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We all know how traveling to the other side of the world can improve a person’s confidence and own self-development, but what happens when we can’t always travel across the pond, or more than several miles away?
Since the pandemic hit back in March, basically turning everyone’s world upside down forcing many to reschedule, postpone, and flat out cancel pre-established plans, travel being one of them, many of us had to pivot plans, redirect action, and practice a different mindset around what was going on, and how to best make it through. Though travel isn’t necessarily the first thing one thinks about when going through a global pandemic, it was something that lingered as the months turned warm, and the sun outside became unbearably too inviting to step out more little by little. Traveling locally was thus the best option for many.
Not considering of course the devastation those who went through and/or came in close contact with the virus, being confined to our space and our corners of the world for a bit, in more than a few ways, has been an opportunity and blessing in disguise to readjust to a new way of being. A new way of life that in many ways, we called in – maybe not in the way that things have played out – however, each time we asked what it would be like to work from home, have more time to do those things we’ve always postponed in our home, cutting outside distractions and routines to be within more, and see things that our routines usually covered up pretty damn well, and more.
Personally, one of those realizations for me was traveling locally to that place I’ve always said I would go to, but somehow never went to. Be it because, for the same price, I could hop on a plane to another destination, or I just never saw that much of an attraction to go in the first place. I can always go visit _______ near me, but (enter an international city) I can’t easily go! Seem familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone on that.
So, since summer has officially ended, a typical high time for travel and being out, I wanted to share with you how in a time of staying within and staying local, I’ve come to find 3 self-realizations from traveling locally this summer. Through my traveling locally, I’ve been face to face with certain realizations, that I have a feeling I am not the only one who has experienced them. So below, let me know if you’ve experienced something similar, and let’s keep the conversation going.
Acceptance and appreciation for what’s here and now
Don’t you love how nature just encourages and moves us to go within, calms us to the point of matching the environment, and truly feeling the moment? Being in nature is meditative, as your thoughts start to settle the more you walk, hike, and look up and around you, and of course, breathe in deeply and slowly to take it in. Traveling locally for me has meant visiting nature more frequently, whether it was my local park, or a tour around Lake Michigan, which led to moments of stillness, and being awestruck by nature’s splendor.
Being in this meditative state as I visited and spent time within the nature around me, I realized that the world can be what it is, but nature and parks, and lakes, will always be a haven to quiet the mind from distractions that may be on the other side.
Back when the world shut down, it didn’t mean necessarily that the world had stopped, because it didn’t. The hours kept passing, and days turned into night then into day like always. It was just our conception of what life was always like, and then for that to suddenly shut down – basically from night to day – was what made things really difficult to comprehend, let alone know how to act right away.
But the thing is, isn’t it exhausting to try to figure out what is going to happen? We don’t have to know every single detail of what’s going to happen because in all honestly, no one knows, and if no one knows, shouldn’t we help ourselves and those around us by focusing on the best possible scenarios?
There is a saying that expresses that the world is your mirror, so whatever you feel and think on the inside, will reflect back to you, and this is important to note as we decide what to feed our minds and souls. This moment in time as I got to travel locally, I’ve realized and felt encouraged to really lean into this uncertainty and a few other things which I will be sharing down below. When it comes to circumstances outside of ourselves, what other choice do we have than doing the best we can now for ourselves and those around us? There is and will always be a high probability of something unfortunate happening, as much as something amazing happening, because I just believe that whatever we choose to focus on, we will give power to. Whatever that is.
Even in times of hardship, we can still choose to look through the lens of “this is a learning moment, I am going to be ok” or “I hate this, why do all bad things happen to me?” We get to choose. It’s not always fun or comfortable, but it gets less challenging over time.
A new outlook on travel
Speaking of hiking and traveling to local, national parks, another self-realization was the beauty of the nearby attractions, which led to a rediscovery of what travel was for me, which was always being awestruck, feeling the pure feeling of gratitude, and aliveness. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t find it near me. Before the pandemic, I was always searching for where my next adventure would be, always thinking far and wide, just what countries I would cross to see a new part of the world, or what bodies of waters I would fly over – but never what towns I would pass, or what parks I’d drive by to take in their own natural splendor. We all have access to local travel, and even if it’s a place that we’ve been to twice, there’s always another experience to take away from the same place. Going to the same place twice is like rereading a good book, and finding something new. Be it a new lesson, a new appreciation, or a sight missed in previous visits. It’s all possible, and it’s all local, nearby, and special.
The perfect opportunity to practice the right mindset to see us through
I don’t know about you, but in the constant work of trying to better ourselves, be it our mindset, behaviors, habits, and actions, it can be easy to accumulate the understanding, benefits, and how to’s of working on ourselves. But, what’s the point of all of that if we don’t practice it? Knowledge on it’s own won’t do much unless we put it to the test, and use it, right?
For me, It’s been
- Practicing patience with myself
- Pivoting my direction when I had plans I was invested in
- Knowing how to deal with the change
- Rewiring my brain not to panic immediately and instead, picking up meditation (again)
- Actively rewriting stories that no longer served me
Whether it’s working on a more positive mindset, a gratitude mindset, or a travel mindset – It’s all connected, and it’s during this time that I as well as many others were practically pushed to go within and face some of our deepest fears. One of my favorite mantras that I created during the pandemic was everything is working out for me, and the more I repeated that, especially when fear crept up, the more I started to literally rewire my brain to believe so.
What has been a realization that you’ve had this year thus far? I know we are not at the end of the year, but considering the recent events, I know we have all gathered some sort of lesson and realizations, especially now. Where have you traveled to this summer, if you chose to travel?
To more self-realization moments and local travel gems,