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Travel Lessons

What I learned from 2 weeks traveling


We (the four of us) just got back from 11 days back East for family reunion/vacation time, followed by 3 days camping near Mt. Rainier. I learned a couple of things along the way:

It's fun

  • Traveling is fun. Going new places and having adventures is fun. Being with my family is fun. Living life and laughing is fun. Even dealing with the stress of traveling is (kinda) fun.

It's tiring

  • Being away from home, and outside of your comfort zone is tiring. Being on airplanes and in cars for hours at a time is tiring. If we're going to be tired after 12 days away from home, what's it going to feel like after 12 months?

It takes energy

  • It takes energy to remain calm, to not stress over the inevitable bumps in the road, to remain in the moment and just...enjoy it. But it's a good sort of energy to expend.

It's easy to pack too little / too much

  • I ended up with more socks than I needed, but no deodorant. I think the kids mentioned at least 5 times that they wish they had brought something (usually something that we had reminded them to bring as we were packing, but either didn't make it into the bag, or they decided they didn't really need it). Anne is further ahead than the rest of us with "test-driving" travel clothes that she wants to bring on the trip (Ex Officio and Patagonia seem to be leading the pack), but I'm still throwing jeans and cotton socks into my bag...

It costs money

  • Traveling (especially traveling on vacation) puts us into the "sure why not - we're on vacation" spending mode. If we're going to survive a year on the road, we're going to have to be as cost-conscious (if not more so) than we are in our "normal" lives now.

Less is more

  • Making a conscious effort to focus ourselves on the moment, to limit what we think we need to do / where we think we need to go, will help us really enjoy where we are. Anne and I are lucky that we both share this sentiment - we are very aware of the lesson that spending more time in fewer locations will be more fulfilling than screeching through in full-on "European Vacation" mode.

Comfort (and Reliability) is King

  • It's easy to think of this in terms of your gear, but I'm extending this thought to the family as well. The more comfortable we are with each other, and the more that we feel that we can rely on each other (especially in times of stress), the higher probability that we're going to survive the trip without killing each other...

Framework and Flexibility

  • Knowing where / what we want to go / do is important, and having a framework itinerary is key to making this happen. The flipside is that we want to retain some flexibility to embrace the unknown, and go along on the adventures / opportunities that will present themselves during the trip. This is the piece that is both the scariest, and the most appealing to me.

It's fun

  • Because really, that's what it's all about. We're doing this now because we want to do it, not because we have to. As long as we keep reminding ourselves that "this is fun", it will be.

Now you tell me - what are some of the lessons that you've learned from traveling? How do you deal with being outside your comfort zone (or how do you create a comfort zone on the road)?

Posted by noahv 22:29 Archived in USA Tagged thoughts

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