No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. — Lin Yutang
Lying on bed this morning, resisted reaching for my phone. Letting my mind wander instead. Started thinking.
Waking up at home vs waking up when travelling.
I don’t know about you, but when travelling I would readily jump out of bed once I woke up. While at home, I wouldn’t let myself get out of bed until all the sleepiness has dissipated (the story I tell myself: getting enough sleep is key to productivity).
At home, we wake up to a routine.
Not always, but most of the time. You go with the motion. You roll with the small chain of habits that make up your days. Nothing new. Seen this done that.
When travelling, we wake up to opportunities.
New things to look at, to play with, to see, to explore, to learn. New environment, clean slate. No pattern to default to. You create and decide on the fly.
Well if you travel with a group, perhaps some of those choices are made for you. But things are generally new and exciting.
We all know how different 5 days on the road vs 5 days at home feels.
Not one is better than the other. We really need both.
Someone who travels a lot would consider not travelling a luxury and a refreshing change.
The not travelling is part of the travelling. Both contributes to the full experience.
It’s about seeking the opposite of your normal and finding ways to inject simple “abnormalties” into it. We need the extremes to color our lives.
The good news is you can create opportunities and newness out of thin air.
We can engineer excitement, for free.
I like to think there are two types of time.
First is the quantified time. Ruled by the clocks, timezones, days, week days, month, years. These manmade concepts.
Second is the perceived time. This is relative. It’s the perceived duration of events you experience. Time goes on slow when you’re waiting. Time goes fast when you’re in flow or in focused state. Your days felt longer when you had to deal with many new events and tasks.
We all have the same 24 hours every day since the day we were born. But our perceived time seems to tick faster as we grow older. That’s because we don’t see many things we haven’t seen before.
We can thus prolong life by injecting newness into it.
The change doesn’t have to be over the top, grandiose, or intense at all. We don’t need to always launch into a big beach hopping trip, or 2 weeks retreat into the mountains. Escapades are awesome. But we can start small. Embedding tiny packs of changes into daily activities.
It doesn’t even have to be a physical change. You can simply play around and think about some things differently. Adopting a new intention going into any activity is the easiest way.
You can look at your calendar and start seeing your lunch time as an opportunity to fuel your body instead of a chewing routine you just cruise by.
You can commute earlier from home and go on a detour, or take a different mode of transport. Just make sure you pick a day without any important meetings that morning.
There are endless opportunities all around us everyday. We see but we just don’t notice them anymore.
Like the post it notes, the fridge magnets, the wallpapers, the reminders on our phones.
We live on autopilot. We take things for granted. We adapt and make it our new normal. We cannot avoid it. It’s the human condition.
But once we are aware of this fact, we can decide on how to manipulate and direct our perception.
Try it out, could be fun once a week to observe and pick different intentions for your daily activities. See how you can reframe a routine into an opportunity.
Also published on Medium.