“We travel not to escape life, but so that life doesn’t escape us.” – Unknown
In August of 2022, our family (two adults & two teenage children) embarked on an incredible 11-month journey around the world.
The adventures we experienced and the connections we made will be memories we carry with us for many years to come. Now, as we settle back into life in Canada, we’re determined to apply some of the priceless lessons we’ve learned to our everyday life.
Here are just some of the simple yet profound ways we’re striving to maintain the spirit of travel in our day-to-day:
1.Embrace the Unknown
One of the most eye-opening lessons from our travels was recognizing that there’s so much we don’t know about the world.
Just like in a foreign country, where we didn’t always understand the customs or language, we now approach our local interactions with curiosity and patience.
We’ve learned to say, “We don’t know what we don’t know,” and it has made our interactions more enriching and our perspectives more open.
Read More: Quotes to Spark Your Inner Wanderlust
2. Enjoy the Ordinary
Almost everything can seem like an adventure when you are traveling. Taking the subway seems way more fun in another country. Grocery shopping is a chance to explore local markets and stores.
Even walking down the street is an opportunity to see how others live. We’re trying to bring that same sense of wonder to our hometown.
The public transit system here will probably never bring us joy, but we are trying to turn mundane tasks like grocery shopping into an opportunity for discovery.
We’ve also started a group chat with friends titled “Delight!” where we share moments of joy from our everyday lives.
3. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
Our attempts at packing lightly for our journey taught us a valuable lesson about simplifying our lives. It became apparent very early in our trip that WE DON’T NEED SO MUCH STUFF!
We’ve carried this mindset home by decluttering our closets and purging unnecessary items from our home.
By owning less, we’ve found more time and space for what truly matters. The freedom that comes with less stuff has allowed us to focus on our relationships and experiences: much like the freedom we felt while traveling.
4. Set Realistic Standards
Traveling brought a fresh perspective to our expectations. Throughout our trip, we’ve stayed in AirBnBs, hostels, apartments and homestays.
We were tempted by some Instagram worthy accommodations, but budget was a factor for us as we traveled. And we found that “clean enough” and safety became our first priorities.
We’ve applied this lesson to our daily lives by adopting a more relaxed attitude about how things look.
We’ve let go of striving for an immaculate home or gourmet meals every night. This shift has freed up time and money for us to connect with each other and explore new activities.
5. Connect with Strangers
Our encounters with strangers during our travels enriched our journey immensely. We connected with people we might have never met in our day-to-day lives.
There was a Bedouin woman in Oman who shared how she ensured her daughters were able to attend university, a Jordanian man we met in Italy and connected with over tea, a Kenyan student we met in Istanbul and many more people we spent time with and learned from.
As we’ve settled back home, we’re determined to keep meeting and connecting with new people whose perspectives and experiences enrich our lives!
6. Embrace Change
Navigating new cultures and environments every few weeks taught us to welcome change with an open mind. We’ve decided to name our Instagram account ‘@theplanchanged’ because we were constantly adapting our plans and activities as we circled the globe.
Fast forward to today, we consciously apply this adaptability to our home environment. We’re open to trying new things, altering our routines, and embracing unforeseen challenges.
This post was contributed by Rhea Woolgar. She’s an educator in Northern British Columbia who also loves connecting with people as a Transition Coach and Travel Coach. Check out her LinkedIn Profile to learn more about her and what she does.