And Why You Should Make Time to Do it!
It always takes traveling to remind us how much we really do need to….travel. What is it about being in another place that makes it so much easier to see clearly? Do we get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks of being moms, wives, bosses, employees, caregivers that we forget to just take the time and be introspective. Traveling, like painting, takes our minds to a new place, not only physically but spiritually.
When we travel, we can use that thing that we all used to have as kids, what’s it called again? Oh yeah, we can use our imagination! For a brief moment in time we imagine walking away from it all and living off the land on a tropical paradise or learning a new language and living in a small village in a country that doesn’t have microwaves. We see ourselves as tour guides on backpacking expeditions, as snow people that race through the winter on snowmobiles or scuba guides that spend our days exploring the deep blue sea. Whatever fantasy we think of could be ours. We get to relax from what we have learned as “the way it is” and can just let our minds play.
For some reason in our amazing country, we get less travel days from our employers than most of the world…but there are a few ways we can change that. One, you can quit your job and hopefully find a job that allows for more vacation. Two, find a job that requires you to travel. Three, create a job that requires you to travel….or Four (and my personal favorite), create a lifestyle that allows you to travel whenever you want (and who doesn’t dream of that!). Whatever way you get there, the point is to get there. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t grow too old to travel. Don’t be afraid to take your kids with you and to let them travel…and I mean travel.
I don’t mean going to an amusement park or to a major city and only hitting up the brand name restaurants and places. Don’t just travel places where someone else gets to control and direct your imagination. Go someplace that does not give you an option but to imagine! Get stuck in a crazy market, try to communicate with someone that doesn’t speak your language, order food and have no earthly idea if you are going to like it. Wear cute new outfits that make you feel good. Try something new: yoga, backpacking, horseback riding, kite-surfing, something. Do something that you don’t normally do and that takes you out of your comfort zone…and who cares, you’ll never see these people again.
When you travel, you challenge yourself to loose your creature comforts. The only thing that is for sure when you travel, is that you are you. And so you have to depend on you, for your reactions to the “locals”, the way you approach new and weird foods, how you deal with possibly less safety than your home in suburbia and what you make of any strange situation. We teach our kids to deal the best they can with their situation in life…when we travel, we force ourselves to remember that and our souls begin to heal from the stresses of home.
When we interact with people that aren’t like us, we get to remember that we are all just human. We remember why we like humans and that we are all so very interesting. We meet people from all walks of life, all socio-economic backgrounds and we meet other travelers. The stories you get to hear are fascinating. And it’s not just in the books we read when we travel (for most people, the only time they get to read a book), but the people. We get to hear new stories, new perspectives, new ideas. Everything is new when you travel, everything is fresh and everything seems possible.
And then we get home. After spending 2, 5, 14, or however many days you have been traveling, we all eventually come home. Those feelings of anything is possible still fresh in our minds but slowly starting to fade away. And while we should try to remember to chase the fantasies, coming home also reminds us of all the things that make us “us.” We see our children, our pets, our families, our friends, our home and everything else that shapes us. We feel warmth and comfort. We know where we belong, if even just for short periods, and we remember that there is as much value in fantasizing as there is in being grounded. So we go back to our routine and then something exciting happens. We begin to plan our next trip.