If you’re anything like me you love to travel. In fact, you live to travel. You see work as a means to make money to be able to afford your next trip and you’re not quite comfortable unless you have your next holiday booked or at least some rough plans in the works. You’re driven by that excitement that fills the air when you know something amazing is just on the horizon. The countdown begins and each day you move closer and closer towards the awaited date when you’ll be off again on that next adventure.
Travel is addictive. The constant pull towards the next trip, that next hit, is just as intense as any other addiction – be it sugar, drugs, alcohol, sex, money or power. Yet when it comes to travel, we don’t usually talk about it in terms of addiction. Perhaps addiction seems too negative a word to be associated with travel. And whilst it’s true that there’s nothing really detrimental about travelling (unless of course you’re spending way beyond your means and jet-setting your way into financial ruins in the process), as with all addictions, there is often something that the addictive behavior is covering up. Some aspect of your life that you’d rather buy a ticket to Fiji to escape from, than actually deal with.
So what is it about travel that’s so addictive that you’re already making future plans before you’ve returned home from the current trip?
Well there are certain S.E.C.R.E.T.S. that your holiday persona is trying to whisper to you. You just need to take the time to stop, be still and listen. Because so often it’s not the actual travel that you’re addicted to – it’s the lifestyle and the type of person you become on holiday that keeps you wanting more.
Stress-free – Aaahhhhh the relief of getting away from it all! Free from your daily to-do list, an overflowing email inbox, with nothing to worry about except enjoying yourself and getting some rest. Being physically removed from your regular environment gives you the chance to disconnect a little and take some time to focus on your own desires and needs. Holidays allow you to unplug for long stretches of time – the added bonus of travelling overseas is that it’s often too expensive to be constantly using your smartphone, so you spend less time on the phone, checking Facebook and browsing the internet and more time enjoying the company of those around you and physically connecting with people.
Engaged – When you travel you’re engaged in life. You live in the moment, soaking in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that surround you, trying to capture them in your mind and heart forever. You appreciate the little moments and notice the tiny details that you so often miss in your everyday life. The knowledge that this may be the first and last time that you’re ever in this place makes you want to savour it all and fully live in the NOW.
Curious – Curiosity is a gift that we’re all born with but that many of us seem to lose sight of as we go through the motions, living our lives and becoming accustomed to our world and our routines. You get comfortable in your surroundings and you know how things work – the systems, culture, customs, language, politics and society. Travelling to new cities and cultures forces you to step outside of the familiarity of home and approach your new world with curiosity. Rather than being quick to judge why things are different and not quite as you’d expect them to be, when you travel you are open and ready to embrace the fact that this new place will be foreign and you look upon any differences with your ‘tourist eyes’ – eyes of wonder and curiosity.
Risk-takers – Have you ever found that when you’re on holiday you take more risks? Even if it isn’t the adventurous skydiving, white-water rafting, nail-biting type of risks (although those can be awesome), we are all usually willing to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones when we’re away. Whether it’s taking a tango class in Argentina, eating snails in France, or even asking a stranger for help when you’re lost, travel gives you the opportunity to take risks and see what happens.
Excited – It’s so exciting to be on holiday. That buzz when you wake up each morning and you have the whole day ahead of you to do anything that your heart desires. It reminds me of that feeling you get when you’re a little kid and it’s Christmas morning and you’re about to discover what surprises Santa has brought for you this year…the rush of the unknown! Maybe you’re excited about exploring your new surroundings, indulging in the local food, visiting museums and galleries, or maybe you’re simply thrilled to be able to read a novel by the pool – no matter where you are in the world, holidays are invigorating experiences that give you a daily dose of excitement.
True – There is something so liberating about being on holiday, far from your professional and social circles, where nobody really knows you and wouldn’t blink an eye if, heaven forbid, you did something out of character. Your holiday persona often does whatever it feels like in any given moment and embraces the ‘What the hell, I’m on holiday, nobody knows me here so who cares if I make a fool of myself?’ attitude. When you free yourself from other people’s judgments, and stop worrying about what other people may be thinking, you allow yourself to just BE and this is your true self shining through.
Soulful – Travel gives you the chance to feed your soul with what it’s craving. Away from the demands of work and obligations, you can take the time to pause, breathe and plan your days according to how you’re feeling and what gets you excited. Just want to chill-out and relax by the pool with a juicy book? Guess what? You can. Want to spend hours in nature trekking up a mountain? You can. Want to wander aimlessly through the streets, stopping at a café whenever the urge grabs you? You can. Want to eat gelato for breakfast, lunch and dinner? You can. When you’re on holiday, you give yourself permission to do whatever it is that lights you up and brings bliss to your days.
So for all of you travel junkies out there the question then becomes, how can you bring more of that holiday persona into your everyday life?
How can you reduce stress, engage in the moment, look at things with curiosity and take more risks in your day-to-day world? What is there in your life right now that you can get excited about? And what things set your soul on fire so much that you lose track of time and forget about everything else? Because if you can find these things in the everyday, and be the truest version of yourself, then I guarantee that your LIFE will become a HOLIDAY!
EPIC DISCLAIMER – I am by no means advocating that we stop travelling! In fact, I just got back from a trip to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and I’m about to jet off to Thailand. So by all means, keep up the jet setting and drink up the experiences – but don’t forget to live your life in the same way – savouring each and every moment as if it’s your last, because the truth is, one day it will be…
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