The Science of Travelling Well

The Science of Travelling Well

04/04/2023 - 09:32

Helping people to understand the psychological benefits of travelling. That is what researcher Ondrej Mitas has in mind with his brand-new video and podcast series.

  • Research
  • Stories

Talking about novelties – because that’s what the first episode in which you’re heading for Antwerp is all about – was this new to you, making such a video podcast?
‘Everything was new to me,’ Ondrej laughs, ‘so I'm glad Paul (van Rijckevorsel, eds.) helped me out! I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, and Paul gave me some good examples. All I knew was that I wanted to make a nice and informal video podcast, that I wanted my own travel experiences to be part of it, but I didn’t know how to structure all this. I’m very grateful to Paul to have his artist’s view. He helped me transform my academic insights into a format that is accessible to more people.’

And then who are the people you want to reach with your stories?
‘Anyone who has the opportunity to travel, I hope this series will give some psychological insights and help people understand why they enjoy travelling.’

Why do you think it is important for them to understand?
‘Then they can decide better next time!’ says Ondrej decidedly. ‘Planning a trip far ahead with all those options out there is very stressful. It doesn't have to be that complicated if you simply limit the number of options; you can also have new experiences closer to home. The corona pandemic certainly taught us so.’

So, your aim is to give people an insight into opportunities of domestic travelling and discovering one’s own region?
‘Research shows that new experiences can have a positive effect and that new doesn't always have to be far away. So, find out what’s worth seeing within a 10-kilometre radius of your home, go up to 50 or 100 kilometres, and that can keep you busy for a while. Some things may not be interesting, but then at least you know! What I mainly want to show with my stories is that there is no need to be afraid of finding out. I want to do so by giving some insight into psychological processes as well.’

What exactly is the underlying motivation for you to do this?
‘The world would be cleaner and more positive if more people travel this way. I want to convince people that what they are already doing – having small travel experiences, dagjes uit, and breaking up routines – is absolutely worthwhile! You won't hear me say that long-distance travel can't be valuable, but I’m going to be busy with the nearby stuff. And I will do the same in Slovakia where I come from. I’ve planned to make a video podcast on wine tourism in my home country, since my grandfather was the son of a wine farmer.’

What would you like to say to your audience?
‘Take a look at or listen to my video and podcast series and try things you didn't dare or think of before. Did you know that there is an amazing and super well-maintained MTB (mountain bike, eds.) track right here a few kilometres from campus – in the Dorst surroundings? It’s a very curvy, challenging and technical one, which absorbs your attention. In one of my next podcasts, I will talk to Dr. Peter Ward from Brigham Young University about the thrill of riding such a track.’

So, you make every episode in cooperation with a scientist?
‘That’s the idea. In the first episode I talk with Dr Marcel Bastiaansen from the BUas Experience Lab about how to bring the novelty – that makes travel magic – to your daily life. The second episode will be launched in April and is made in cooperation with Zuiderwaterlinie and BUas researcher Wim Strijbosch. I’ve planned to interview students as well. In the end, they become our absolute experts in something and do high-quality and original research. Surely, they should be able to explain that in a simple and approachable way!’

The making of… what did you like most?
‘So far, I really enjoyed the unexpected and clear insights that Marcel Bastiaansen gave me. And the filming is quite exciting, especially on a mountain bike!’

Join Ondrej on his small travels and find out more about the psychological benefits. Start following his video podcast series via Youtube or Spotify.