I have an addiction. To travel.
Admitting it is the first step right? My travel addiction though is one that I don’t need or want to cure. It is, however, an addiction that needs to be managed, and balanced, with mindfulness to my wife, my dogs, my family and friends.
I know all you wanderlusters out there know the feeling. You, like me, can’t sit still. All the beautiful, fortunate, amazing things that surround you can’t suppress that feeling that if you’re not literally going somewhere and moving forward, you’re not moving at all.
When you’re stuck some place, in some job, in some rut, it doesn’t matter how much you can buy or how much you have. Those things will not, in the long-term, fulfill your desire to be somewhere else, doing something else.
One of my favorite authors, Chris Guillebeau, said in a post titled, The Best Place To Be Is Somewhere Else —
“Secretly you’re like a junkie, thinking ahead to the next hit. There’s always somewhere else to go and another way to get there. You can live in the moment, but that moment exists in another place. And you have to get there!”
Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, a husband or wife, a father, a grandmother, a daughter or a son, you have responsibilities. Familial ties or even career related reasons that keep us grounded and reluctantly seeking stability for the betterment of these aspects of our lives.
How can we balance this with a burning desire to leave and learn, to have adventures, open our minds and hearts, and explore?
We have to understand that roots, are not ruts. This took me a while to learn.
The Difference Between Roots and Ruts
It sucks to be in a rut.
To feel stuck, unfulfilled, and unmotivated by your surroundings is literally the worst. It weighs heavy on every aspect of your life. Your work suffers, your relationships suffer, you suffer.
And this is a big BUT that many of us wanderers need to hear…
It is possible to put down roots without putting yourself in a rut.
Roots are your home. Roots are your friends and family. The place that when you’re stuck sleeping in a chair on a 13-hour layover in Guatemala, or sleeping in a tent above 20,000-feet half a world away, that you dream about going back to. And roots are good to have.
The way we wanderlusting travel junkies can deal with putting down roots while remaining happy is to turn our focus to the horizon.
That can be hard when we’re wired to live in the moment, take life a step at a time, and roll with what comes around the corner! But planning really becomes the key to happiness when you have a place, other than the road, that you call home.
So here’s the trick. One simple rule:
I don’t ever let a trip end without having another trip planned.
Stop thinking in vacation terms and start thinking in travel terms. Frequent, micro-adventures, instead of one summer holiday.
When you literally have a set date on the calendar that you know you’ll be off on the road again seeing and experiencing a new place, it’s easier to just be happy with everything else going on around you.
But it has to be frequent enough to satisfy the addiction and suppress the feelings of stagnation and discontent. I try to plan a trip every month. A long weekend, or even an overnight will do, just something, somewhere, that’s new.
When you always have an intermittent getaway on the books to look forward to, the time spent at home, with your roots, is that much sweeter.
And that’s how, at least I, balance the desire to forever up and go, with the stability of family life.
That is how I don’t let having roots, put me in a rut. Because there will always be some new adventure to look forward to!