How I put life back into my work-life.
An unfortunate side effect of getting older — trying to coordinate vacation schedules with friends. Life’s responsibilities have thrown a wrench in the spontaneous trips that defined our post-college years and we now find ourselves settling into our everyday routines. Gone are the days when planning getaways required just a quick text. Now we seem doomed to a back-and-forth conversation about dates, locations, budget, etc… until the enthusiasm to travel fizzles away, leaving us with no plans on the extremely rare 4-day weekend.
What if we didn’t have to accept this as our reality? Vacation is not supposed to start off as a draining and overwhelming task. We have set these strict definitions of travel to be picturesque destinations, in comfortable accommodations, with our current close-knit friend circle. But why are we limiting ourselves? Let’s shake up traditional travel and discover new people. Yes — that means I want you to be uncomfortable and even a little scared; because the only way to overcome those fears is to be bold. I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised by what’s on the other side.
As a female, I grew up fearing the unknown. But eventually, I found that my curiosity to discover what was outside my little bubble of a world was speaking (more like YELLING) to me much louder than my fears. But I was feeling stuck in a rut — my friends had busy lives with their SO’s, dogs, plants, and whatnot. I couldn’t plan a trip with friends without thinking of 50+ constraints. So, with a giant leap of faith, I reached deep into my network and organized a last minute trip to Mexico with 10 other people. It wasn’t a tour group, just friends- of-friends who happened to find each other through word of mouth. Not only was I introduced to experiences I could have never come across traveling alone, but also I found myself building more meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life. I went from cheers-ing with dive instructors, to exchanging ideas with a designer, and even bonded with a beekeeper. I was pushed outside my echo-chamber, and was discovering both the culture of the place I was in and the people I was with.
If I waited around for all of my friends’ schedules and interests to align, I would not have seen the 25 countries that I have today. By expanding my travel community, I bonded with diverse individuals tied together by a common love for exploration. When my trip was complete, I gained so much more than just a stamp on my passport and new photos for my Instagram feed. I left with a refreshing new mindset that would then carry over into my everyday life, allowing me to be more adaptive, spontaneous and fulfilled. And despite what you may think, going out of office actually provided me with skills for the office. Traveling with a group of “strangers” allowed me to further develop interpersonal skills by removing my reservations and enabling me to relate to anyone, including those in the workplace I never thought would speak to!
So today, I challenge you to this — loosen your dependence on your existing network and get out there. You will not be alone. There is a world full of incredible people who you have yet to discover, and I bet you will find someone that also shares your love for tacos, excitement for bungee jumping, and prefers to start the day at 6am. Whatever it is, there’s someone out there you are destined to meet in your travels.