This post is inspired by Alain de Botton and his quote, “Travel agents would be wiser to ask us what we hope to change about our lives rather than simply where we wish to go.”
As I read those words in his book “A Week at the Airport” suddenly many of the journeys taken made sense. The journeys often reflect how we may be feeling inside, what we would want to change about ourselves, or what we are craving for outside of our daily routines. I realized how much more profound the process of choosing where you go is an inward reflection.
It’s more than where you go.
The time(s) I’ve gone to NYC. I needed inspiration. I wanted to reset myself. When I feel confused about the direction I am headed, suddenly NYC comes to mind. Winding through the streets, staying out late, taking the subway, jumping in the MOMA, having a coffee at the Marlton, all of this helps me find a sense of direction. There’s something about getting lost in a big city that helps me find my way.
The time I went to Nicaragua as a solo traveler with a group of people I didn’t know. It was a time where I felt alone in the work I do, and wanted to be with other travelers who had the same passion as me. I had many insecurities about my work, and was thirsting for a sense of connection. That one week in Nicaragua spring boarded my confidence in pursuing the blog. Many friendships were formed, and they continue to inspire me in my day to day work.
The time I needed a serious reality check. I almost avoided Vietnam in total, but deep down I knew the need for something as culturally shocking as Hanoi (three days, sleeping 2 nights in a shared train car, and eating the craziest food) I wanted (needed) to be more grounded.
The time I went to France by myself. Being part French is wildly confusing. I often don’t feel connected with American culture. At the same time I’m not entirely French, with very American tendencies. I wanted to know more about who I am and desired to find the roots of my intertwined heritage. Two weeks in France, visiting friends and family, put together pieces of who I am at the core, helping me embrace even more of my “French side.”
As I look back though these few examples, there was so much I wanted to change about myself in those moments. I didn’t realize that often where I went was a reflection of an inward struggle I was longing to resolve.
For the next destination I pick, I’ll be sure to ask not “Where do I want to go?” but, “What do I want to change about my life?”