My middle niece recently begged her dad to use all of her Christmas and birthday money to book a night at a motel. She didn't care where. She just loved the idea of staying overnight on an adventure. I laughed so hard when I heard this, because naturally my sister blames me. I basically brain-washed my first niece into wanting to travel the world. She is 6 and has a globe with all her countries picked out to visit. And, now the next niece, who was 4 at the time of her motel request, is well on her way to living a life of full blown wanderlust.
What I really love about her story is that she never asked for a flight. She didn't ask for a road trip even. And, she didn't ask for a fancy hotel. She just wanted a night out somewhere new and within the budget of her piggy bank, which for the record couldn't even afford a tent campsite. But, her strong desire to simply get out and do something different, even if for only one night, I completely identified with. And, I reflected a lot this week on her little story. My form of reflection is journaling. So, I wrote a bit about my thoughts on what adventure really looks like:
"In my insta feed and, even here, on this website, I share a lot of photos and stories from all over the place. Some times the adventure may seem grand while other moments are taken from a tent in the middle of no where. For me, it isn't about the destination per se. It is solely just about adventuring. And, that doesn't have to come in the form of somewhere crazy and extravagant. Adventure is adventure. Plain and simple. It comes in all forms.
With social media these days, it can become easy to think that we need to hop on the first flight to Antartica to feed rare, endangered whales in order to have a "true" adventure. We are a society of digital, visual comparisons, and it is all to easy to start thinking that we have to be doing what others are doing. Or that we have to have the photos that others have in order to really "travel."
I follow a lot of travel bloggers. And, even though I explore around a lot, I have moments where I fall prey to thinking: "OH! I 'need' to be doing this or that in order to find adventure, because that is how this other person finds happiness and fulfills their own wanderlust." Or "my adventures need to look like this: I need to stand in a bikini in turquoise water with a Lisa Frank backdrop and enough fruit and brunch food to feed an entire village in order to have a 'real' adventure experience."
Even I have to remind myself some times to stay true to my natural self. And, to satisfy my own sense of wanderlust in my own way without comparison to others. I have to remind myself of what I have repeatedly shared on this platform, "photos are great, but it is the moments of just doing what YOU love to do that truly change your life."
Those are the moments that can never be taken away from you. And, often enough, those are the moments that are never captured by anything other than your soul. And, those defining moments, they can happen anywhere. From a city often visited to a moment sitting by a pond in your neighborhood, the important moments of adventuring don't require passport visas and exotic destinations. Anywhere and everywhere can teach us something.
My sincere hope in sharing moments and stories from a life captivated by wanderlust has always been to show that stolen moments in new places can happen anywhere whether abroad or in your own backyard. My encouragement for those that want to start traveling more would be to always do what you can with what you have. Whether, for you, that is a flight to Thailand or an hour drive to a little motel in a small town that only has a general store like in the photo above, adventure is adventure.
So, get out of the house this weekend. Feel the sun's warmth. Swim in the water. Soak up the views. See as much as you can. Explore. Adventure. Wander. Get lost, even. Do it all. And, do it to capture a bit of wanderlust to fill up your soul and not a 1080px by 1080px square in a feed of greatest hits from your life. I reflected a lot on my little niece's story. And, I think she has the right idea. Traveling looks different for everyone, but the end goal is always the same... explore somewhere, anywhere, just as long as you change your day to day coordinates."