*Part of the ‘Mindset of a Millennial’ series for 2020* 4/12.
As a self proclaimed ‘frequent traveller’ I thought it was about time we address the travel obsession in Millennials (or at least in me!). Of course I appreciate the opportunities to travel are now more abundant than ever; we’ve officially gone global, – JFK to Sydney non-stop in 19 hours! But the perceived indispensable desire to ESCAPE and travel is exponentially sky rocketing. Why you ask? Perhaps due to the increased accessibility of travel financially as well as freedom of movement physically, but not forgetting the overarching narrative of increased pressure placed on us millennials.
The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side
From JFK, to Sydney, LAX to Dubai and beyond, international airports really are globalisation in a nutshell. We put ourselves through the misery of 5am airport runs, bleary eyed and running on caffeine (followed by a compulsory 9am G&T, snapped for the gram with our passport perfectly positioned in the background). Next up is the scrutiny of authoritarian airport staff invading our personal space with X-RAY body scanners , criticising how many liquids are crammed into those tiny clear bags in our hand luggage. (Of course all whilst clock watching, for when the departure board changes with the blink of an eye, from await updates to gate closing and before you know it you’re running for the gate). All in aid of the anticipation of compacted and claustrophobic seats with not enough leg room, sharing oxygen with 123 other people in a giant metal bird defying gravity across the depths of the Atlantic, to get that wooooosh of hot air as you step out onto the tarmac in a foreign land, the smell of freedom well and truly in the air.
The ability to escape somewhere new that’s not your home is an incredible privilege that should never be taken for granted, but should aways be taken advantage of at any possible moment.
There is something intellectually liberating about distance
When we’re away we seem to forget all of our problems. The problem, is that most of our problems are local. So putting a few hundred miles between us and home brings freedom, possibility and endless opportunity. Opportunity for experiencing new cultures, new people, new food, new life and new friends. It gives us a chance to wipe the slate clean, a chance for a new personal story and somewhere where no one knows your personal traumas and hang ups. A chance to just start over.
We feel new again. From the second we switched our phones to airplane mode, we switched our minds to travel mode and with it comes a fresh sense of positivity.
Our thoughts are shackled by the familiar
Airplane mode is apparently not the only voodoo feature on our phones. GMT + changing time zones gives us the confidence to change our mindset. The weights of home are lifted. We’re more opportunistic, more adventurous, even sanguine about our foreign endeavours. We get to experience the disorientating diversity of new places and new traditions. Some of my favourite locations I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced have been the biggest culture shift from my home setting – there is no possible means to describe the feeling of walking through the hustle and bustle of the Medina in central Marrakech. We’re reminded of all that we do not know, which as it turns out is nearly everything; Even in this age of globalisation, (including the possibility to have a Big Mac in 118 different countries,) we can still marvel at all the new things we come across, that were absolutely not included in the Lonely Planet guidebook or Off Track’s Planet guide for the Young, Sexy and Broke (Yup that’s me!). I’ve climbed 1717m up Mount Batur at sunrise in Bali, and reached the viewpoint on Koh Wua Ta Lap of An Thong National Marine Park in Surat Thani, Thailand in mid day heat. Honestly, two of the most incredible experiences, the images burnt to my brain to ensure they are never forgotten. These escapades certainly don’t exist back home and THIS unfamiliarity and sense of awe is exactly where the magic lies.
Our brains are very clever little squidgy balls of efficiency. To get us through daily life they are always looking for short cuts and routines to trade creativity for this efficiency, allowing less active decisions to be made and therefore more memory space in the hard-drive. When we remove ourselves from our familiar, our brains are shaken into a new reality. They have to start actively thinking, because no habit loops exist for our new geotag and the key to this? They HAVE TO BE PRESENT in the moment in order to do this and find a new perspective.
Note: the larger lesson here is the new perspective, which allows our brain to expand the scale of our cognitive input. Not only linking with our present issues; the conundrum of finding our morning coffee and croissant, but this also causes our brain to start considering the larger problems in our lives back home from a new perspective. From this constant sense of newness we are reminded that EVERY SINGLE human being on this earth has their own individual view of the world and their own perspectives and beliefs. Thus allowing us to further expand our current perspective on our home dilemmas and occasionally putting us in the shoes of others.
Travel is in Fact Not Dependent on the Geotag
The MINDSET of travel in fact not dependent on the location or geotag, not the number of carbon footprint miles between yourself and your humble abode, but instead the MINDSET shift that occurs by the process of travelling – The mindset of switching off, resulting from putting on your Out Of Office for emails and calls, having ‘permission’ to turn a blind eye to any problems located back at GMT. But when we arrive home from these travels we have a fresh view on life, we are not caged by routine or habits, but feel that the opportunities are only limited by your imagination, anything is possible if you can dream it. We become open to Blue Sky Thinking.
….. So this my friends is why travel can become addictive. We travel to escape, to heal and to dream. But our mindset doesn’t need to be laying on the beach in Bali sipping Mojitos, it needs to just think we are….
( … but that doesn’t stop me forever wishing the IP address was reading Puerto Princesa rather than U.K.)
Love J xoxo
p.s previous parts to the Mindset of a Millenial series
Further travel reads: