This year, I have reluctantly arrived home from two magnificent holidays. One was the end of a cross-country US/Canada adventure, the other a short mini break in another Australian city. Both were equally as thrilling as each other, and both were exactly what I needed at the time. A getaway, a fresh perspective on life, a bit of soul-searching, and some much needed time to practice the art of mindfulness, my new venture in 2016.
But of course, true mindfulness is easy to achieve when you aren’t a slave to alarms, traffic and time limits, which we don’t usually experience while on holidays (not always anyway!). It is significantly harder to practice mindfulness amongst the stresses, chaos and irritations of real life. And I have to admit, I have failed numerous times in my new regime since arriving home from my travels.
Cue: the restlessness of the twenty-something traveller.
I think of it like an addiction. You go out into the world, have these shiny, new experiences, fantastic adventures that you’ll talk about forever, and the feeling of being completely free of limits, expectations, and in some cases, your deepest inhibitions. Put this way, who wouldn’t want a life like that all the time? And in this age of instant gratification, where world travel is now more accessible than ever, this addiction, this feeling of restlessness, is even harder to shake.
I find that the more I travel, the harder it is to come back to the daily grind afterwards. And while I love my job, it’s hard sometimes not to mentally count the days until the weekend, especially in the more stressful weeks. Counting the time until those two magical days where I might be able to recreate the feeling I had while away from home… the freedom, the adventures, the peaceful mind.
‘Well she’s just bored,’ you’re probably thinking. No, this is not the case at all. One of the things I’ve realised in my pursuit of mindfulness is that simply, I’ve begun to know my own mind fairly well. My life at home is anything but boring, and the same goes for my job. I teach children music every day, so it’s hard for things to become completely monotonous, especially when you put a violin into eight-year-old hands. I’ll let you imagine that scenario yourself. However, if given the choice between going to work and jetting off to an exotic European location, what kind of sadist wouldn’t pick the latter? You’re on this blog, so I assume you’re on the same page as me. As I have found recently, being bored with life and craving adventure are two completely different parallels.
I could just move to another city. But I’ve also realised the daily grind will exist in some way or another, wherever I choose to go. We can’t all coast along, pretending we have more money in our bank accounts than we do… we have to make a living somehow, and these adventures need to be funded.
But if we flip this thing around, and if I became a professional traveller, would I be happier? Less angsty about being at home, being stuck in that traffic, making an honest living? Maybe for a little while… But perhaps that’s what makes it so special. Sure, there always will be birthdays, parties, weddings, dates with friends, more weekends, and relaxing days… But travelling is the one thing I can look forward to indefinitely. Because we can continue travelling forever, and there is no retirement from that, no shortage of places to go, or experiences to be had. And that is the beauty of it all, and worth a little bit of restlessness now and then.