There are so many places I want to visit and see in the world, it’s overwhelming at times and deciding where to go feels like I’m choosing a favorite child when I love them all. I dream of traveling to Nepal and hiking the Himalayas while studying Buddhism with local monks. I dream of spending long periods of time in another country, engrossing myself with their beliefs and customs. I dream of backpacking throughout Europe with no destination in mind. My mind is constantly imagining of the places and things that I can see and be doing, something I have learned to control for my own sanity.
Mike, my boyfriend, and I decided on the ultimate RV road trip across America. We rented an RV and drove 3,500+ miles round trip to the wild west, where men wear cowboy hats and dance better than their lady, no joke, North Dakota, best dancers, hands down. To Yellowstone, WY, where Bison freely walk in your campsite and temperatures rise to a comfortable sunny 60 degrees and drop to a brutal 28 degrees with snow and hail. Camping, hiking, and driving was on the agenda and sometimes not knowing where we were going to sleep the next day.
I never imaged that I would actually get used to seeing bison on the side of the road or the expansive views of the Tetons, enormous canyons and endless hills of grass and trees, but I did. It’s sad and crazy how quick you can get used to something in just 1 day and already dreaming about the next. Something that was once a dream and people fly all over the world to see, so easily forgotten. The idea was to hike miles a day, camp in the wild under the stars and snuggle at night. Instead, camping with no electricity, heat running out in 28 degree weather, and hiking in a hail storm was the reality. The herd of people speaking in all different languages and the background hum of generators left me dreaming of sitting in my own backyard in my warm hot tub . The chaos of trying to see everything, find a place to stay and maneuver around the herds of gawkers and bison took a tole on us. We both secretly wanted the comfort of our own bed and a nice dinner.
It wasn’t until we were on the road again, driving to our next destination, when we felt relief. To be back in the passenger seat, reading the map, stopping for quick pics and anxiously awaiting to see what lies beyond each bend felt right. It’s then that the phrase, “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” something we kept telling ourselves, held its truth. The excitement of going to the next destination and not knowing what to expect is what we fell in love with, never really settling in any place.
This however was a blessing but a challenge. A part of me battled with feeling bad about leaving each stop, in fear of missing something and being present, not worrying and letting go. I practice and study mediation and yoga on a daily basis. Bringing mindfulness and being present is a daily practice I work on, some days come more natural than others. I have to say, it’s been a challenge finding the moment, without knowing where I will be the next day. I had always thought of myself as a wanderer and traveler, but the truth is, I like my routine. My routine grounds me and reminds me of the person I want to be, who I am and what I want. Without it, I feel lost, searching for my purpose and forgetting everything I live for. I realize how important and challenging it is to find that routine while never really being settled in one place. To not worry where you will be sleeping or what you will be doing while you are on a once in a lifetime trip is something I struggled with. I wonder, at what point in my life did I start worrying and planning for tomorrow? It makes me ask myself, how can I live in the moment when I am constantly on the move?
3 ways to stay present while traveling:
- Find a Routine. Routine allows yourself to feel purpose while being mindful. For me, when I feel lost and with out purpose, my mind starts racing and anxiety sets in. Routine provides a daily purpose, it could be to get up, make the bed, feed the dog, brush teeth…relax. Those little accomplishments each day may be all it takes for you to feel purposefully, confident and allow yourself to relax and be present.
- Be Active. Relaxing all day every day sounds easier said than done, we need to release energy as a living being. Being active is the easiest way to release energy that has been storing all day as we eat and relax, that energy can settle in the mind, triggering anxiety and worry. Releasing that energy is another way to feel good and allow yourself to enjoy the moment.
- Give Yourself Space. Giving yourself alone time is a sure way to reconnect with yourself. Annoyance and frustration can easily creep when your with the same people on vacation. Be sure to give yourself space to control your emotions and possibly remove yourself from other peoples energy. Being with another person for extended periods of time can warp your perspective and emotions. Taking a light walk or sitting alone and reading are simple ways to reconnect with your own emotions and desires, allowing yourself to feel inspired and passionate for life again.