Resolved to do anything that sparks enthusiasm in my heart

How Traveling Helps Me to Live a Happier and More Grateful Everyday Life


Chalet in Argentiere

I am abundantly blessed. I love the life that I lead and am so grateful for each day. But admittedly, even at the best of times, there are many aspects of my life that go unappreciated. As much as I love to break away, to experience new places, and to have an adventure, one of the biggest reasons that I love to travel is for the appreciation I gain for everyday life, and the elements that compose my routine. Traveling forces me into a new schedule, away from the people that I love and the things that are familiar. I never fully realize what an impact they have until they are removed. Among others, these are the things I learn to love most when returning home:

Good cup of coffee, readily available: I love starting my day with a big mug of fresh coffee.  Finding a great (or even mediocre) cup of coffee while traveling is a surprisingly precious commodity, even in Europe. Every time I found espresso, I thought, ‘I want this, but about 12x larger’.  I’m spoiled.

Hot shower: Although I have traveled several places without access to hot water, none was more memorable than Peru. After long hours of field work, I returned each night (around 4AM) to my cabin to take a bone-seizing cold shower. I learned to take a deep breath before going under the water to prevent gasping so loud that it would wake the next cabin. I learned to turn off the water, suds, and then rinse for a minimal period of time. The first hot shower I took in Cusco was hands-down one of the best experiences of my life. No joke.

Sleeping in my bed:  After a trip, there is nothing like the first night of sleeping in my bed at home. I sleep so soundly. Even if I had been staying at a 20 pillows-per-person hotel, there is an unmatched comfort of my own bed.

Brushing my teeth with tap water:  After days/weeks of using bottled water to brush my teeth, I fall into a natural habit and do not notice the difference.  But when I return home, I reach for the water bottle, gasp, and think ‘Ah! I can use the sink!’ Now THAT is a remarkable feeling.

Familiar food: I now make it a habit to bring a few things I eat regularly with me when I travel. I love eating the local cuisine, but if my stomach could high-five me when I give it something familiar, it would.

Staying Connected: Even with an international data plan, I hesitate to text, call, or jump on the internet. But I admit, I am often very excited to rejoin my network when I come home.

Having a car: After navigating an unfamiliar public transportation system, the admiration for the convenience of a car is overwhelming! It takes a while for it to sink in. I can just go there, now, because a vehicle is in my driveway. I don’t have to check a schedule or factor walking time. Wow.

Schedule: I travel to break away from my routine, and then happily settle back into the comfort of it when I return- ahh.

What does traveling help you to appreciate? Can you relate to any of these experiences? Comment below!


9 responses

  1. Being able to make a good cup of tea!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    • Agreed! Finding a mug, clean water, your favorite tea, honey…a surprising effort on the road! Thanks for reading!

      February 14, 2012 at 4:17 PM

  2. Friends and family!

    Great post!

    Courtney Mara

    February 14, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    • Thank you for reading AND for following Courtney! I hear you about friends and family… I miss them especially when I see something remarkable, and wish that they were with me to share in the experience and reminisce about it later.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:55 PM

  3. Sooo true, we travel with kids… Sometimes finding a cup of milk for my little one is hard in a new place

    February 14, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    • I bet! That must be especially stressful… because it is not about your discomfort but wanting to do what is best for your kids. Thank you for following! I look forward to discussing travel topics with you!

      February 14, 2012 at 4:58 PM

  4. Loved this post! It’s soooooo true! Thanks Nat!~

    February 15, 2012 at 9:37 AM

  5. Pingback: Mythbusters: Travel Lies We Tell Ourselves « TravelingChicha

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