It’s challenging to let go of the excitement of wandering in new countries, cities or towns, and learning about new people and cultures. It’s probably just as arduous to transition back home after a trip. The experience of feeling the beaming sun shining on your face, while climbing a mountain to see a dam in Southern Spain is not necessarily comparable to waking up every morning, to see the same people at work every day.
When I came back home after three months in Europe, I asked myself “what can I do to continue living as a traveler in my daily life?” Then I thought of another question, “how was I living as a traveler abroad that I don’t do when I’m home?”
I’ll answer the latter question first. I can’t say this applies to every traveler, but usually, when we travel, we are free from our inhibitions and doubts. We tend to discard certain limitations we would have placed on ourselves if we were back home. One good example is food. We would probably try risky pufferfish in Japan, but not in the new restaurant that opened around the corner.
One of the reasons we are more open when we’re away is that we are directly exposed to these ‘new’ foods, and the choice to experience them is readily accessible. (Or none of this could happen at all, and you want to explore all the McDonalds in the world.) As travelers abroad, we unconsciously adapt a mentality that invites variation and adventure. So, to live a traveler’s life back home, simply keep and maintain this unbiased and liberal perspective. We don’t have to revert back to who we were, or what we were doing back home, just because we have returned.
Often times we are lucky enough to have grown to the point that we don’t return the same, and our traveler self and home self come together, forming one badass individual. This essentially would be the start of making travel part of your lifestyle, instead of “a wish,” as my friend Melody stated beautifully.
Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr. acknowledged this breakthrough when he said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
This great Matador Network article gives exceptional suggestions on how to be a traveler at home, but I wanted to add a few more.
Take Different Routes to Work
Again, it isn’t easy transitioning from traveling the world to working. Why not take an adventure every morning to decrease the boring routine? Take the bus, train, or ride a bike. If you drive, take an unknown scenic route. For lunch, try a new cuisine when you can eat out or eat your food from home in a different setting.
Get This Book
How to Be An Explorer of the World by Keri Smith is one of the best investments I ever made. It has many exercises guiding you to analyze, document and explore the world around you, right where you are. All his other books are worth reading as well.
As a traveler, we don’t wait for the weekends to have fun. We have fun every day when we’re traveling. Why should that change when we return home? Go out with friends on a Tuesday, get sexy on a Thursday and get off that couch on Sunday!