Thoughts about why I love to travel…and how it improves my “reality”…
Critics of those who travel often say we are escaping reality and tell us to build a life you don’t want to escape from… that is not so for me. I genuinely enjoy working. I have friends and family I love. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t travel more than two weeks at a time is I like to be home. But for me, travel is also a way to be my best self every day … and have my best day magnified. And then it reminds me of who I am and who I want to be at home and at work.
- I don’t waste time when traveling. As an example — I hardly ever watch TV when traveling. I might watch a movie or a show while on a long flight. And if I am staying in a place with a TV, they have English speaking news and I think to turn it on, I might watch the news while getting dressed. That’s about it.
- Quality time with the people I love. If I travel with family or friends we have all day together to talk, laugh and build memories. In “real life” too often you have to schedule a simple dinner several weeks ahead of time — and you never have time to really catch up or relax with each other. Even if traveling alone, I have uninterrupted time for myself and to work through thoughts and emotions that are unresolved at home because I am just too “busy.”
- When traveling I spend a majority of my time outside. I love being outside and always feel better the more time I spend outside. But unfortunately I don’t do it enough at home on a daily basis.
- Exercise and more activity! A success at home is making it to the gym for an hour (or probably more like a half hour). Even the most relaxed trip or day, means I’ll walk at least 5 miles and usually more. I will also take time to hike, kayak, raft, and countless other active interests.
- I remember how much I love to learn new things. I learn at work and I am an avid reader but traveling is active learning at spans every waking hour. New sights, people, opinions, history, culture, language … the list is endless.
- Ironically, I eat healthier when traveling. I rarely eat packaged crap and instead eat 2-3 well balance meals a day. If I do snack or drink it is mindful and usually connected with learning about the culture, tradition or history of where I am (or at least that is what I tell myself). But it is never a bowl of ice-cream or a bag of chips in front of the television. I also drink more water when traveling than at home.
- I am reminded to be patient. If I value diversity and differences around the world, then I should at home and work too.
- I am also reminded that I don’t need more stuff. I can have a wonderful two weeks living out of a backpack and sleeping under the stars. At home I have so much more than I need and more than the rest of the world. I don’t need anything else.
- I am more aware of the world and my responsibility to get involved. I care about poverty, equal rights, and the environment. When at home, in my routine, these are side thoughts. When traveling, each of these issues and many more are front and center. I am so much more likely to volunteer time, write a letter or donate money after traveling.
When I get back from a trip, I more likely to incorporate these priorities back into my life. For weeks (and sometimes months) after a trip you will find me at the gym and spending my evenings outside with people I love rather than vegging out. I am more likely to plan meals and drink water than eat junk food. And I am more likely to explore my local surroundings or read a book than watch TV.
Traveling doesn’t make me forget home. It helps refocus me by allowing me to concentrate on what is important.
That is really what Life Kinetic is all about!!!
As a note: I realize I am very privileged and blessed to have the opportunity to reset, explore and learn this way. However, I also deeply believe the above benefits are equally as valuable locally. You don’t have to travel across the globe. You just have to get “out” for the day, put aside your routine and explore somewhere new. This still requires the privilege of having a roof over your head and knowing where your next meal is coming from without working seven days a week. But not much more than that … using an occasional day off to explore a nearby city, park, or museum can bring all of these benefits and help you reincorporate them into your daily routine.