On LFB I blog about both conscious living and inspiration, but to me you really cannot have one without the other. It is what inspires us that fuels us and enriches our personal existence for the short time that we are on this earth. And I am a firm believer that a huge source of inspiration comes from being exposed to new surroundings, cultures, and customs.
Doing so not only activates our creativity in the very traditional sense of exposing us to the incredible physical beauty of the world around us – be it in nature or manmade creations – it also allows us to learn more about other people and other outlooks on life. This in turn, inspires us to think about things from new perspectives and teaches us to be more tolerant of things that may be different to us.
For this reason, travel is such a beautiful way to explore, learn, and stay inspired. It’s what pulls us through our work weeks when we know we are only a month away from a new adventure. But this mentality can also be dangerous, as it often causes us to view our “everyday lives” as mundane and uneventful.
It saddens me that we tend to view life as divided into these two separate categories – work and play. Because this can often lead us to become uninspired in our daily lives and view the work week and weeks leading up to a big holiday as simply a means to an end (that end being our vacation). We rush through, waiting to experience a new land and new things, all the while forgetting that every day is an exploration, even if we are in our own backyard. We do not need to be hiking through the rainforest, walking through the streets of Rome, or scuba diving off the coast of Australia to be inspired.
Yes, it is a hell of a lot easier get excited about life whilst you are staring adventure in the face than it is whilst staring at a computer screen with 50 billion email alerts popping up in the right-hand corner every 5 seconds. Yes, I too am addicted to travel and think it is an incredible thing (for all the reasons that I have mentioned above). Yes, I’m always checking out adventure-based hashtags on instagram.
But while sitting at my parent’s home in Virginia this week longing for my next adventure as I scrolled through instagram photos of mountains and beaches, I realized that constantly dreaming about our next “adventure” can cause us to forget how to live in the moment and cause us to forget to actually live our every-day lives as if we were happy to live them, when the reality is that every day is an adventure and no matter where you are, you can always find inspiration in something.
Of course it is easier to find inspiration when you are exploring the markets in Marrakesh – the environment makes it easy by presenting us with an experience we have never had before. But it also comes down to our own mentality. On holiday we are more open and receptive to allowing ourselves to be inspired as we have actively taken the time to allow ourselves to be receptive to it. But this also means that we can work to make sure we constantly stay inspired – even when we are stuck at the office doing overtime. Because at the end of the day, there is inspiration all around us – we just need to know how to look for it.
And you do not need a lot of money or a lot of time to do so either! On your way to work, take a different route even if it means waking up 15 minutes earlier in order to view something with new eyes. Explore a new relationship by learning more about your co-worker. (Who says exploring always needs to be about a place?) Marvel at the way sunlight bathes you in a warm glow even on a cold winter day. Relish the sound of crunching snow between your boots. Fall in love with the incredible colors, shapes, and textures that nature has given us by simply walking through the produce isle on your next trip to the grocery store. Attempt to view your own hometown or city with the eyes in which you would were you to be a tourist visiting for the first time – I can guarantee you will find a new and unique beauty in your own backyard that you never really new was there or had forgotten was magical because you had become jaded to your surroundings.
And if you do have a bit more time to spare, change it up on your next free weekend by saying no to netflix and instead hopping in the car and visiting the next town over or exploring that park 15 minutes from your house that you always meant to go to but never actually ended up visiting. If you are in a city, hop on the train, put your headphones in, and just watch the world pass you by while listening to your very own soundtrack. Loose yourself in a bookstore or go to an art gallery. Alternatively, you could escape the city all together for the day and get lost in nature.
Life is short, and part of life is dealing with the mundane. But if you make a promise to yourself to always stay curious and always search for the beauty (not only physical) in this world, you will find that whether you are off exploring a new land or driving in your car on the way to work, life will never be boring. Exploration doesn’t have to be the physical act of packing a suitcase and hoping on a plane or backpacking across Asia. Exploration is a mindset. Adventure is relative. Make a promise to yourself and never stop exploring.
Photos of the El Yunque National Rainforest: Rae Tashman