One way or another the road always leads me to the airport. That girl with a laptop in the corner looking like she’ll destroy the keyboard any second is me. That big Starbucks latte I’m sipping is my calming ritual before or after my flight and it helps me work because I do work…all the time. But this is the life I choose. And this is the life I love.
If you’re anything like me then you also don’t know how to be still. Motion runs in your veins and you always feel like you can do more. Go bigger, go further, go faster. It’s easy to cut sleep hours and push your limits and you’re good at it. So good in fact, you can’t even feel being sucked into your own little universe, where you’re so so focused on your work, the days begin to blend and ideas repeat themselves.
When you notice this happening, it’s time to shake that little bubble of yours. Make it pop and fall on your ‘toushie’. Remember, you can’t yell ‘touche’ with a blunt sword, so the more you work, the more you should travel. And not the woods behind your house or the next town. Go somewhere that will make you wonder. Somewhere that will shock you maybe. Somewhere that will make you feel things.
1. Go because it will make you feel alive
It’s not easy opening up to a new experience. We worry about things and all these feelings of unrest tend to clamp together day after day. They get heavier and heavier, sometimes almost impossible to shake off. But at one point when you travel around, the fog will lift. Maybe not the 1st day or the 1st week, but it will.
For me, it was the 10th day while exploring Cuba and it took me completely by surprise. It was on a little balcony in Santiago, where Elio was determined to teach me some Salsa moves. That rush of freedom I felt, that pure joy of being alive; that’s the true magic in this world. Chase it every chance you get. Don’t be afraid to be a little kid again. Get the dirt on your clothes and bruises on your knees. Instead of taking the energy from you; the cities, the people, the moments; they will fill you up with it. And trust me, you’ll never know how drained you are until that mini explosion of energy sets off in your body and you don’t know what to do with it. So you laugh. Over and over again.
2. Go because it will help you get perspective
We like to use a magnifying glass when observing our own problems and forget that they look huge just because we look at them that way. Take a step back…or a thousand. Situations tend to look different when there is a whole ocean in between. Try a different approach instead of obsessing about it 24/7. Push it out of the system until you’re ready to deal with it. You’d be surprised how many times I have thought of solutions while being 35.000 feet in the air or on a boat simply watching the waves hit the shore. Angles, distance, altitude. They are everything.
3. Go because it will encourage you to stay humble
If you are reading this right now you’re lucky. It means you have a wi-fi and an electronic device to read it from. You’ve probably washed with hot water today and ate a delicious meal. Not everybody is that lucky, so don’t forget to be thankful for what you have. In Santiago, I went to buy milk for a single dad with a little baby whose mom had left.
It cost me as much as one cup of cappuccino back home, but I’ve never seen a man so happy in my entire life. I know I can’t save the world that way, but I did make somebody’s world a little bit better that evening. It’s a privilege to be able to dream big, so don’t waste it. A lot of people have so little in their life, but so much passion to live it. Cubans are one of the warmest people I have ever met. So talk with strangers, make them smile, learn a thing or two and remember to count your blessings.
4. Go because you will grow as a person
We’re not all living in the same place, but we’re all surrounded by its people, opinions, and situations. They have a certain effect on the way we think and sometimes that holds us back when making certain decisions. Don’t hesitate because of others, just trust your step. If you stop in the middle of the way you also stop growing as a person.
Our brains are wired to protect us, so any unfamiliar territory can make us back out. It’s easier that way, but challenge yourself to continue into the unknown. You won’t regret it. The world is a big place and you can learn a lot from it, just not from your couch.
5. Go just because you can
Sometimes you need to be alone. You need to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself who you are and where do you want to go. Close your eyes. Take a breath. Still your thoughts. Now picture every single material thing be taken away from you. What are you left with?