I’ve always whole-heartedly believed that travel shouldn’t be an escape from reality, that we shouldn’t want to escape from our normal lives because if we do, that means we haven’t built an everyday life we love. And for a long time, I really did love my life in Portland just as much as my time traveling and always looked forward to coming home, to coming back to my city. And yet, here comes a very raw and honest truth, at some point last year, that feeling stopped and coming home felt like a whole hell of a lot of work. At some point last year I started using travel as an escape from my ever increasing list of responsibilities at home, as a way to escape the mundane everyday routine. And upon realizing that, I stopped in my path and took the time to really think, why am I feeling that way and how can I change it? If you’re feeling that way too, here’s what I did to fix it.
The primary issue when I really thought about it first started with the fact that I was taking on way too much in my everyday life. And while I’m always up for making money and filling my schedule full, I’ve finally realized that I was saying yes to everything instead of only the things I really want to say yes to. I was adding more and more to my everyday life that I wasn’t passionate about, that I didn’t have time for, that I didn’t enjoy. And so when we traveled, my thought was that I was coming home to the things I didn’t really want to do, the things that were burying me. Sound familiar? Sadly, this is a common problem in our society. So what’s the answer to this problem? Take on less and focus on quality over quantity, a lesson that’s hard for me but that I’m purposely trying to fulfill this upcoming year. Sometimes we get so caught up on all these different things that we need to learn to let go and that’s what I’m focusing on this coming year – letting go of some of the responsibilities in my life and handing them off to other people and at the same time, learning to be okay with that.
The second part of this problem though, was why wasn’t I loving being in Portland? What had changed that made me feel like that about my home city? How did I fall out of love with a place I adore? And that’s a hard one to answer as well because I think it had to do with a lot of different things. First off, I think sometimes there comes a time in any relationship with a person or a place when it takes a dip – the newness wears off and suddenly you don’t love everything about it. It doesn’t mean you don’t love it anymore, it just means that sometimes our relationships with people and places have ups and downs – and it doesn’t mean you won’t love it again, so remember to be patient. My love for my home city has already been coming back in the past few months and I really just need to remember that relationships take time, whether with people or places, so be patient and let it run its course. Patience is the key – your life won’t always be perfect, but that doesn’t mean the dips have to be bad, it’s all part of the journey.
The truth is that I don’t want travel to be an escape from my life, I want it to be an addition, a supplement to an amazing life already. And it took a hard year for me to realize that while sometimes we may need a break from work or a break from routine for a bit, I always want to look forward to coming home just as much as I look forward to travel. We shouldn’t be living lives we hate at home just to count down until something on the horizon. So if you find yourself in a similar predicament, just know I’ve been there and I understand. We should all be living every day to the fullest, no matter where that day might be and as Oscar Wilde wrote, “to live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that’s all.” Let’s all not just exist, because life is a pretty beautiful ride when we really live it and have no reason to escape it.