A while back, I wrote Travel Hack: Do What You Do At Home While You Travel. And now, I offer another wonderful piece of advice:
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.
Translation: Life is only an adventure if you make it one.
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
Yolo! No, literally. Yolo. As in Yolo County, CA -- about an hour north of where I live. Stricken by the beauty, I stopped here with my boyfriend while we driving home from his parents' house one morning. So gorgeous! And way better than playing a game on my phone.
Driving through the "boring" Central Valley
I'm starting to think I have a thing with flowers...
Or even just walking your dog by some water.
We stop appreciating the things that are near to us. You ever notice how many San Francisco Bay Area residents have never been to Alcatraz?
Nature doesn't have to be foreign to be appreciated. Check out this beautiful painted turtle my sister found at a local lake.
It means you have to choose to think big -- and a little outside the box. For example. Why stop at a gas station for caffeine when you could just pull over, climb down a hill
And take a 20-minute nap by a river?
Or, even better -- go for a swim! Because who leaves home without blankets, towels and a swim suit in the car, anyway? If you truly want to live life like you're on vacation... keep a little suitcase of adventure essentials in your trunk.
Why put your Christmas tree on the curb for Waste Management to collect... when you could rent a trailer, pick up every Christmas tree in town, and have an epic Releasing the Spirit of Christmas Back Into The Air party?
And, speaking of Christmas, why stop at "milk and cookies," when you could put animal tracks (and/or "droppings") in the snow on the roof? Or bootprints in the living room? Or even a pair of boots in the embers and tell your kid they're Santa's? (Just -- you know. Don't try to slide down the chimney. I've heard that can end badly.) Because that's what my mom did, and, as a result, Christmas was always magical.
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.
I don't know what idiot said Iowa was boring...
So next time you see a sack, are you going to mindlessly throw it out... or mindfully throw yourself into it?
I don't care if it hardly went above my knees -- that sack and I were meant for each other!
Next time you happen upon a slackline or some dueling log flumes, are you going to hurry off, lest you be late... or are you going to say, "You know what? Screw it! I'm on 'vacation!'"
The next time you realize you haven't been to that cool park, event or attraction in your town -- the one all the tourists but none of the locals have been to -- are you going to say, "Yeah, I really should go someday..." Or are you gonna be all, "Carpe diem!" and GO?
This amazing statue thingy was right down the road from me much of my life... and it took a wedding to get me to go see it. Sure, I like to practice what I preach. But nobody's perfect.
Yolo is right. You do only live once. And each special event -- each birthday, anniversary and holiday -- is only going to happen once. You have two choices: you can just kind of do whatever, or you can make it an amazing adventure.
It takes a little (or sometimes a lot) of extra effort to choose the latter. But trust me. It is ALWAYS worth it.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
Want to support The Happy Talent? CLICK HERE!
Or Find me on Patreon!
What's Popular on The Happy Talent:
Trending in Dating and Relationships:
What's Popular in Science:
Playfulness and Leisure Skills:
Popular in Psychology and Social Skills: