This is a guest post by Amber Zuckswert, owner and operator of Epic Self.
As you huff and puff your way to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, step up to the edge and swivel 360 degrees in delight you think, “this is living!” No better feeling. You want to hang onto that moment, that rush, forever. And as you clamor off the plane on your home soil the following week, reality hits you, vacation is over. Not so fast. You can see like a traveler all the time. Try some of these ideas on for size:
1.) Really see: Okay this might sound obvious, but when was the last time you actually stopped and looked around at the scenery? On the drive to work, lunch breaks and even on the job take a few nanoseconds (preferably more!) to let your eyes rest on objects around you. Far too often we allow our eyes to glaze over. We scan our eyes around our present reality hardly ever seeing the shapes of the leaves, or hearing the chirps singing down from the trees.
What makes traveling so exhilarating is the constant change of scenery. Your eyes can hardly take it all in. Challenge yourself to soak in what surrounds you by using all of your senses. Seeing your town with new eyes should reveal some hidden gems.
2.) Drop Expectations: When flying to a new locale it’s easy to over research and build up massive expectations. A sad thing when you arrive and realize the “sparkling aqua ocean” is more of a muddy slough. By over planning we build ourselves up for disappointment, put up our filters and don’t get a real taste of the place. Try this in your every day life. Pick a destination for a weekend road trip and try your hardest to forget everything you’ve heard or read. Experience the place with openness and then make up your mind.
3.) Live In The Grey: This is what I like to call living in transitions. All day we scramble to and from work. Completing tasks and checking off to-do’s, but what happens in between? What occurs in that grey area? Far too many times I have caught myself not remember a moment of my drive home, nor how good that burrito was as I gulped it down in five minutes. This is not living. We tune out of life during these transitions. Aim to experience every moment. While traveling you can’t help but live in the moment. Life is thrown at warp speeds toward us constantly. Whether we are aware enough to see it is another story.
4.) Burn Your Plans: Make one day a week travel day. Don’t plan anything. Wake up when you chose and set out into the day with no direction. Take turns down random streets and follow your intuition. It’s as though you have stepped out of a hotel in a brand new country. No plans necessarily, just a yearning to see and experience the place you find yourself. Who knows who you’ll meet. A very fun experiment!
4.) Slow Down: We are a race of busy bee’s only increasing in speed. Stress is an epidemic and sleep is so last year. All the more reason to drag your feet. While meandering down those cobble stone streets in Paris you couldn’t walk five feet without taking a picture or annoying the locals as you pulled coins out to toss in a fountain. Why not do the same in your own neck of the woods? Again this gets back to living in the moment, which takes some serious down shifting in speed. It’s the quality of our moments that matters. Not how quickly we get through them.
5.) Face The Public: Force yourself to meet new people. I know, I know…you’ve got stellar friends and don’t need anymore. But, the point is to feel as though you are traveling which means meeting interesting people from all backgrounds. Spice up your daily routine by inviting the new guy out for a cup-o-joe or inviting your neighbors over for dinner. You might hate them, but I highly doubt it. Everyone has something to teach or an interesting story to tell. You don’t necessarily have to be shoved into a new local to get that travel rush. Just putting new faces around you can do the trick.
6.) Treat Yourself: You wouldn’t think twice about buying another coffee just so you could sit and people watch from yet another quaint cafe in Greece. Why should home be any different? Get a Thai massage, sip on Moroccan mint tea, or pick up a tacky shot glass with your home town painted across it.
7.) Go Wild: If all else fails strap on a backpack, live off cup o noodle, and visit a nearby hostel to swap travel stories.
Update: May 15, 2016
We had a fun little online crew back in the day; revisiting these posts have given me the excuse to go check in on everyone and see what they’ve been up to. I’ve already exchanged a few emails with old blogging buddies, catching up and seeing what everyone’s gotten into in the years between.
I met Amber in person long after we’d started interacting online — I believe that meet took place at the Googleplex, of all places, during an epic roadtrip around the US (the first of many such roadtrips).