I’ve been back one week now from months of traveling in Europe and slowly settling into bay area life. I say slowly because I’m trying to hold on or better said adopt the traveler’s mind into my daily life.
Which of course begs the question – What is the traveler’s mind?
I can’t speak for all travelers, only myself and my mindset. When I decided to pack a bag and set off to travel, I knew only one thing for sure… that I didn’t know anything.
I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how I was going to feel. I didn’t even know where I’d be going. And to be honest it was kinda scary… The last time I stepped out of the comforts of home was when I went to work in India for 2 months, I ended up staying for 6 months and it changed my life. I was younger then and definitely felt more invincible… but I had decided one thing during that India trip… I didn’t ever want to be too comfortable in my American life.
Don’t get my wrong, I appreciate all that this country has to offer and I have deep gratitude for the struggle my parents overcame to build a life here… But the world is larger than America and we have a lot to learn from the corners of the earth. That’s a topic for another day.
Back to the traveler’s mind. Stepping into the unknown kinda feels like taking a big leap of faith and once your mid leap you have a choice for when you land – curiosity or close up. And this is what differentiates travellers and tourists (in my opinion). A tourist steps into another country with a checklist to tick off and searches for the luxuries of home. A traveller has no idea what their next move will be and opts to engage in conversation with the local people and piece together their journey one step at a time.
The latter was me. And what I discovered was the vulnerabilities of every place I visited through deep conversations and joyful connections. In those moments of openness I found myself visiting places I couldn’t have tried to plan for and relationships were built that I couldn’t have even dreamed of. People were helpful, kind, and generous … I began to wonder why? I didn’t say or do anything different than my friends that lived in these areas, nor from when I’m at home in San Francisco,
But something was different, it was subtle yet powerful. I had an openness to me that came with months of slowing down, paying attention, and making time to connect whether it be with the server at the corner restaurant, the hairstylist who did my hair, or the local barista. In slowing down my journey unfolded.
Side note: slowing down is a lot easier to do when you really don’t have any plans or a tight schedule to stick to which was how I travelled.
Being back home now I’m hyper aware of how easy it is to get caught up in mindless activities, making plans, and the massive weapons of mass distraction i.e. mobile phones and social media.
When I was away I didn’t have a data plan and often I was without wifi so I had no choice but to read, write, and be present. Having mobile access at your fingertips is extremely addictive. Here are some of the rituals I’ve adopted to apply a travelers mind at home:
I’ll leave you with this quote:
Traveling – It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
Lead your life with a traveler’s mindset and write your story.
Stay tuned for more on travel, mindset, and other musings.
What is your traveling mindset? Share in comments…