It has been 79 days since I’ve been on a plane.
This is not unusual in itself: I’ve been longer without travelling, of course. But this summer has been an experiment in staying put: in commitment, in consolidation.
It has been an interesting process. And by “interesting”, I mean, “a massive challenge.”
I’m used to a life that is not planned for more than a couple of weeks ahead. I’ve loved that I could, at any moment, jump on a plane or a train and be somewhere new. I’ve been addicted to that feeling.
I admit it’s much easier to feel that sense of awe when you are travelling. Being overseas, at any given moment, I can see something I’ve never seen before. That I might never see again! Of course it’s interesting: it’s NEW! It’s a surprise!
The experiment has been in finding that feeling in the “every day” – how can you have a job and go to work and find time to exercise and see family and do laundry and eat well…AND maintain a sense of wonder?
It turns out, you can.
I started thinking of some of my best moments while travelling.
For me, they’ve often involved being outside: hiking, swimming, diving, exploring a town…
Overwhelmingly, the moments I remember best are ones where I stop, take a moment and breathe in exactly where I am.
(And, according to my photos, throw my arms wide and exclaim “I can’t believe I’m here right now!”)
Koh Samet, Thailand
The challenge of a few months in one place, my hometown no less, was to find that same sense of taking time and applying wonder.
I think when we’re back in our familiar surroundings, especially when we’re working, it’s easy to get into a grind that can make us forget all the beauty around us. The first step for me was making time to stop and notice. Scheduling a walk. Being outside at sunrise or sunset. Taking the dogs out and noticing how they interact with their environment.
Instagram has been an amazing tool for this.
(Check out my summer: @shinyhappyhealthy)
I tried to find one thing – a scene, a bird, a tree, a certain slant of light – that captured my eye. Just that act of stopping, snapping and sharing, helped me reconnect with my surroundings. And it helped me feel connected with my travelling community, when I saw how beautiful they found my hometown.
Then, last week, I came across this list from author/illustrator/creativity guru, Keri Smith.
I love this list.
Here’s the thing: people come and visit where I live as tourists and exclaim how beautiful and amazing it is. Exactly as I do for places I visit overseas or interstate. The only difference is perspective.
I love the idea that I could be anywhere, at any given moment and completely surrender to and appreciate the beauty of where I am.
To be an explorer in my own life, throw my arms wide and exclaim: “I can’t believe I’m here right now!”