This is why I believe travel doesn’t solve all of your problems.
To give you a little background, I had a friend who owned and operated her own business, and we both had very similar work ethics. We work hard, then work harder, and play hard when we were so worn out we could barely stand.
In the precious moments, we were able to hang out and spend time together, our conversations were always about being so busy.
Friend – “How are you doing Glenda?”
Glenda – “Busy.”
Friend – “How are you feeling Glenda?”
Glenda – “Busy.”
Friend – “What have you been up to Glenda?”
Glenda – *pause to search for anything interesting to say* “I have been so busy.”
Does this sound familiar?
Internally, I wanted to run away. Run away to cabin in the woods or a deserted island, where I don’t have cell phone reception or wifi, and I don’t have to talk to people. You know those memes that say “will you take a million dollars to live in a cabin in the woods without wifi?” Uh, yes! Sign me up!
All I wanted to do was flee …from my life. Which wasn’t bad now looking back, I was just focusing on all of the negative aspects.
Now fleeing wasn’t possible; we had a home, family, job, commitments, the works, so there was no way I could actually live in a quiet cabin in the woods. So what did I do? I fled from my reality in other ways. I would drink 3-4 drinks a night to get that “buzz” going. Around 4-5 pm, my mouth would salivate to have that first drink. I would binge watch hours of tv, especially of rich and famous reality people, hoping my life could look as easy and glamorous as theirs. I would wear stuffy work clothes so I would look like other “professionals” around me. I would eat unhealthy foods that tasted great but only for a few bites because let’s face it. I rarely focused on enjoying my food while I ate it. I’d feel so guilty about binging on a carton of ice cream or a whole package of Reese’s Pieces peanut butter cups. I’d throw it up out of guilt. This became a vicious cycle of binging then feeling guilt. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know how to stop.
So vacations were naturally a way to get the f-outta of there, or at least that is what I thought. Don’t get me wrong; I love to travel and am a HUGE advocate of it. However, I am talking about deeper issues than just sitting under a cabana being served drinks in a coconut shell and feeling a buzzed relax. Travel is wonderful for many reasons since it can be such a great exposure to other cultures and people. But the reason I believe travel can be so effective for people is that it is an escape from the life and routine they have created back at home. The operative phrase being “the life and routine they have created.” What I want you to focus on is this life you have created, can be recreated by the one and only you who created it!
Our culture has taught us to constantly look outwards to find answers. How to fix a leaky faucet? Google it. Who the hell am I? Take this, cat personality quiz. Feeling blue? It’s Millertime. Although I am a huge advocate of traveling, it’s not going to solve your answers when it comes to finding who you are and inner peace. It may contribute to realizations about yourself and the world around you, but it won’t give you all of the answers. Because when you travel, you are still carrying you, the same you who is exhausted, exacerbated, and edgy about small benign things like socks sitting beside the laundry. Yes, you are so on edge, that finding the socks makes you blow up at the next thing that isn’t going your way. I believe when we are trying to find ourselves, we are just trying to find more peace, happiness, and contentment, even if you aren’t saying those words out loud. We all want to find that glimmer of an “easy life” instead of the anxiety and stress you are going through now.
“Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.” Credit to it’s rightful author
I believe everybody can experience a sense of peace within themselves so beautiful, so magical; you’ll realize why haven’t I done this sooner? Also, this isn’t totally woo-woo stuff; this is common sense psychology. Finding inner peace doesn’t mean you have to dance around a big bonfire wearing nothing but seeds and a loincloth. Inner peace is being satisfied with this moment, not tomorrow or yesterday. Destination addiction is something our culture thrives on – tomorrow will be better, if I can make it to Friday, I can’t wait for fall and pumpkin spice flavored toothpicks (really?), if I just loose this weight.
I believe true freedom is uncovering the onion layers of the negative thoughts, beliefs, and actions we created ourselves to continually look outside of ourselves or the distractions as you may hear me use a lot. We have the power to recreate our stories and not walking around like a headless zombie working, consuming, and finally, one day realizing your whole life is behind you, and it’s too late to do the things you want to do.
I believe awareness is the first step in finding that inner peace. Awareness is becoming more intune with your actions, your words, your environment, and asking the simple question of why.
Why do I do this?
Why do I think this?
Why do I say this?
Why do I put myself through this?
Why did I say yes to that?
Why did I buy this?
Why did I call this person?
This journey to finding inner peace is a lifelong experience. Mindfulness isn’t something you will attain in one week; it takes time and effort. Oh, so much effort to break those old thinking patterns! I like starting with simple, achievable goals like making it a point in a day to find one thought, pause and question it with why. Just one thought, that’s it. You’ll see that starting with one thought is harder than it sounds because we are all so programmed to go, go, go. I remember when I first started doing this, I would completely forget about it, so I had to make post-it notes with “be mindful” around my RV (home). Even though I have been practicing mindfulness for several years now, it is something I have to work on every single day. I find when I do work on it, my mind is clearer, my days are more memorable, and I feel calm instead of rushing to get to the weekend.
So my challenge for you to get started is in your day to day life when you feel angry or sad, take a mental step back, and asking yourself why.
Let me know in the comments what popped up from asking yourself why. We can look at it together and see if we can find some thought patterns to begin getting rid of.
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