Take a break. Not a crazy, quit your job, tell your boss off, break. No, a real, planned break that takes you on an adventure for a year. Yup, a whole year away to find the real you. I don’t think its a coincidence that many people hit their 30’s and wonder if they’re moving in the right direction. We’re super plugged in with social media. We see updates about our friends, know where they are with Geo-location and plan parties for when they return with a myriad of messaging apps. Yet, so many of us still feel alone and disconnected.
If saving to take a year off is unreasonable and you don’t have a partner in crime to help you, then make it a smaller break. Just make it a break that’s worthwhile. So no two week breaks! Two weeks is just barely enough time to start being comfortable with yourself. I’ve always found that the best cost saving measures are the ones that open me up to the most life affirming experiences.
Share your load
Easily one of the best ways to cut travel expenses is to share accommodations with someone. Multiple people if need be. I love AirBnB for this very reason. I’m always finding new hosts, who have built in networks readily accessible to me. I’ve made friends and have these great memories that really cheer me up when I’m in a lull back home. Walking the streets on a quiet Sunday in Helsinki, getting completely lost and sitting by the sea, staring out into nothing for hours. Yes, I was cold and hungry by the time I figured out how to get home, but I was also completely calm. What would have normally been panic to me was replaced with a sense of accomplishment. For what, I’m not sure, but I loved that feeling anyway.
Try something that makes you uncomfortable
This is the hardest thing for me. It’s not that I think I’ll try something and immediately fall in love with it. Most times, that doesn’t happen. I try it and realize that I really don’t like it. However, I now have the experience to back up my statements. It’s a confidence building measure – to do something and fail and get up and keep moving forward. I’m planning another trip, this time with my parents next where we’ll be overseas for a bit and of course, those two want to go cycling. They are quite fit and cycling is a passion for them. So, will I give cycling another try? Well, if I followed my own advice I would. This trip will be during Spring, when cycling should be much easier through Paris than it was in winter. Also, there will be tons of people on the streets of Paris, cycling for the Spring Classics. Cycling isn’t comfortable, but I want to keep pushing the boundaries of what I can do. Each attempt builds my confidence for bigger and better projects. One day, I might even surprise myself.
Leave a little bit up to chance
I’m a planner. I’m the one who organizes, figures out all the details and has all the answers. So it’s no wonder that when it comes to big trips – I rarely leave a detail to chance. BUT…and this is a big but…even I have had to concede that some of my favorite moments have been those that happened by chance. Now, I don’t mean leave everything to chance and just fly by the seat of your pants. Some people can do this and I envy them for it. Still, if you’re like me and need a plan, leaving a little uncertainty in your day can make for a wonderful adventure. So plan your day and leave the afternoon free to explore. Free to get lost (one of the things I’m an expert at!) and free to find adventure. I didn’t always like what I found, but I always appreciated the experience.
Finding the real me, meant that when I returned, I came back a more confident and controlled version of myself. Someone who could go with the flow much more easily. I still have hangs up that I want to get over, but that’s why I’m planning another trip! I grow and change and I constantly find myself surprised at the ways I react and deal with these moving elements. I hope I keep being surprised and that my journey never ends. It’s the only way I can find real happiness.