A few weeks ago it became clear that, financially, I would not be able to travel this coming Spring/Summer. This left me with much sadness and an itch I haven’t been able to ignore. You know, the travel itch? The feeling of wanting to leave your valley or city or known patterns and shoot out into the freshness of the wide world? Yes, that itch.
All of this got me thinking. What is it that I love about traveling?
-Meeting new people
-Experiencing new places and cultures
-Being out of my normal routine
-Feeling in “the flow”. It’s a place where resistance is minimal and adventure is always around the corner.
Ultimately, what I love is how I feel when I travel. I still get stressed, but it doesn’t sit on me like a fog. Instead it blows through. I mean how can I be stressed when an old Irish man is speaking to me in almost unintelligible English and laughing at my American seriousness? Or when a wild haired immigrant in Sweden tells me I have an open heart while driving an open-aired city vehicle?
I’ve been figuring for awhile now that it’s possible to be in “the flow” while being at home, going to work, and living day to day life. And it seems to me that staying home this summer is a perfect opportunity to practice the gift of traveling in my very own backyard.
Last weekend I woke up slightly depressed. Instead of sinking into it I did something different. I said over and over to myself that adventure, love, and magic were coming to me all the time and all I had to do was pay attention and let it happen. The following ensued:
-I went to get coffee at Starbucks. It took forever to make it through the drive-through. Pain in the ass, right? Wrong – I got a free coffee. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been through there, that’s never happened.
-Breakfast at Grand Central Bakery. Placed my order and 10 minutes later got called up. No more biscuits, have to wait another 10 minutes, is that okay and would you like a pastry while you wait? Why yes, I would!
-Rhythm Festival Seattle. Doun Doun Drumming class followed by a Samba Reggae dance class with live drummers = grinning ear to ear for at least an hour afterwards.
-Movie at $3 theater in Shoreline with friends. Here I discovered that across the street is a very kind Puerto Rican man who works at the 711. He was playing fun Latin grooves over the loudspeaker in the store as well as through outside speakers thereby broadcasting music into the streets. Speaking with him reminded me of how friendly the majority of people are outside of America. I encountered that all the time while traveling and it doesn’t happen often in the US.
These may seem like small things to you, and perhaps they are, but put together, all in one day, reminded me of what it is like to travel. And this made me incredibly happy. While I know that I’ll travel soon (plans for Brazil in January and Europe next Spring) I’ve decided that there’s no need to pine while staying home. I’ll travel here!
Here’s my plan: To rediscover my own hometown area. I’ve got a good start. A friend of mine shared a secret but not so secret walking place that I love. I’ve been going to Jazz Jams in Seattle at a Brazilian bar called Paratii. I borrowed an accordion from a local farmer and ended up having drinks and dinner with them afterwards. Little adventures, everyday, fill my heart. They also help me perceive my hometown differently, with fresh eyes, with the eyes of a traveler.
Any suggestions for fun things to do where I live? Has anyone else done this before? Share your thoughts below!