As I sit here at the Delta Lounge in Atlanta (which is AWESOME by the way), it dawns on me that it’s been four months almost to the day since we returned from our epic New Zealand/Middle Earth adventure. While our trip was only two weeks long, being away from home and seeing new things (not to mention the intense breaks from reality that were our travel days there and back again), where every day’s goal was to simply live in the moment, makes re-adjusting to every day life a challenge.
How does one go from sunsets and mountains and open landscapes one day to staring a computer screen, fiddling with spreadsheets the next day? And then the next day? And then the next day… And then…
One way to do it is to make sure you love what you do. I happen to really love my job which grants me the kind of flexibility to go to places like New Zealand and Tahiti. I also enjoy the actual work but unless you’re really into VLOOKUPs and Excel formulas I’m not going to bore you with those details.
However, for a long time, I really DID NOT love what I did and used to dream of going to the kinds of places I’ve only been able to go to fairly recently. My solution to the problem was to blow up my life and start over in a way that gave me the freedom to go on adventures.
But what if that’s not possible? What if you don’t have the luxury of just “starting over” because of financial reasons or family reasons or health reasons?
In that case, the only choice is to find the adventure in your every day life.
Can’t go away for two weeks? Pack up the car and drive somewhere new. No money to explore Paris or Rome? Find the nearest city to where you live and explore locally. Stuck on a business trip in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do? Ask the locals what the most beautiful local site is, take an extra half day and GO THERE. One of my coolest places I ever visited was Muir Woods, which was just an hour or so drive out of San Francisco, where I had gone for a conference for work.
Having said that, nothing Ariel and I have done since getting back has quite matched the adventure and freedom of life on the road in a strange country, without a care but where we would sleep for the night. But we’ve found other ways to make the mundane everyday into something else.
For example, in April, we adopted a dog!
His name? Sammy. Or Samwise Gamgee The Brave The Dog Kapoano to be more precise. Naturally.
And let me tell you something – he has been quite the adventure. He’s great, but he’s sure not all pony rides in May-sunshine.
Having a dog complicates matters for us in terms of our next adventure. While we can certainly bring him with us on weekend trips, we are limited by places that allow pets. Furthermore, bringing him with us on true extended travel like we had in New Zealand is just not realistic. So we will have to adjust – but we knew this ahead of time. Sammy is just one of several reasons we went all in on the New Zealand trip.
So you adjust. Tend to your home. Start a garden. Reflect on past travel. Look forward to the next adventure, even if it may not come for years. And you never, ever, lament the circumstances that have led to your reduced freedom. Instead you remind yourself that you always have choices.
Your most important choice? What to do with the time you are given.
As our lives become a bit more sedentary, look to this blog to delve more deeply into past adventures that Ariel and I have been on together or separately so you can relive our triumphs and learn from our mistakes.