As part of my 30 Day Challenge, I’m using the time to reflect on the past few years since I left for Canada in 2015. Like most, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. It got me thinking about the dark side of travel. There’s this notion that travel is the cure for everything. That it can turn your whole world upside down (and of course, it can).
The biggest misconception is that travel will make you happy. It may make you feel happier in the short term, but it won’t be – and shouldn’t be – used as the fix for your problems.
I read an article that referred to the mind as ‘The Box of Daily Experience’ – the boundaries in which we live our lives. So, we carry out our mundane daily routine of ‘eat, sleep, work, repeat’ until one day we throw ‘save $$ for travel’ into the mix. We become too wrapped up in living for the future that we forget to live in the now.
“We tend to grossly overestimate the pleasure brought forth by new experiences and underestimate the power of finding meaning in current ones. While travel is a fantastic way to gain insight into unfamiliar cultures and illuminating ways of life, it is not a cure for discontentment of the mind.”
The author has hit the nail on the head there.
And as Socrates put it:
Why are you surprised that travel does you no good when you travel in your own company? The thing that weighs on your mind is the same as the thing that drove you from home.
It makes sense. The grass isn’t always greener. It can be really brown and crap, actually. Especially when the Garden of Eden you’re fantasising about is just that. A fantasy. Something you make up in your mind based on a series of unconscious patterns and decisions (and heavily filtered Instagram photos).
So the next time you daydream of running away to become a digital nomad, take a breather to be grateful for the life you have already. Sort out the shit in your mind first, and you’ll thank yourself later.
“Instead of viewing this box as a problem to escape, we have to realize that it is indeed the only thing that we can truly hold onto.”