Kurtz's "The Happy Traveler" to be released in June


 

SUMMARY: Psychology professor Jaime Kurtz has spent her career studying how people achieve happiness, and much of her leisure time traveling the world. She combined these passions by writing a book. "The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations," published by Oxford University Press, is set to release on June 1, 2017.


By Lauren Mitchell
Creative Services Student Writer

PHOTO: Jaime Kurtz with book

Psychology professor Jaime Kurtz has spent her career studying how people achieve happiness, and much of her leisure time traveling the world. While speaking at a conference in 2015, it dawned on Kurtz that she could use her academic expertise to help people improve their travel experiences. She began looking into the topic and found a lack of happiness guides pertaining to travel, so she combined her two passions and began writing a book. “The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations,” published by Oxford University Press, is set to release on June 1, 2017.

Kurtz wrote this guide to provide practical advice on how to craft a happy, engaging, meaningful, and memorable trip. Using psychological research, “The Happy Traveler” addresses the surprising difficulties that come with traveling and how best to overcome them. For example, when vacationing, there is pressure to make happy memories, questions of how to spend your money when you are away, and the stress of traveling with others. The book is arranged in separate sections concentrating on the time before, during and after a vacation. It begins by identifying your “travel personality” to help discover who you are and where you should travel. Other chapters cover building anticipation, managing the use of technology and social media, planning activities that will lead to cultural immersion, and easing happily back into real life after returning home. The strategies and techniques discussed in the book can also be used to enhance everyday life by encouraging gratitude and the savoring of individual moments.

During the writing process, Kurtz compiled research on topics such as savoring, mindfulness, communication, decision-making, and active engagement. She used her prior experience with travel mentality and “stay-cations” to provide tips on how to have happier vacations, even when things go wrong. Kurtz is also director of a summer study abroad class called Exploring the Good Life in Scandinavia, and, on a recent trip there, she did savoring activities with her students and used what she learned from their feedback throughout the book.

“The Happy Traveler” is not Kurtz’s first publication, but it is her first non-academic book. “I really enjoyed being able to work independently and use my own voice in my writing,” she explained. Kurtz described the book as lighthearted, accessible, and practical. She eventually plans to write another book, but is waiting to discover a topic that she is equally as passionate about. 

Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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