Be the Person You are on Vacation
You’re amazing when you’re traveling. You laugh more, worry less and even seem to figure out how to flirt. In the midst of the exotic you become a more fun, open-minded and tan version of your home self. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to stay this intrepid, free thinking form of You even when you’re back into the rut and gut of real life? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to carry on throwing caution to the wind and spontaneously dancing even once you’re back into your stuffy work suit?
Well then, do it.
It’s not the act of traveling itself that transforms you into a more relaxed and witty You. It’s not the scenery around you or the souvenirs you buy. You are your own reason for change. It’s your shift in mindset and the (lack of) pressure you put on yourself that let you smile more and laugh harder.
Of course being on vacation makes it easier to let go of stress and embrace conversations with strangers. When you’re away from work, and traffic and the daily grind it’s natural to breathe easier. But it’s possible to learn a thing or two from your happy travel alter ego that can make the everyday You a little brighter.
Let things Go
The mishaps that happen when you’re traveling are no big deal. It’s not the end of the world that the hotel overbooked and you’re stuck with a smaller room, or that it rained during your bus tour. That’s because you don’t expect everything to be perfect when you travel. Your trip is not ruined by one missed train or a stain on your clothes. Traveling is about the bigger picture, and these small details are little more than annoyances. Yet often when you return home the details of your daily life become overwhelming. You regress from your laid back travel self to a rushed and stressed You who frets endlessly over which salad dressing to buy. Things in your real life will not always go to plan. Inevitably you will run out of butter in the middle of baking a cake and you’ll get stuck in traffic when you’re already late for a meeting. But when these things happen, stop and think for a moment how the travel You would react. You can even wear a WWTYD (What Would Travel You Do?) bracelet if you want, although that seems a bit creepy.
In Guatemala you fearlessly climbed a volcano. In Hanoi you braved the hectic traffic on the smallest scooter known to man. In India you ate the bowl of curry made from what felt like boiling lava without a second thought. When you’re out of your comfort zone you tend to push yourself more to try new things and face old fears. Afterwards you laugh with pride over your newfound courage. Being brave makes you feel great. Once the trip has ended, keep on feeling proud of yourself by pushing your limits. Get out there and join a soccer team, even if you worry about how badly you’ll play. Ask for the raise you know you deserve. Take evening classes to learn more about the subjects you’re actually interested in. Be as fearless at home as you are when you travel.
Ask for Help
Being humble is almost automatic when you’re a global traveler. You find yourself in situations where you don’t know the language, don’t know where you are and keep driving on the wrong side of the road. You have to admit that you need help. You look like a tourist whether you like it or not, so it seems no big deal to ask a local for assistance. It’s this help from others that saves you from walking the wrong way, staying at dodgy hotels and feeling grumpy. When you’re at home take note of the humility of the travel You. Ask for help when you need it – from friends, family or even perfect strangers. If people from across the globe were willing to help you, surely people from your hometown are, too.
Celebrate for no Reason
When you travel you need no excuse to celebrate. You’re open to treating yourself just because. You take yourself out for dinner – even if it’s just at a street vendor – rather than cottaging away with a microwave meal. You scope out places with live music, instead of wasting away the evening in front of the TV. You get out there and do something with your time, instead of wondering where it went. Once you’re back home it’s easy to fall back into your weekly routine of coming home from work tired, eating a crappy dinner and waking up after a nondescript evening, still tired. Break the cycle and keep the momentum from your trip alive. Learn to cook at least one meal that doesn’t taste like cardboard – or find a restaurant to cook for you (it doesn’t have to be expensive). Meet up with friends, even on work nights, and spoil yourself with fun, active evenings that make you feel like you’re still on vacation.
That fun-loving, lively person you were on vacation doesn’t have to die away once you return home. Sure it’s tempting to revert to your regular old routine once you’re back, but you don’t have to. Instead you can learn how to live happier by following the lead of the travel You.