I am a travel bug with clipped wings.
Due to a variety of circumstances…this year, sadly, will not be a big travel year. Sigh.
I know that my happiness is dependent on my perception of my circumstances versus the actual circumstances themselves. Which means it's up to me--100% up to me--to see my clipped wings as a gift of sorts.
As a kid, my family never really traveled. We took two roadtrips to Disneyland and a handful of roadtrips to South Dakota (lucky us) for family reunions. That was as far away as we got.
I, however, longed to see the world.
As a teenager, instead of posters of rockstars and hottie actors, I had posters of Paris and Switzerland decorating my bedroom walls.
My first REAL travel experience wasn’t until I was 20 years old. My best friend from high school and I took 2 months off from college, bought a plane ticket to Amsterdam and a Eurail pass, and were off on a grand adventure.
We were completely clueless (yes, there are stories!), but we somehow managed to get ourselves to 11 countries and 2 principalities mostly unscathed.
And that, my lovelies, is when I absolutely fell head over heels in love with travel.
I vowed that I would find a way to make travel central to my life.
And it is central to my life--I have been to some amazing (!) places both in the States and around the world--yet I haven’t done nearly as much traveling as I had hoped.
Life. Responsibilities. MONEY. Time.
What to do when things don’t go according to plan?
When life hands you lemons…make lemonade.
Make the best damn lemonade on the block.
So here’s my process (a.k.a. my recipe for badass lemonade) when something desirable seems unattainable:
What is it about ____________ that I crave?
What feelings do these things I crave elicit?
How can I elicit those feelings without ________________?
Do those things.
Are you like, “that’s it”?? How will this give me comfort when what I long for is currently out of reach? Hang with me…
So, to use my travel example:
What is it about travel that I crave? Visiting new places, meeting new people, observing how people can live differently (from my idea of “normal”), breaking out of routine (this is a big one), eating different foods, being more active (but less formal exercise), and feeling physically and mentally distanced from my “problems”
What feelings do these things I crave elicit? Excitement, adventure, spontaneity, and freedom
How can I elicit those feelings without traveling? Be a local tourist (there are literally dozens of tourist-y activities in the Seattle area that I have either never done or haven't done in a long time); initiate conversations with people who are not “like me”; change my routine (drive a different route, have a cocktail in the middle of the day on a day off, try my hand at painting); try new restaurants and different types of food, go for a run (creates the same feeling of physically and mentally distancing myself from my “problems”), host or attend a theme party (toga party, Oscars party, etc.)
Now I can put those things in my hat and wear it!!
Is it possible to create a life of excitement, adventure, spontaneity, and freedom without ever leaving my neck of the woods? It is, but it definitely requires deliberate effort.
The funny thing is I am a total creature of habit and routine—spontaneity is not my middle name! Traveling is one of the only times I give my free-spirited side any rein. No wonder my heart breaks a little when I can’t travel…one can only be regimented for so long before one starts to get a little loco, right?
How about you?
What do you feel is missing from your life? What feelings would you have if the *thing* wasn’t missing? How can you create the feelings without the *thing*?
Are you willing to give this process a try? If so, let me know how it works for you.