The gypsy syndrome is a real thing. Craving change, wanting to run, change paths and go anywhere to escape the feeling of being stuck. Wherever it might be; a relationship, a situation or an actual place.
But what if you physically can’t go anywhere? It got me thinking. What does out there have that right here doesn’t?
I figured it is mostly a mindset. When I’m travelling I slow down, I’m more conscious, more adventurous and I fill in my days accordingly. But how can we have that travel mindset when we’re at home?
It starts by identifying the things or feelings we miss from travelling and incorporating them into our everyday lives. To a certain extent of course. I wish I could bring the Mauritian beaches to my front door and order an afternoon of Portuguese sunshine but that’s not going to happen. However, there are little things we can do that may help us experience more of those feelings we have when we’re away.
Firstly, be more aware. When I’m at home studying or working I mostly go by autopilot. While when I’m traveling, I am more conscious of enjoying everything around me. If I were away -picking olives on a farm in Portugal or driving through a game reserve in South Africa- my eyes would be open, studying everything around me. I would be listening, to the sounds of waves, chattering birds or the rumble of zebras’ hooves. I would pay attention to the air and how it felt heavy with rain when coming of the plane in Mauritius, and light and crisp when in the mountains in Switzerland. I would treasure smells and really pay attention to the tastes of new foods. I would be observant and aware of the way people interacted with each other on the streets. Every day would be an adventure for my senses. And that kind of awareness we often leave at the airport when coming home.
Secondly, when abroad, we choose our activities carefully because we’re only there for a certain amount of time. On an average travel day, my goal would be to learn and enjoy as much as possible while a Monday at uni is all about getting through an unending to do list. Although a day of back to back lectures doesn’t really measure up to galavanting with the elephants, I do think having more travel-like moments during the week can help us experience those travelly feelings. For example, start incorporating mini-breaks. Going for walks, blocking a day in your planner without a to do list and and taking time for spontaneous road trips. Adventures are not only for the times we are on the opposite side of the world. We make our own rules and we can create our own adventures whenever and wherever we want to.
Being mindful of our choices also applies to people. When you’re travelling and you meet someone you connect with, you spend time with them and perhaps even share part of your journey with them. But then there comes a time when your paths split up and you both move on. This natural process is much more accepted in the traveling world than in real life. Travelers are often more aware of their independence and mobile nature. In many cases it’s the very reason they went travelling anyway. Why then is this aspect of people coming and going so difficult in real life? For one, I think it might prove difficult to move on from certain people because the distance aspect is often not there to make it easier. Also, when our lives are more structured and static, the relationships with people around us may become more static too. We often forget to reflect on the fact if we are still happy in a certain relationship so we don’t realize when it’s time to move on. Choose your tribe carefully and think about the people you spend time with, just as you would when you’re travelling.
Finally, spend time alone! Any relationship is built on time, including the one with yourself. When you are traveling, especially when you are by yourself, you learn so much about who you are and what you want. You become more independent and you learn how to depend on yourself when things go wrong. The paradox of travelling is that although we’re far away, we actually get closer to who we are. And you need to spend time with you to build on that relationship. Wherever that may be.