Everyone knows this, I’m sure. The stress of packing, unpacking, getting to the airport or driving through traffic. Traveling isn’t peaceful. It IS, however, very revealing. It reveals things to you that you would never pay attention to otherwise. One of those things for me is how social I truly am at this point in my life.
When people hear that I’m traveling the world for a year, they usually respond with “No WAY! That is my DREAM! HOW did you pull that off?”. There’s SO much excitement around doing something as drastic as this.
What most people don’t realize is that doing something like this gets into the layers of who we really are as individuals. Travel reveals our insecurities and fears. Travel enables us to take time to do what makes us happiest (like blogging with a cup of tea nearby). It opens up new conversations with strangers and creates perspective around our world view.
Most people consider themselves to be an extrovert or introvert, right? There’s a new term out there called an “ambivert” – someone who is a little bit of both. You enjoy time alone and you enjoy striking up conversations with strangers. Whenever I tell anyone about that word they always say, “I think I’M an ambivert too!!”. In other words, maybe we all can identify with being an ambivert. I’ve learned while traveling that I definitely sway back and forth between the two. Sometimes I want to be at a bar having casual conversation with total strangers and sometimes I don’t want to talk to anyone.
On Tuesday of this week we packed our bags to head to the coastline of Portugal to an adorable surf town called Ericeira. Our apartment is ridiculously comfortable with a gorgeous ocean view. And guess what? I’ve barely wanted to leave! Yesterday I spent 2 hours reading on the couch and then I took a luxurious nap. Sometimes I start to feel guilty, like I should be exploring! I should be out there! Seeing the sights and talking to strangers when really all I want is to curl up on the couch and stare at the ocean blues (this is our view below!).
This year off, for me, is a deeper dive into what makes me truly happy. I have so much to be grateful for in so many areas of my life. But, I’ve spent the last 10 years daydreaming about having nothing to do but travel. And here I am! I made that dream come true. So, now what? Now, time for rest. Time to allow my mind and my heart to be still. I’m so used to having an agenda, a checklist, a busy calendar. Now it’s time for reflection, for daydreaming about how I want to spend the second half of my life. And during this time, I plan on having no plans. What does the day bring?
When traveling for an extended period of time, it doesn’t always feel like vacation. It feels like real life – you have ups and downs, highs and lows. Days where you’re “on” and days when you’re totally exhausted. I’m learning to just accept those days for what they are and enjoy them. It’s good practice for the “real world”. When I don’t feel AMAZING and INSPIRED and OVERJOYED about everything, I’ll just allow the energy to come and go. Relaxing into the ebb and flow of life.