There is something I’ve been noticing lately.
It’s a thought. A thought that has been slowly sneaking up behind me. Throughout the passing weeks, I’ve gotten used to ignoring the treading footsteps, as this thought approaches closer and closer.
Then, ever so gently, this thought taps me on the shoulder.
Sorry, you’re going to have to do better than that, because I’m great at ignoring taps on the shoulder.
Days pass and suddenly, this thought is screaming at me. It’s no longer something I can ignore.
“You’re saving the best moments for travel.”
Oh, shit. Okay. I hear you now.
When I travel, I delight at all the sights, smells and sounds around me. I am wandering around. I am constantly on the lookout for a new adventure. I’ll try things that are normally far outside of my comfort zone. I’ll seize the moment. I’ll document the moment. My mind is in a consistent state of awe and wonder.
When at home?
It typically looks a little bit like this: go to work Monday through Friday, and come home to watch approximately 1.5 hours of TV before heading to sleep. On weekends, I reserve the time to relax. Oddly enough, though? I often feel more exhausted doing nothing than filling up my calendar with plans. Who would’ve thought!
Thankfully, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Recently, I was reading a thread on a popular travel Facebook Group where literally hundreds of women reported experiencing depression or extreme sadness upon returning home from travels. This brings me a lot of relief – to know that I’m not alone – but it also brings to mind a burning question.
Does it have to be that way? Do I have to live to travel?
I can’t speak for everyone in that Facebook thread, but my guess is no. In my own personal life, I have a hunch that it’s a mindset shift that needs to happen deep down inside of me.
It means taking a hard look at how I’m living my everyday life, and what about it makes me feel so blah. (Not adventuring out on the weekends and only watching Netflix when I get home from work? That probably has something to do with it.)
It also means asking myself, “What am I getting from travel that I’m not getting from the day-to-day routine?” and then working hard to implement similar things whenever I can.
Even though there are unavoidable bits of “sameness” to my everyday life (and everyone else’s, for that matter), I know there are certain ways that each day can be unique.
Here are just a few ideas that immediately come to mind…
1. Make the most of the weekends.
As I write this, it’s a Sunday morning, and I’m still recovering from a particularly nasty cold. So, it doesn’t look like much is happening this weekend. In general, though? I know it’d be way more fun to take advantage of the time on the weekends to go to local events, drive out to new locations, take hikes, have a beach day, do a photo walk… the possibilities are endless. Especially where I live (Los Angeles). Whatcha waiting for, Liz?
2. Look at everyday things with a photographic eye.
There’s beauty everywhere, even in the small things. Like a carefully plated salad for dinner. Or the way the sunlight is casting shadows on the sidewalk in the evening before your commute home.
Maybe it’s time for another 365 Photos in 365 Days challenge?
3. Break out of the “food rut.”
Make the time to try new recipes, especially ones with flavor combinations or profiles that I’ve never tried before. Eat more mindfully, with less distractions and more conversation with a loved one.
4. Try new things. Constantly.
All of those things on my to-do list? I want to start crossing them off. This includes many exciting things that don’t need to wait for my next destination. Some of my current ideas: learning archery, taking boxing classes, or being a tourist in my own city. (Can you believe I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 8 years and I’ve still never visited The Getty?)
5. Nurture a spontaneous mindset.
Say YES to curiosity. Live with that same, “Why not?” mindset that often comes with exploring a new place. This is such a struggle for me, as someone who battles with low energy, but I need to remind myself that I always feel more energized when I say yes to things.
What inspired me to post this blurb?
I don’t know. Maybe by throwing this message out there into the world, it’ll help me stay accountable to this goal.
By putting this out there, I also partly hope that it will inspire someone else to inject a little more joy in their day-to-day life.
If we live with the same spirit and energy that we have while traveling, I know that we’re capable of shaking whatever post-travel blues that come our way.