There is no auto-pilot in travel, there is no routine, there is nothing mindless about it.
I’ve spent the past week–for no reason and every reason–reflecting on the past 7+ months of traveling. Not only the traveling, but I am thinking back to the 6 months before I left, the decisions and actions that all led to get me where I am today.
Today is the day that it is hitting me that there is no cruise control in my life anymore.
I am blessed to be pursing my passion. I can remember back to my 9 – 5 days where I would go in and the day would fly by on auto-pilot. I would show up and finish my morning routine of checking email, weeding out the junk and responding to what was urgently marked red in my inbox. I made my second cup of coffee at this point and would be craving my typical plain oatmeal made with the hot water dispenser (I know, impressive). I’d run to our team meeting and barely arrive in time, but I would always have my oversized mug of coffee. You know how meetings are. Most days my mind would be focused, the work got done but I would always wonder, “What mark am I leaving? How am I standing out and making a difference in this job and among my colleagues or working towards improving myself?”
The past 7 months have kept me on my toes. Nothing is easy, or routine. Trying to do simple tasks in a new country with a different language is suddenly a mind-boggling game of charades. The logistics of route planning, airlines, trains and taxis is a full-time job. Seeking out activities, reviewing companies and negotiating for prices is a learning curve in itself. Attempting to eat lunch becomes a cryptic puzzle while I try to balance my hunger against the quantities of unknown foods. We research everything and are careful to come prepared with the cultural knowledge and common practices of each country in order to not offend anyone. When you move between them so quickly, it’s hard to keep it all straight. I stare at people as they talk to me in each new language and my mind strains desperately to understand just one key word in order to get a general idea of what we are talking about. My mind has been kicked out of auto and fully engaged in LIFE this entire year.
I’m not complaining, I am only pointing out how I spent years sitting at a desk working a full-time job that I got paid a salary for, but easily switched to auto-pilot. It was a routine that eliminated any use of my creative muscles and left me checking off lists without any deviation from the corporate norm.
In 7 months I have remembered how to learn. I don’t hide from new experiences or difficult activities because I am willing to put in the time to educate myself and I have the time to commit to the activities I want to be involved in. We can learn anything we put our minds to, we can start new projects and we can excel at new skills once we take ourselves out of auto-pilot.
I want you to challenge yourself to turn your mind on again. If you are bored in your current situation whether it be at work, a relationship or personal hobbies it is most likely your fault. Set a new goal, open your mind to learning and don’t shy away from life’s difficulties. Practice your creativity, memory and learning on a consistent basis so you don’t lose it!
What have you learned lately?