Keeping the travel mentality whether home or away

One of the biggest challenges when coming home from travelling is keeping the mentality you have when abroad.

It’s a big part of why I think travel is so important; to get outside of yourself a bit, to break the routine of daily life and all the things that become so important when we’re stuck in the grind.

All these things just disappear once you’re on the road. You don’t need the latest iPhone update. You can wear the same pants for 40 days and barely bat an eye. All the “necessities” for city life just melt away and what you’re left with is the things that actually matter.

I’ve been back for a while now and I’m still riding the post-travelling carefree wave. The time I spent away and alone really taught me something about patience and being at peace with myself. My biggest challenge now is to hold onto this feeling and find a way to fit it into my “normal” life. I usually come home from travelling with a sense of optimism, looking to the future as full of potential. The wonder and the unknown are exciting, just like when I’m travelling. It’s easy to let the little things creep back in and become big things.

Travelling forces you to accept and adjust to unforeseen circumstances, just like putting yourself in any foreign situation, whether abroad or at home, does. I had always wanted to stay in one place for an extended stay. Travelling is exciting because you can go anywhere, do anything at the drop of a hat, but there was something about staying in one spot that I wanted to experience too. The past couple of months have been a lot of things. They have been vibrant and real, and at times they have been solitary and very lonely.

The courtyard view from my Bolivian home

Back to “reality”, I wonder what it would be like if I could continue to pay such close attention to myself. Somehow as life goes on, things get busy, tasks pile up, people want your time and your energy and the time that was once plentiful is now virtually gone. But if I can just hold on to this state where the unknown path is the right path, I might be able to stay travelling in the mind.

This isn’t escapism. It’s the opposite, really. It’s finding a way to tune into the present moment and know that you’re there, with all your senses and all your being. For some reason, travelling handpicks what is truly important and brushes the rest off onto the sidelines.

Vancouver skyline

Maybe it’s the act of choosing to go into the unknown. How often do we do this in our daily lives? How often do you say to yourself: “Today, I’m going to get on a bus and see where it takes me. And then, once I’m there, I’m going to talk to strangers and learn about the way they live.” The time that we give to these acts seems precious when at home but on the road, time is limitless and somehow, still.

I am walking a little slower since coming home, looking at things a little closer that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. I am re-training myself to carry over a sense of peaceful attentiveness. But mostly, I am presenting the world with my best self, no matter where in the world I am and this, I’m fairly certain, will be a lifelong practice.

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