Do what you do when you travel while you're at home.
See, most people think that the voyage of discovery consists of finding new landscapes. When they travel, they open their eyes. When they're someplace familiar, they shut them, and the adventure stops.
But here's the truth, in the words of someone much wiser than I am:
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust
I've always been a playful person (it's true what they say: all of psychology research is really psychology me-search), so it's hard for me to understand why so many people will go abroad to have a wonderful adventure. They will put effort into seeing everything and meeting everyone. They'll spend time researching opportunities, sights and activities near them. They'll be spontaneous, excitable and down for anything...
And then come home, fall into a routine and tune out.
Maybe it's the movies. They set a bad example. In movies, characters, in the course of their normal life, get swept up in a crazy experience that forever changes them. But in real life, having an adventure is a decision that only you can make.
This means a lot of things. It means that you should literally keep your eyes peeled -- you could have an unforgettable experience on your way home from your parents' house
And now that we're all grown up...
It's still magical. If anything, Christmas is even more fun now, because my siblings and I go overboard, too, and together we contribute to a ridiculously large presents pile. It takes most of the day to get through them all. (It's true what they say: money can buy happiness.) But this might be the only time we all get together this year. So we own it. Go big or go home, right?
In a way, it's like we treat every Christmas like an exciting, foreign festival... that happens in our living room.
We don't necessarily spend a lot of money on the gifts, either. Instead, we fill the room with as many awesome, thoughtful presents as possible -- because thoughtfulness trumps big box every time. Big box is standard, thoughtless and boring. It's like chocolates and a bouquet on Valentine's Day. You didn't see anything else you thought your mom/friend/partner would like? Were your eyes closed or something?
Well, open them back up! Because people who see the world with new eyes have a way of making everything special.
Let's talk about my mom again. She lived and traveled all over the world before "settling down" in Iowa. Except she clearly never stopped traveling. You can tell by the things we did on the weekends -- and especially our birthdays. (Or, perhaps birthdayses, since each birthday usually involved multiple days of festivities.)
Again, it didn't have to be expensive. We lived on a farm, so all we really had to do to make awesome adventures happen was invite people over, get out some horses, go karts or karaoke machines, order some pizzas... and then light stuff on fire.
But, of course, she wouldn't stop there. Her eyes were always open, and she was always discovering these amazing new places -- and then taking us there. If we ever complained of being bored, she would retort, "Boring people lead boring lives." Because fun is a choice. So is boring. And so is the end of your vacation.
It takes a little (or sometimes a lot) of extra effort to choose the latter. But trust me. It is ALWAYS worth it.