There are many great reasons to travel, and certainly the opportunity to explore a new city or town tops the list. But a close second for me is the opportunity to break from my routine and wake up all the parts of my brain that may have gone dormant in day to day life.
It doesn’t matter how much you love what you do and how you live, if you don’t get outside of it all and wake up your curiosity once in a while, you are missing out on opportunity. The chance to see new skies, eat different foods, wake and sleep at different times – all of this serves to jolt us out of our status quo.
When I travel, I make an effort to shift gears even before I board a plane. I will peruse the magazine racks and completely avoid any magazine I typically read at home. Instead I look for titles and headlines that catch my eye for any reason at all – what would I read if I had zero responsibility to be seeking parenting resources or healthy recipes? Rare are my opportunities for quiet, reflective thinking; it is important to take advantage when I can.
By the time I arrive at my destination I have spent several or many hours away from my regular life and the people in it. Hours to myself that start to allow my brain to wander places it doesn’t go on an average Tuesday. And when I get the chance to see or do something different once I am there – I want to say yes. Explore a neighbourhood on foot, just because I haven’t been there before? Yes. Try food I haven’t had the opportunity to taste, eat food from a street truck? Yes. Spend time with people I don’t know counting on my instincts and the universe’s ability to connect me with like-minded people who may inspire me to new or different things? YES.
Even while held relatively captive in airports and planes, I still find the time valuable in a strange and quiet way. I may be inconvenienced or weary, to be sure, but what I also am is alone. And curious. And wealthy in time – when was the last time you could say that?
I was away for a few days recently, at a conference that was filled with opportunities to meet and connect with a staggering number of people. I was in a city that is so dynamic and interesting to me that I could barely take it all in.
But to get the most out of it, I spent a little time with my head in the clouds first.
How do you get ready for travel? Is your routine different when you are alone?