Travel allows us the wonderful opportunity to experience different cultures and meet new people. When we visit foreign lands we are often overwhelmed with great energy and stare in awe at the amazing things we see. Often our enthusiasm and enjoyment is due to the fact we have left our responsibilities behind for a while, allowing us to relax and unwind. But it is also because we are confronted with things we have not seen or experienced before; everything is new and fresh.
So how do we retain the same enthusiasm for our home, when we return? How do we adopt a way to see the beauty surrounding us, if we don’t have the chance or the financial means to holiday elsewhere?
Many travellers often say they feel down and lazy when returning home after a long sojourn. The catapult back into reality becomes a shock they are totally unprepared for. The rigmarole of life as they know it starts up again and they’re expected to adjust and easily slot back into their role. However, this is much easier said than done, especially if you’ve spent the last two weeks gazing up at colossal architecture and grand historical monuments. Perhaps it takes a period of re-adjustment; but how long does it take? One week? One month? What can we do to think differently about our lives and in doing so, affect the way we see things?
It begins and ends with gratitude. People who travel extensively, in order to escape a self imposed rut, on return they could remind themselves on a daily basis how fortunate they are to have had the experience of travel. Acknowledgment, gratitude, awareness, and appreciation go a long way when the goal is to move forward. If you are stuck in the past, even if the past is pleasant, you are unable to move forward and precious time is forfeited; your energy is stuck when you’re obsessively looking back and pining for what was, rather than channelling it into the present where it can be of better use.
For people who are not fortunate enough to travel to exotic lands, there must be another way of experiencing the same reverence and appreciation for our surroundings. It begins with learning to notice the little things we take for granted everyday. There are countless things in our immediate environment we lose sight of on a daily basis. We are so conditioned by the presence of certain things we have forgotten to really ‘see’ them. We look, but we don’t see.
For example, many people live by the beach, yet rarely visit it and are surprised when others say how lucky they are to live in such close proximity to the ocean. It may have been the deciding factor in their purchase of their home, and maybe they used to visit the beach all the time in the past, but now, they take it for granted. The attitude is: it’s always there. Most of us are guilty of thinking this way; we assume things, people, places and time will always be available to us, so we take them or it for granted.
Perhaps it boils down to our perception and thoughts. If we are constantly thinking about the beauty of other places, or other things, how can we see the beauty that exists around us, right now? It really doesn’t matter whether we physically travel or not, it matters how we perceive things in our minds. How we think about things matters the most because if we have convinced ourselves there is no beauty in the everyday, no beauty in our common environment, no beauty in the things and people we take for granted all the time, then we remain closed to the life that is unfolding now, in the present.
The joy of travel is one that cannot be sufficiently expressed in words, however the lessons it teaches us are manifold. Travel can open us to the beauty in the world and on returning, it can help us appreciate our home. Even for those who do not travel, there are many benefits to developing a deep appreciation for home; awareness of the beauty all around can, indeed, lead to a happier you.