I’m In Washington, D.C. I’ve been here for two days, and haven’t been outside for more than 15 minutes. I’ve spent the days locked in the basement of my budget Airbnb, working, reading, writing, and relaxing. The Wonder Years have been playing on repeat, echoing off the peeling walls, and all I’ve had to eat is cereal and soup (I didn’t even put the soup in a bowl – I just ate it from the pot).
And I’m OK with that.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been on a whirlwind tour around the USA with Nomadic Matt. We’ve hosted events almost every night, interacting with hundreds of travelers. Most nights I talk until my voice is hoarse, sharing stories and tips with amazing folks from all around the country. It’s been an incredible trip, but it has also been taxing. I’m generally more of an introvert, and I highly value my private time and privacy. While I’m more than happy to go all out and spend my nights socializing and my days traveling from city to city, I also need to balance that out.
Which is why I’ve locked myself away for a couple days. I need to recharge, to balance that whirlwind with some quiet time.
“But Chris, travel is about living life to the fullest! As Helen Keller said, Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” #YOLO
With all due respect, fuck Helen Keller. Life is whatever YOU want it to be. I “only live once” so I’m going to do whatever I want to do. If I want to stay in and read a book, I’m going to stay the fuck in and read a book. I don’t care that it’s Saturday. I don’t care where I am in the world. It’s my life, and no over-used quote is going to change that.
There is SO much pressure on people to break out of their shell when they travel – and much of that pressure is good. It helps you grow, to try new things. But there is also pressure to constantly be doing AMAZING things, to be CONSTANTLY Snapping and Instagramming epicness as you travel around. And to a degree, that's totally cool. But you also need to accept that there is a reality to travel, one that those shitty quotes and "frededompreneurs" won't tell you about. For every epic day, there will be a perfectly normal, even boring day. And that's fine. In fact, it's necessary. Most of us need some downtime here and there, so it's important to know (or at least learn!) how you operate. Travel has taught me more about myself than anything else in the world (aside from meditation) and from that I have learned what I need to do to stay sane – at home and abroad. For me, it’s balancing my socializing with my privacy. It takes effort, and sometimes I miss out on things (a Couchsurfer just messaged me to hang out and I’m going to ignore it) but that’s what I need to keep myself balanced.
So tonight, a Saturday night in the capital city of the US of A, I’m going to eat cereal, meditate, and read a Star Wars novel. Because hey, you only live once.
**I'm totally be facetious with the title. Helen Keller was a badass boss woman.**