Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. – Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
Lessons learned from Not Traveling
I’m taking a break from writing travel-related stories because there’s a battle raging inside me right now. As a travel writer, it’s very hard to say that my wife and I haven’t moved around as much as we did before. This has been one of the toughest subjects for me to write about because a traveler isn’t meant to stay in one place, right? Thanks to an old mistake catching up to me along with time and money shortages, exploring life through travel has become a tough prospect lately. Writing this has been very difficult for me but that’s the only way I can work through this, by sharing these lessons learned from not traveling.
Don’t Run Away
I’m embarrassed to say that almost a decade ago, I was a very different person and led a mistake-filled life. This led to an arrest for a DUI, which I thought was settled back then. I completed community service and have a clean record but unfortunately, the DMV case kept getting pushed back. My lawyer submitted a request for continuance that was never received, and I didn’t realize that by moving to Korea, I was actually running away from something very important. We returned to find out my license was suspended, and that I was required to report to a treatment office. There, I’d learn how poor choices have affected my life and could’ve been worse. No excuses. I screwed up.
Not only have we been working with the law, but also racing against time and money. We saved tons of cash while living large and working very little in South Korea but returning home has been a series of eye-opening days. I honestly didn’t realize just how expensive resettling here would become. Yes, there have been many days where I’ve questioned returning to the U.S. but that would defeat the purpose of leaving Korea. We returned home because it was time and leaving again would just be using travel as an escape, kicking our future down the road. I have to accept this new life and realize that it’s pretty awesome. We’ll persevere through the tough times because that’s what it takes to reach happiness.
You Can Overcome Anything
I leaped through the final hoop by writing an essay about the DUI’s effect on my life and loved ones. Then I read it to a group of people in my class while trying to maintain composure. Shame and remorse took over and though I’ve long since owned up to my mistakes, this was the first time that I had to write it all down and explain it to people. That moment felt like I’d approached the opening from inside a deep cave, shedding some very real tears and emotional burdens I’d long kept inside. My obstacles are easy compared to other people, but I am happy to be free and ready to get on with my life. First and foremost, fun times with my wife and also that thing I’m doing here.
You Can Travel Local
I designed this site knowing that international travel wouldn’t always be a part of my life. Yes, I’ve worked very hard and have been lucky to join press trips and media opportunities, but we’re not traveling like back in Asia. Local travel isn’t just for those without the time or money. Everyone can do it. There’s always a way to escape those cumbersome surroundings but not our lives completely, even if we’re not going very far. As I’ve said in the past, travel isn’t a race to some far-flung destination that takes hours or even days to reach. Please tell me that you’ve explored your surroundings. Why not? After all, it’s right outside and waiting for you to discover.
Be Grateful to Those Who Matter
I think back to my surgery in Korea, and how I sat alone in a Seoul hospital bed one Christmas. The TV that pumped out Die Hard and other Christmas favorites was my only company. Christina couldn’t come until the next day because her school wouldn’t allow a day off to travel there. What would I have done in the situation that we’re in now? All the support and help from our family has been a real reminder of why we came home. My wife and awesome family have helped me jump through a lot of hoops and this is something worth saying “thank you” for a million times over. Not everyone has this amount of help, and for that we’re grateful for every bit of it. Hopefully you have a similar support system nearby.
Be Patient and Take Breaks
Just like I’ve learned from starting a travel blog, patience is crucial or else you’ll lose all hope in very quick fashion. Everyday, I see a new instant-success story or an amazing adventure created by someone else. It’s overwhelming and thanks to my need to feel stimulated at all times. My getaway is a daily walk through the woods, with nothing but my thoughts and surroundings to deal with. Do you have a method of taking a break that doesn’t involve a newsfeed? Patience and breaks don’t just mean taking a breath and relaxing. They help us disconnect from that need to achieve and fulfill all of those goals staring at us from the finish line. We need to do back away throughout every day.
Work Towards Your Goals
Just like I explained to the bus driver from class who lost his license and job, life isn’t over and things will get better. Running away from it all certainly won’t help, as in my case. Coming to terms with the situation is the best way to get started and it took me a long time to do that. On the bright side, I’ve been forced to appreciate my immediate surroundings and really embrace local travel when time, money, and the law haven’t been in my favor. If you just take a breath and find a place to walk or sit to recuperate your mind, that’s one step towards a happier life. Life interrupts everyone’s goals, as these lessons from not traveling have taught me. It’s been tough times but I’m ready to get back and start moving. I have stuff to explore and goals to work towards.
Have you had to put life or work on pause due to a mistake or unfortunate situation? What do you think about my lessons from not traveling? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below!
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