Why Travel the World, When What We're Looking for is at Home?

Why Travel the World, When What We're Looking for is at Home?

I've always be fascinated with travel and one of my number of reasons for wanting to travel was always to experience other cultures. When I spent a year working remotely while traveling the world as a digital nomad, although I was traveling the world non-stop, something didn't feel the same as my previous trips. As exciting as the lifestyle was, it started to become a norm to me. 

This prompted a simple yet complex question, "What is it that we really love about travel?" This made me dissect, what was I looking to get from travel and reflect on my most memorable moments of travel so I could uncover what it was that I really loved about it. On the surface, it seems simple but when we dive into it, there's really so much more to it. 

Of all the things I uncovered, I was surprised to learn that many of the things I love about travel are things that don't even require hopping on a plane and flying halfway around the world in order to obtain.

So why is it that we really to travel?

Our Problems Become Adventures, Not Problems

We all have a travel story of some challenging or stressful situation that turned into that amazing and unforgettable experience. The kind of experience like, "Remember that time we go lost in (insert location) so we had to ask this lady for help who ended up inviting us to dinner at her house. Then it turns out that granddaughter was headed up the coast the next day so we ended up joining her and exploring this hidden beach that no one knew about". 

Perhaps our challenges of getting lost while we travel always turn into a good story because we are accepting to what is happening and simply navigate the next steps which ends up turning into something beautiful. We don't stress, we just decide what to do next and roll with it.

Achieving this at "home"

So the next time you're faced with a challenge at home, consider the possibilities of what could happen if you embrace the challenge, navigate it and see where it leads you. With an open-mind and free-spirit approach to our challenges, we can manage the "stress" they seemingly cause.

We Become Actively Mindful 

When you arrive in a new country all your senses are activated. You notice every smell, sound, and sight. You notice every building, monument, flower, and bird. They are all so new so you're actively taking in your surroundings. You don't have time to think about what's next because you are too consumed in the moment.

Achieving this at "home"

How often do you drive to work and go on autopilot not realizing or recognizing any of your surroundings? What if you drove to work and consciously took in the surrounds of the forest next to the road, or the person in the car next to you, or that beautiful church you pass by and never pay attention to? How much more beautiful would your commute be when you are mindful of the process of getting to work.

I've 'auto-piloted' past beautiful buildings, cafes and more in my own hometown. But when I returned home from traveling, home was "new again" and I saw it in a different perspective. I was noticing the beautiful architecture of the churches I had one "auto-piloted" walked past without a second thought or glimpse.

Try and opening our mind and curiosity and look at your own town with those heightened senses that make you so mindful. You might be surprised just how beautiful the journey is for common 'auto-pilot' tasks. Just as you really pay attention to the taste of new foods abroad, be just as mindful of the tastes of your next dinner. 

We Appreciate More

Ever got back from a vacation only to realize how grateful you've now become for your own comfy bed, or the ease of communicating with a taxi driver, or even getting your favourite food or beverage that they didn't have in the country you were visiting. Traveling brings us to new places and in doing so, helps us appreciate the things we once took for granted. 

Achieving this at "home"

What do you think life would be like if you woke up with that same appreciation for things big and small every day? How powerful could that be? Wake up every day and write 1-3 things you are grateful for. This will get you in the habit of creating "gratitude". At first, you might struggle to think of something but as the days go on, the gratitude will flow, so much so that you'll start thinking of things you are grateful for throughout the day too. Ever need a boost of inspiration. Maybe help out a food shelter and listen to the stories of people who aren't so fortunate. Visit a homeless shelter over the holidays. We often compare ourselves to others, always feeling we aren't enough. We'll maybe you need to look at those who would give anything to be in your situation.

It Humbles Us

When you land in a country you and everything around you become foreign. From the language to customs and more. What is interesting about this is that we go from understanding a language to not understanding it. It's a simple "metaphor" for realizing we're all human, we're not perfect, and we all don't know everything. You can go from a "big deal" in your hometown and then land in a place where no one knows or cares who you are. This humbles you. 

Achieving this at "home"

How can you ground yourself and stay humble at home? Surround yourself with people who you can learn from, people who know more about a topic than you. It's often said, "If you're the smartest person in the room, then you need to change rooms". When you understand what it's like to be on the other side of a spectrum that's when you don't let an ego get in your head and that's when you stay humble, because you know what it's like to not be quite yet there.

We Escape Responsibility

Most often when we travel, it's for vacation. Our worries and stress are left behind and the responsibilities of the "real-world" are left behind on pause. But as a digital nomad, I realized those responsibilities follow you. For example if you want to do a 3-day trek to Machu Picchu as a digital nomad, you're going to have think about how long will I be away from wifi, will I be back in time to access my wifi and your sense of adventure is almost halted as you need to make sure you get back to work.

What's interesting is that we can always manage the responsibilities we take on and these are often not asked of us, yet something we take on ourselves, in our mind.

Achieving this at "home"

This one is simple - say no more often. The approach I take with every decision is that it either needs to be a "HELL YES!" or a "HELL NO!". There is no in between. Whether it's planning a gathering with friends, or being first to raise your hand at work volunteer opportunity. The ability to say no and prioritize your needs, which in turn fuels your mental health for the better is powerful.

And also consider and think why you take on so much. May you want to feel needed or important or in control. Once you realize why you feel the need to put yourself last, that's when you can make changes.

And the same goes for asking for help. The next time you're overwhelmed or want a break, ask for the help. Just as you'd ask someone to "check your mail" or "keep and eye on your house" while traveling, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Maybe you're feeling overwhelmed and still have to do X, Y, and Z. Think about who wouldn't mind helping you out. Helping others makes people feel good.

I'm not saying abandon all responsibilities, but what I am saying is that we often take upon ourselves, too much and we need to understand investing even a small portion of time into ourselves and mental help is equally, if not more important.

We Become The Most Interesting Person in The Room

When you're traveling and someone asks, "how was your day? what did you do?" and your response is something like, "I got my scuba diving certificate off an island in Thailand, then took my scooter back for dinner just as the most beautiful sunset was setting over the ocean." You become and exciting and interesting person. People are fascinated by you, your stories and your adventure.

But when you get back home, I bet your reality is a bit different. Maybe it's something like - head to work, come back, make some dinner and throw on the TV for the evening and call it a night. Not every exciting is it? But these actions are choices. 

Achieving this at "home"

Why not add excitement to your day? Get creative and find a way.

Maybe you decide to go skydiving, join a meet up on the most random topic you can find, learn a new language or skill, taking painting classes, go for a weekend adventure away (even if it's only 30 minutes outside your hometown), volunteer for an interesting project, interview a senior citizen or ask a complete stranger to go for lunch. All these things are random, exciting and create an interesting story to tell either way. 

We Become Our Best Self

It's also when we travel that our best self shines through. You're in a good mood, so you're quick to smile at a stranger or strike up a conversation. You're looking at each day optimistically as a new adventure, curious to see what's in store for you. You're a ray of sunshine manifesting, even more, sunshine.

Perhaps it's because our stresses of societal judgments are removed. It's like when you travel, all labels and judgments are stripped from you. No one judges you car, clothes, house - anything. When you travel you are stripped to your core - your personality. 

For some reasons we give ourselves permission to allow our best selfs come forward, only to shift direction as soon as we get home. 

Achieving this at "home"

What would happen if we could bring that same mentality into our everyday lives? It's usually when we're in those states that it manifests, even more, positivity. Have you ever noticed when you're having a good day, a series of random great things happen? And at the same time when we have bad days, it seems like everything falls apart? Why don't we latch on to that positively, let our best self shine and see what amazing things can happen in our own hometowns?

We Feed our Curiosity & Adventure

When we travel we feed our curiosity of the unknown. We want to explore new places, foods, and traditions. We lose all fears and feed our curiosity. In doing so we create that excitement and rush of adventure. We mentally open ourselves up and remove any restrictions or barriers.

Achieving this at "home"

When's the last time you went out to explore a town even 30 minutes outside of your hometown? Or tried a new restaurant? In our hometowns, we often go on auto-pilot with our routines. Why not switch it up and spend a weekend away somewhere close by? Why don't you try something new and exciting. Maybe you do something fun like skydiving or attend a local event that you typically wouldn't have attended. 

We Learn and Grow

As a tourist you are foreign - everything seems new to you. And when everything is new, you are always learning. You learn about the people of a country - from what they like to eat, when they like to eat and even different customs that you need to abide by.

Not only do you learn about others, but you learn about yourself too. After spending a week on a group travel trip you may realize you prefer more alone time than you realized or that you require more structure in need an itinerary, oppose to just seeing what happens. 

Putting ourselves in the unique situation that travel puts us in, creates endless opportunities to learn and grow.

Achieving this at "home"

There are endless ways you can learn, grow and discover more about yourself than just traveling. Whether it's working with a life coach (my life coach is awesome by the way- you can learn more about her here) or taking a night class to learn a new language or simply spending more time reading books that prompt you in the direction of personal development - the ways to learn and grow are endless.

We too often forget to feed our soul when we return home from a vacation, which is why we just die in anticipation for the next "fix" ... I mean vacation. When you feed your soul on an ongoing basis and focus on learning and growing as a person, you'll get the same benefits that you would if you were traveling.

We Meet Interesting People

One of the things I love most about traveling are the people. I've spent time with people of all ages, backgrounds, and financial situations. It's as though societal judgments are wiped away and as a traveler you are no longer judged by your assets or status, but how you are as a person. Also, these new people have different thoughts, ideas, and traditions than those you surround yourself with. They may have a viewpoint on a topic that they disagree with you on but that they have experience with. In these situations you can learn from and open your mind to other thoughts and opinions that you may not have otherwise considered. 

After meeting a person in Turkey who had fled Syria and hearing his story how he may never see his parents again, it puts a face - a human, to a situation and a headline. It's a perspective that has now shaped me and you can get I view the challenges in Syria with a different perspective. 

Just as I met people from Greece in the midst of their crisis. Headlines in the new made it seem as though people were robbing each other left right and center. When in fact, after speaking to these people from Greece I realized that's not the case at all. 

Achieving this at "home"

Just because we have a friend circle or live in the same area for a long period of time doesn't mean you can't spend time with people you wouldn't normally spend time with. And trust me, unless you know every person in your town and the towns surrounding you, there will always be an untold personal story. Whether that's visiting an old age home, working from an expensive hotel, or volunteering with kids, there are many ways we can interact with people of all different backgrounds and if you listen you might just be surprised how interesting the people in your small town can be.

We Feel Fulfilled

When we travel we do what we want to do, when we want to do it and that makes us feel fulfilled. 

Achieving this at home

Life doesn't just happen. Life is a result of all our decisions. Whether you want to play the victim card or not, you are fully responsible for your own life and the only one that has control in which direction that goes. We so quickly fall into a routine at home that we never make time for the things that matter to us.

Even if we worked 8 hours a day, slept 8 hours a day, commuted 2 hours a day, and spend another 2 on miscellaneous tasks, we still have a solid 4 hours to do whatever we want. Imagine working out for 30 minutes, reading a good book for 30 minutes, then spending another 30 minutes on something you love? And I promise you, even just dedicating 5 minutes a day to things that matter to you will have a substantial impact on you.

If you really want to take it a step further, why not create a life that has that same flexibility? Whether you find a remote job with flexible working hours, so you can pick your kid up from school or hit up the gym or start earning a passive income, these options will give you the flexibility do what you want to on your own terms.

We Test Our Limits

For some reason when we travel we give ourselves permission to test our limits. Can I do that 3-day hike in the forest and make it? Can I climb to the top of this mountain? 

Achieving this at "home"

Imagine if we pushed the limits of ourselves (in a good way) what life would be like? Perhaps you've always wanted to learn to salsa or learn a language or see if you can bike 20 miles without stopping. Give yourself permission to always test your limits of what you are capable of. 

We Break Norms and Routine

When you're on vacation you're typically calling the shots and living each day just as you want. You're breaking routine, exploring and escaping the norms of society. Being in a new country, you are doing things in a new way, whether it's the side of the road you drive on or what you eat.

Achieving this at "home"

We far too often 'auto-pilot' our lives. In doing so we never have the chance to really take control of our lives. Who says you need to work from a cubicle 8 hours a day? No one but you. Thousands of "everyday people" are switching to work remotely so they have the freedom to work from wherever they want every day. Maybe as you take the dog for a walk you take a new walking route or perhaps instead of having dinner and then dessert, you have dessert first. There are so many ways, big and small that we can break traditional norms and routines and fuel our sense of excitement and adventure. The opportunities are endless and the only person that has control of whether it happens or not is you.


So do I think we should all give up traveling? Absolutely not. But I do think living a more fulfilling life doesn't have to end at the same times that our vacations do. I challenge you to start taking action towards creating your ideal life. Then maybe instead our vacations can become so much more than just a temporary escape.

Why do you think we are really drawn to travel? Are most of us just trying to escape or fuel that sense of adventure? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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