I suspect we’re all similar in that we have a significantly different frame of mind while travelling than we do while at home. Life on the road takes on a semi-charmed luster that makes anything and everything just that much better. For example, kids laughing in a park in a foreign city are adorable. A charming testament to the sweetness of youth and innocence. Kids in your hometown park are shrieking cretins. And where are their parents? There could be broken glass or snakes in that sandbox, ugh!
Recently, I spent a week in Barcelona. And it was most certainly a charmed week. Everything was fantastic! I did something different during this trip though. I took the time to try and identify the line between home and holiday. I tried to teach myself to see the glamour, and most importantly, perhaps to bring it home with me. I know this is starting to stink of introspective feelings and junk, but I assure you it probably isn’t.
I find after a trip I experience an adjustment period where I chase after the optimistic, energetic Shawn that had so many revelations just a few days before. We all do it, don’t we? As you sit in that idyllic cafe on your holiday you can see so clearly just how to be a better person. The path to happiness is all but laid out before you. So simple! Why isn’t it simple when we’re at home though? Much the same pattern as how we’re all brilliant conversationalists in our minds as we shower, but when the real time comes we just fart and blame the dog. So this time around I made extra effort to try and find the source of the ideas, the inspirations, and the heightened optimism of being on holiday.
What I found is that with a little bit of voluntary mind games, it’s not that hard to find that idealized frame of mind again. Even though we’re well aware it’s just an illusion, we’re at the mercy of our moods. So I took a lesson from exercise motivators. They say that you should take a moment aside and focus on that positive glow you feel after you exercise. Trap in your mind how that feels. That way it’ll be in your memory as a motivator when the time comes to exercise again.
While in Barcelona, I took a few moments aside here and there and focused on how I was feeling, and more importantly how I was thinking. The weightless feeling on my shoulders, the happy energy, and the lack of tension in my jaw. I looked at how little things around me were charming. A cute dog out for a walk, or a nicely flowering tree. All things I see at home, but I focused on how vacation mode cast them in an almost beatific light. I learned that I could bring myself back to that happy vacation place by focusing on those remembered moods and observations.
This isn’t inward peace finding yourself crap. The point of doing this is simply to try and cash in on that super-motivated and optimistic vacation self. I have yet to meet a traveler who doesn’t end up chatting about all the great things they’re going to do when they get home. So my advice after all this rambling is to use that exercise motivation idea the next time you’re on holiday. Take some moments aside while on vacation and work to remember why life is so great in that moment. Then when you’re back at home being a loser again, dredge up that great moment and use it to kick some ass.