“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
A few weeks ago, my best friend sent me a text on a Thursday afternoon that changed how I’m going to live out 2018.
It was a simple text that said, “So, I’m going to San Antonio for work next Wednesday. Wanna grab a seat on my flight and join me?” I thought about it for approximately 4 minutes before opening Delta.com into my browser and began my search for the flight I would purchase. I’m a sucker for spontaneity but even this felt a little crazy to me.
But, I told myself at the start of 2018 that this would be my year of travel.
I didn’t want to let myself down only weeks into the year so when she texted me those few sentences I knew it was time – time to make it happen or time to make a lame-o excuse.
Luckily for all of us, I decided to stay true to what I told myself I was setting out to do this year, no matter how crazy or how spontaneous, if the universe put the opportunity in front of me.
I booked my flights and a few days later, I was heading to the airport after work on a Wednesday evening.
San Antonio was incredible – It was a giant whirlwind of a trip and while I spent more time in airports and in the hotel room than I wanted, it reminded me of some pretty important lessons to take back with me.
Keeping the ‘Travel Mindset’ After The Trip is Done
If you’re anything like me then it’s safe to say that whenever you travel to a new place, you want to do it all.
You wake up early to go explore that city center. You stay outside longer than you would usually because the view is gorgeous. You talk to the locals to ask where they like to go, eat or shop.
You act differently when you travel because you want to soak it all in and get the most out of your destination.
When we were there, we made it a point to get out of the hotel as soon as possible and go exploring. We took an Uber to the Riverwalk and just strolled around before dinner taking in the scenery. We went to a nice restaurant and followed it up with a few different bars to really get the vibe of the area. The next day, we took a recommendation of another girl who was familiar with the area and went to an incredibly delicious Mexican restaurant for lunch that we never would’ve found on our own.
We wanted to see everything, eat everything, and really understand San Antonio rather than just going to places that were close to the hotel.
So, why should that sense of exploration stop when you get home?
Why would you go back to the same hum-drum restaurants that are just down the street from your home? Why do you go to the same walking path every weekend when there are others just 15-20 min away?
When you’re at home and in your comfort zone, it’s easy to fall into a mediocre routine that we can so effortlessly follow with our eyes closed. Open your eyes, like you would if you were in a new, unfamiliar vacation spot, and take another look at your surroundings.
Travel reminds us that there’s a whole other world just outside of our bubble of comfort and routine. It’s up to us to open our eyes and explore it.
The Excitement of an Adventure Encourages Us to Just Say ‘Yes’ and Figure Out the Rest Later
When my friend presented the opportunity to me at first, I started drowning in the logistics of it all:
Will I be able to leave work on time to get to the airport?
What if the hotel doesn’t have reliable wifi?
What if I screw up the time zone change and miss a meeting?
What if this? What if that? Can this work out seamlessly? Should I not bother?
That’s why it took me a few minutes before I was like, “Waaait a second – the universe just handed me an opportunity to travel somewhere completely new and with one of my best friends… and I’m worried about finding decent wifi?”
You can talk yourself out of anything if you try hard enough. That’s why it’s important to hold onto that initial feeling of, “Oh, this could be fun” and just run with it. Believe me, it’ll work out if you want to make it work out.
As adults who have gotten this far in our lives, I think it’s safe to say that we all have real problem solving skills; therefore, we have the ability to figure out how to overcome challenges and problems. Unreliable wifi at the hotel? Great, I’ll grab an Uber to a coffee shop. Worried about time zones? I’ll triple check my calendars as soon as I get there. It all works out.
The rush of excitement we feel when we know that we’re about to break out of the every day habit and get into unfamiliar territory is a great feeling so ride it out and just make it happen. Everything will work out and fall into place. Just go on that trip. Get in your car.
Book your flights and just go.
Travel Loosens Us Up a Little
I say, “Ehhh it’s vacation!” at least 45x per day whenever I’m somewhere new.
When you’re on vacation, chances are you spend a little more when you’re out to dinner to treat yourself. You buy a kooky hat or outrageously tourist-y t-shirt simply because it feels right. You get a little more lenient with your bank account and do things because they make you smile or they make you feel good.
Why is it that we don’t do this in our every day lives?
In San Antonio, I ordered a lobster dinner at a fancy restaurant because it was vacation.
Back in Michigan, I went to dinner with a friend and tried to find what the cheapest dinner was on the menu.
I felt as if I couldn’t splurge on a decent dinner for myself merely because it was the usual place, on a week night, and there wasn’t a ‘good reason’ to. Not because I didn’t want something delicious and not because I couldn’t afford it. Just because it was a normal restaurant on a normal night.
Of course, you should always live within your monetary limits but it’s important to bring this, “Treat yo’self” mentality into your day to day. Because you do deserve a nice meal when you go to a restaurant on a Tuesday night. You should buy those crazy big sunglasses and wear them every day if you like them.
You shouldn’t have to find a good reason to do little things that make your days brighter, happier, and just plain more enjoyable. Bring the, “Eh, I’m on vacation!” mentality into your every day life and keep it going no matter what because you deserve it.
Travel Brings Out the Best in Us
When we travel, we’re excited, happy, and ready for anything. This dulls as we return back to our homes and into our normal routine. But it shouldn’t and it doesn’t have to. By reminding ourselves that we’re in control of how we live out each day, we should strive to bring those little nuggets of happiness that we feel when we’re on vacation into our day to day. A shift in mentality can make a huge difference.