Upending my life to travel full-time was, without a doubt, one the better decisions I’ve ever made. Despite the sacrifices required, and even during the really tricky or troublesome times, I’ve yet to regret that choice even for a moment.
But something I’ve learned since then is that ‘travel’ itself isn’t what I was after, and isn’t why I enjoy my lifestyle so much.
It isn’t the act of locomotion that thrills me, nor the status of ‘living elsewhere,’ nor the passport full of stamps. It’s the experiences I have when I’m pulled out of a familiar reality. It’s the people I meet who have grown up under far different circumstances than me. It’s the novel flavors and alien color palettes. It’s seeing the world from a different point of view, and not just geographically. In every way seeing things differently, for a time.
I bring this up not because I think travel is less than it’s typically made out to be, but because it’s possible to find many of these same things at home. We can expose ourselves to new people and ideas. We can seek out new fields of study and genres of music. We can push ourselves, attempt things that scare us, and try the unidentifiable foods at the restaurant with the name we can’t pronounce.
There’s so much knowledge and opportunity at our fingertips, all day, every day, and it’s easy to forget that. We forget because we have habits and routines. And we overlook this at-home potential for novelty because travel is our excuse to extract ourselves from ‘real life’ so that we might pursue something new and risky…before coming home to real life once more.
It’s uncomfortable to risk the stability of our ‘real,’ familiar, predictable lives. Much easier to only interact with challenging realities in short bursts, and away from our own backyards.
Consider what we might learn, though, and how thrilling each day might be, if we approached our ‘real lives’ the way we approach foreign travel. Imagine how much more growth we might experience, and how much more fun and inspiration might be had.
Take a second and decide what your ‘real life’ will be: a backdrop not worth your attention, or a source of never-ending fascination, intrigue, and interest.
And if you choose the latter, start exploring.