Spring has arrived, and as summer is fast approaching, everyone seems to be prepping those summer plans. Some for big trips, others for small escapes, while a few stick around to enjoy a well deserved ‘stay-cation’. Born and raised in the sun, I always prefer to stick around and enjoy the best of Amsterdam when it’s warm, sunny and bustling with energy while finding my sweet escape during those dark winter months. But this past year, I experienced travel, in quite a different way than I had ever before. And suddenly, that ‘travel bug’ had a very different ‘bite’.
It wasn’t about ‘escaping’ or taking a ‘break from life’. It wasn’t about working in order to afford to take a break from work (ironic isn’t it?) it was about experience. It was about family, loved ones and exploring. It was about being confronted with myself in a different part of the world. And of course, as always, growth. This very different ‘bite’ has seemingly left an everlasting ‘itch’ to see more, learn more and grow more, from myself and this world. I find myself less interested in ‘vacationing’ and swept away by those valuable teachings and moments only obtained through travel. Wanting to work and save for the next amazing experience, rather than the next much-needed escape.
No longer naturally equating travel with vacationing, finding my next destination undergoes a new set of criteria. What I am looking for this time? Recharging and refreshing? Learning and adventure? Or maybe even best of both worlds? Even a well deserved ‘stay-cation’ brings with it some valuable moments. If you can’t appreciate where you are, how can you truly appreciate where you are going? The multi-faceted lessons that come with traveling seem endless.
I can, however, admit that, sometimes, no matter how much we might love what we’re doing, pausing and taking a break from the daily chaos is essential. Stepping away, to recharge, rethink and refresh seems to be invaluable in today’s society, where sensory overload is almost inevitable. As an island girl living the big city life, I too, occasionally experience this strong need to ‘vacation’ and ‘escape’. Stepping back from the crowded concrete jungle, and seeking out fresh air, clear horizons and the serenity that seemingly only nature can provide (finding peace within the chaos seems to still be an art form). Yet, as I find myself differentiating vacationing from traveling, I also realize that the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
I realize within the multi-faceted lessons that come with traveling, that a simple change of environment (don’t need to travel far for this one) and an added element of adventure (big or small, whatever breaks your daily routine) in and of itself can provide that ‘recharge’ that we’re looking for. As traveling far and long without a doubt has its testing times (that’s the ‘learning’ part right?) It is often within the new experience and discoveries themselves that we may be able to ‘refresh’ and even learn something new along the way.
But, why wait for that need to escape to reach its breaking point? Why wait until we’re running low and need to recharge to go out there and experience the world? When traveling, or even vacationing has so much to offer other than escape. So much to learn and see, from the world, and from ourselves. Whether it’s within the stillness of lounging beachside, chasing waterfalls with the locals, enjoying exotic cocktails, or simply exploring your home country a little more, within every trip, no matter how far or near, there is always opportunity to grow from the environment we find ourselves in.
If it’s the adrenaline rush of traveling to the other side of the world or the serenity in returning home with a new appreciation, when travel and vacationing, are no longer treated as an escape, but rather valued as great opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and step out of our bubble and into the world we truly live in, Oh, how powerful that becomes!