on health, so that a realistic picture of the effects of frequent long-distance travel can be revealed.
The media propagates a luxurious image of travel to encourage competition. According to Cohen, people who travel frequently suffer from increased levels of stress and anxiety, loneliness and long-term problems associated with overall health. On a larger scale, such a lifestyle is detrimental for the environment and its sustainability.
“Society and mass media needs to recognize that the ‘jet-set lifestyle’ is not all that glamorous and exciting as it is portrayed to be. By striving to travel far and frequently, we are damaging the environment, ourselves and potentially our closest loved ones”, stated Dr Cohen.