Some clients i’ve worked with in one-on-one coaching struggle with feeling stuck where they are while living local & feeling a strong yearning for the global. Free spirits, they see themselves thriving in the new, unfamiliar, and unexpected. But whether due to finances, family, friends, or any other reason, they have a current need to stay put and aren’t able to travel.
If you are someone who doesn’t feel like yourself when you’re not traveling, if excitement, freedom, openness, and a willingness to take risks are qualities you strongly identify with and that feel most alive on your cross-country adventures and foreign escapades, read on. If you have a fear that being in one place, settled in a home, will extinguish your sense of freedom, shut down your spirits, and make life feel stagnant and sterile, this list is for you, too!
I encourage you, like i do my clients, to drop thoughts about what being in one place means. Notice what fear-based thoughts are going through your mind and imagine who you’d be without them. (Hat-tip: Byron Katie). Try out these experiments to cultivate a sense of adventure and the spirit of travel, right at home.
1. Just Imagine…
Pretend that you are a foreign visitor who has never been to your town. Go sight-seeing or stroll the streets and look at your surroundings through the eyes of curiosity and discovery. See everything as if you have never seen any of it before. Go to your nearest visitor’s center as if you’ve just landed from outer space. Do you notice or learn anything new?
2. Get excited!
Find a park, historic home, quirky space, or museum nearby to visit and treat it as you would some famous landmark. Feel *that* excited about seeing it! Talk about it to a friend (or aloud to yourself) in the tone of voice you would use to talk about a trip to some dream destination. How does it feel to be in this sense of excitement? Where does that excitement show up in your body? Allow yourself to feel & enjoy it. Does this feel too ridiculous to take seriously? Great!! Have fun with it, laugh, and enjoy!
3. Taste the flavors…
Friends of mine who went to Thailand, Vietnam, Peru, and Mexico took cooking classes in each country to experience its authentic flavors. See if a local cooking school or meetup group offers classes in international cuisine or if there is a restaurant representing a region you’d like (or already liked) to travel to, where you can enjoy an authentic exotic meal. Or try a cookbook or online recipe.
4. New? Do!
The freshness of our experiences when in a new environment is something that can make life seem more vibrant. Do something totally out of character. Always dress in neutral tones? Don yourself in bright colors. Listen to a style of music you think you don’t like and try to find something in it that you appreciate. Sign up for a class in something you know nothing about or take up a new hobby: hip hop dance, ceramics, photography, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, aerial dance, drumming, poetry writing. Find free classes on Coursera like this or this. Sign up for a race! Volunteer at a community agency or animal sanctuary!
5. Only Connect.
Meet with fellow lovers of travel and exchange stories about your past trips and future dreams of adventure. Share photos and memories. Find someone with whom to partner for language exchange. Go to a cafe or bar and strike up a conversation with a stranger as you would when traveling in a tourist town. Read foreign literature or watch films made and produced from around the world.
6. Simplify, simplify, simplify!
One of the most freeing aspects of travel is being light…having little with us, few concerns or things for which we’re responsible for, and living well with few belongings! When i was in Central America, i went with about 5 outfits for 2 months. It was wonderfully uplifting to not worry about what to wear beyond what was clean and what the temperature was. I had only the belongings that could fit in my hiking backpack…i’d buy a used book, donate it and buy another when i wanted to read. This is an invitation to clean out your closets, let go of excess stuff, and make living as easy as possible by keeping your space and schedule clutter-free.
7. Visualize + actualize.
Recall a time in the past when you felt both stability and centered in home and, at the same time, joyful, carefree, and open. If you haven’t been able to feel these simultaneously, imagine what it would be like if you could. Connect to that memory or daydream and make it bigger in your mind and heart. Feel it in your body. Picture yourself living your day to day with that sense of freedom and joy. Know that being settled in a home does not have to squash your spirits. Trust that it is totally possible to be grounded and supported as well as free and expansive! What are some steps you can take this week to create the conditions for this play, joy, experimentation, and freedom in your life? Soak up the sensations! Create a collage, paint, or journal to capture the kind of freedom you desire in a visual form to remind you. Now, start living it!