Think of a place you have never been, a place you would really love to go. Odds are you have gazed at it on google image for hours instead of working on that presentation for work, or that paper for class. Maybe it’s the background of your computer screen at this very moment, or maybe it’s a poster on your wall. Whatever the destination, picture it and ask yourself “Why am I so infatuated with this place?”
Whether it’s the temples of Bagan, the city of Paris, or even just your dream beach, your answer probably falls in the realm of, “because it looks beautiful/I have never been before/or I just want to see something different.” All valid responses, but none really answer the question as to why you posses the inherent desire to be there and not here. If you take a step back, you can start to see it’s not the place you are longing for, but rather the state of mind you believe this place will bring. However, there is a problem with this mentality – it sets you up for failure ―- and it sets you up twice.
The obvious follow-up thought is that maybe your dream spot isn’t as good as you believe it will be. Which means you are faced with overwhelming disappointment, bruised hope, and the feeling of self degradation as you put on a fake smile and tell your friends your trip was “great,” when you know deep down that’s a lie. Despite all that, let’s imagine for a moment your dream destination ends up being exponentially more amazing than you dreamed, I would argue this outcome is actually even worse.
Since everything must come to an end, you will eventually become entrenched in a feeling of despair as you say goodbye to this place you love, thus entering your first state of misery. Upon your return home, you are then faced with the second state, often referred to as “the travel bug.” You begin to long for another trip which will bring you back to the pleasant state of mind that has now dissipated, like a junkie ignoring the present in search of your next “high.” Where does that leave you now? Perpetually craving something you don’t have, and believing what you do have is in some sense inherently inferior.
Now relax, I am by no means advocating you should move your background picture to the trash folder and forget your dream. What I am endorsing, however, is a change in your overall mindset; and not only during your travels, but both before and after each adventure. Once you fully accept every aspect of this world is constantly changing, and everything good or bad must come to an end, you will be able to truly appreciate your dream destination and (more importantly) every other aspect of your life. In turn taking the power of your personal happiness away from a desired place or event and putting it on your own hands, where it belongs. Or as stated by our friends at tripping.life:
At some point you will realize that you only live in the present moment. The past and the future are not more than just a thought. With that realization, you will free yourself from regret about the past and worries about the future. As soon as you learn to fully live in the moment you are breaking free from your Self-Image. You realize that you are not limited to that story. You actually create your own story, and get a new perspective…
Therefore, you will realize what you truly desire is not this destination, and not even the temporary state of mind you believe it will bring, but rather an overall “shift in consciousness.” Which is something that can only be done by you, internally, and the good news is it can be done in any environment.
With this new mindset you can leave the endless cycle of ups and down, highs and lows, or desire and monotony. Your dream spot will then become more than just a place you want to see; it will evolve into yet another adventure where you will be able to appreciate life and the endless elegance of the world. In turn, both the culmination and completion of any trip you experience from that point forward will be seen through eyes of appreciation, not depression, and your day to day life will be filled with happiness, not desire.
My challenge to you: take a step back, think for a moment, and ask yourself “why?” Only then you will be ready start your “shift” towards appreciating the present…and the best news is you can start today, in whatever place you happen to be at this very moment.