A lot of people have to travel for work, but new research is coming out that suggests all of that frequent travel is bad for your well being and health. The new study is coming out of the University of Surrey and Lund University in Sweden, and the researchers were investigating how the frequent long-distance travel is represented both in mass and in social media. The researchers really wanted to delve into what people online and in the media portray frequent traveling as, and why this is a bad idea given that people are often not aware of the true dangers of frequently flying or traveling by car or bus.
The researchers found out that the images that are portrayed are not taking into account the damaging side effects of the frequent travel, which include radiation exposure, deep vein thrombosis, and jet lag. When you are traveling frequently over long distances you will also suffer from stress, loneliness, and a feeling of distance from your family and community. This particular study found that people with hypermobile lifestyles end up being seen as having a higher social status, such as through stories about first-class flights, must see destinations, and the frequent flyer programs offered by airlines. It is because of these things that people see a very glamorizing lifestyle, with appeal and excitement, and there is no real focus or attention being shown to the darker side of such frequent traveling. If you think about television or commercials, you often see a middle-aged or young man in a suite with a glass of wine and his computer laying out in front of him, and you see him as someone of power, and you want that to be you. However, this image should actually be scary since frequent travelers often times see a breakdown of their family relationship, and have gene changes brought on by the lack of sleep and jet lag.
The lead author of the study was Dr. Scott Cohen, who is from the University of Surrey, and he explained how there is a dark side to this hypermobile glamorous lifestyle that we are not seeing portrayed through the mass or social media. There are a lot of psychological, physical, and societal stresses that come with being a frequent traveler, and it has serious and long-term side effects that we don’t think about as we should. Traditional media portrays the positive image as well as social media, where there is competition to be checking in at various hot spots and locations throughout the world. Sharing pictures and items from destinations around the world on Facebook and Twitter are only encouraging this bad behavior, and it is not set into reality. The reality is that most travelers have loneliness, stress, ,and long-term health problems, and there is also the environmental issues and sustainability aspect as well. The researchers say that more needs to be made out of the adverse effects of hypermobility, which should reflect the negative impacts of frequently traveling.
Dr. Cohen believes that society needs to see that the lifestyle represented is not what it is really made out to be both online and on television. If you continue to travel frequently then you are damaging the environment, as well as your own well being and health, and also are damaging close relationships, such as those with your spouse and children. There is also the issue that people who are traveling on the plane constantly are not getting a good diet, which is really important if you have a health issue such as diabetes. The foods that are served on planes, unless you are in first class are not that healthy or nutritious, so you end up eating a bunch of junk food. Then when you get to your destinations, you are often times eating out at restaurants and other places that are serving high calorie foods that are fried or made with oils and other ingredients that are not healthy. This also can contribute to the unhealthy lifestyle of a frequent flier because they are not eating a home cooked meal that is healthy. There are a lot of other issues as well that can go into the unhealthy lifestyle, such as not taking medications when you are supposed to or not getting the needed exercise. Your body breaks down because it is not being taken care of properly, and this his what Cohen says needs to be addressed, because these are the real life struggles of people who travel a lot.