Taking a vacation refreshes your mind, body, and soul—but it’s even better when you visit a place that requires a passport. Here are 11 reasons you should leave the country and head to an exotic locale like Costa Rica for your next getaway. 

1. Travel Abroad Gives You a Better Sense of Who You Are

When you’re in a different culture, even mundane activities like ordering food or catching the bus can make you think outside of how you normally behave. By exposing yourself to more environments and discovering new likes and dislikes, you’ll understand yourself better. 

2. You Become More Mindful

Doing the same things every day results in boredom and apathy. Drive to work every day? Boring. Read the same newspapers, watch the same shows, talk to the same people? Yawn. When you experience a completely new environment on vacation, your mindset quickly changes to, “Wow, everything is interesting!” The benefits from being more aware and appreciative of your surroundings remain even after you’re back home.

3. Your Creativity Skyrockets 

It’s no surprise that when you travel, you’re exposed to new adventures, new food, new visuals, and new thinking—and of course you’re going to bring all of that “new” back with you! Your broadened frame of reference boosts your creativity, and not just in the artistic sense—you’ll also be more creative when it comes to solving problems. 

4. You Talk the Talk 

If you’re just vacationing for a week or two, you’re not going to become fluent in the local language—and that’s OK. You’ll still pick up words, phrases, and maybe even some slang, and you’ll return home with the thrill of having picked up a new skill.

5. You’ll Become More Compassionate and Understanding 

No matter where you travel, you’ll get a better sense of how people in another culture live. Seeing a different walk of life will make you more compassionate and empathetic. 

6. Doing Is Believing 

Sure, you’ve read about amazing beaches, majestic mountains, and lush forests in a place like Costa Rica, but that’s no substitute for actually being there in the flesh. You can’t beat experiencing local aromas, textures, and sounds in person. 

7. You Will Create Meaningful Relationships 

The people you meet while traveling abroad often end up becoming some of your most long-lasting friends because of the refreshing new perspectives they offer. In addition to learning about the native culture of your destination and making friends with the local people you meet on your trip, traveling can also build the bond you have with your traveling companion, whether it’s a friend or your spouse. 

8. You’ll Feel Good 

Though it sounds simple, this one is pretty scientific: Discovery and adventure make your brain produce dopamine, a hormone that makes you feel happy. Since vacations are largely about finding new and interesting things to do, you can expect that dopamine rush to leave you feeling pretty good about life. 

9. You’ll Find New Challenges and Adventures

Whether you’re navigating new cities or towns, using different currency, interpreting a foreign language, or finding the courage to take a zip line ride, travel forces you to work outside of your normal comfort zone. Overcoming those challenges will make you feel like you can do anything.

10. You’ll Have More Self-Confidence 

Knowing that you can survive and even thrive in a foreign country will give you a boost in the self-confidence department. 

11. You’ll Have an Edge in the Job Market 

All of the benefits on this list—self-confidence, life experience, better critical thinking skills, language skills, and empathy—directly translate to the workplace. And employers are aware of it. Highlighting your overseas successes and challenges in an interview or cover letter can help give you a leg up in the job market.