How 2 Funerals Have Reshaped My Beliefs on Travel
In the past week, I’ve attended two funerals.
One death was unexpected, while the other was known for a long time.
One was married with a large family, the other was single.
Both were in their late 50’s, early 60’s.
Both were heavily beloved, with over 300 people showing up to at each funeral.
And both hadn’t traveled very much.
In fact, I’m fairly certain that neither had ever been out of the country.
As funerals are wont to do, I began to think about my own life.
The natural take-away and assumption would lead you to believe that I thought:
“life is short, so take every chance you can to travel and see the world, because you never know when you won’t have that chance.”
I’m as a big a proponent of traveling as the next person.
Heck, I run a website devoted to it and a host a podcast where I interview some of the world’s greatest travelers!
But for me, travel is the easy part.
It’s easy for me to be in a new country, full of exciting new people, having my senses bombarded with new sights, tastes, and smells.
To wake up excited every morning.
To be content to just wander around the streets, looking for adventure.
To live every day to it’s fullest.
To feel alive.
What isn’t easy is being home.
I get restless.
I get antsy.
I get agitated much more quickly.
I get jealous of emails from readers who are going on their next trip, and think “why isn’t that me?”
I stare at google maps for hours, wondering what a country looks like from the ground, wishing I was there.
And by doing that, I miss A LOT.
You see, the purpose of this post IS what you assume.
It is “Carpe Diem”.
It is “seize the day”.
But that’s MUCH different than “Carpe Diem…when in another country.”
Or “seize the day…when traveling”.
I am extremely blessed to have a wonderful family and wonderful friends.
When I’m home, I live in an area that has every single convenience I could ever want.
It also has as many opportunities to explore as any other place in the world.
I’m 2 hours from one of the world’s largest cities.
I’m 3 hours from the nation’s capital.
I’m 45 minutes from where our country was founded.
I’m 15 minutes from one of the most famous spots of the Revolutionary War, a place George Washington slept.
And yet, day after day, I pass through these areas, rarely pausing to enjoy them.
Rarely letting my sense be overloaded.
Never allowing that same sense of amazement and wonder that I have when I’m “really” traveling.
And that’s a shame.
And it’s all my own fault.
It’s not the place I live.
It’s not the surrounding circumstances.
It’s nothing other than my own apathy.
I have absolutely nothing against being filled with wanderlust.
Nothing against staring at maps and thinking “I want to go there” to every place imagineable.
And certainly nothing against actually doing it.
I’m incredibly blessed to have been able to see parts of the world that the two people who passed away never saw.
I’m blessed to know that I’ll be able to see many, many more in the next few years, and that I’ll be able to do it for almost free.
But what I need to realize is that when I’m at home, when I’m “sleepwalking” through my day (as I recently mentioned on my latest podcast), that I’m wasting a day.
A day that I have on this Earth that I’ll never get back.
Both of these people never left the country, and yet they lived incredibly fully, enriching lives.
They weren’t upset about not being able to see the Great Wall.
Instead, they were busy making their lives, and the lives around them, as exciting and enjoyable as they possibly could.
So, instead of seeing these days at home as just an inconvenience between trips, I need to start seeing them as an opportunity.
To explore, anywhere and everywhere.
To connect, with friends and family.
To enjoy, cherish, and revel in.
It’s time to start living EVERY day to the fullest.
Whether I’m traveling…or not.
Whether I’m in Calcutta….or Collegeville.
The Philippines…or Philadelphia.
A hostel….or home.
“Carpe Diem…wherever you are”
“Seize the day…EVERYDAY”.
What life events have reshaped and shook your view on travel? How did you change afterwards?
If this post has struck a chord with you, I ask that you please share this on Twitter and Facebook. I think many people can benefit from hearing this message (I know I sure did).