Monique Thorpe
February 17, 2015 6:00 am

What happens to our minds when we go on vacation? Besides the rest and relaxation, there is a very noticeable sense of adventure, willingness to try new things, and lust to make the most of every minute that all wash over us when we take a break. I know I’m not alone in this. We laugh larger, love harder, and live freer on vacations. So why is it that we don’t have that passion in our everyday lives?

I have been turning this question over in my mind a lot recently. Why is it that I will happily take kite surfing lessons while I’m on vacation but would not do it on a regular weekend? Why do I wake up early on vacations for a brisk morning walk, but spend hours in bed on the weekends surfing the Internet for places I’d rather be? Most annoyingly, why does spending a whole day on vacation curled up with a good book feel like a day well spent, but if I do that on a regular Saturday, I feel like I have wasted my non-work hours?

Whilst location may account for some of these for many readers—kite surfing may not be possible in your hometown—I am not bound by such concerns. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and have access to almost everything that I would on vacation, yet I never take advantage of any of it. After mulling over the question of why for way too long and not being able to find an answer, I turned my attention to action in the hopes the why would come to me if I changed my behavior.

Over the past two months, I have spent my free time as I would on vacation. I lazy away days in the park with a good book, I take long walks and snap photos like an unconcerned tourist, I visit attractions that I have never seen before in my hometown, and say “yes” to any odd opportunities that may cross my path—anything for an adventure!

It’s been tough at times. It is very easy to wake up on a rainy and miserable morning, like we have had many of this summer (southern hemisphere, what’s up), and instantly be put into a bad mood by the weather and spend the morning on social media venting about how bored you are. But you wouldn’t do that on vacation (one would hope); you would wake up, see the rain, and think, “I’ve always wanted to swim/dance/sing in the rain, I might just do that today.” You would also not be bothered by the rain ruining your hair as you walk to the café for breakfast. You’re on vacation. Que Sera, Sera, baby!

I was seeking the vacation mindset, and I found it. I have basically become a tourist in my own hometown over the past two months, and now I cannot stop. I’m addicted. I was prompted to research some theories on what makes you a traveller, because I was pretty sure I had breached the gap without actually leaving home. I have never felt so happy, free, or energized.

For me, it was the repetition of the everyday that made me feel caged in and unable to expand my options. I found that I was visiting the same cafés, ordering the same meals, and walking the same route to work every day, just out of habit. I was not consciously considering my options, but merely following the motions. Once I started to branch out a little, the cage simply fell away, and I could see the plethora of goodies that I had in front of me. I started looking at my life with fresh eyes and seeing the possibilities for adventure, and now, I never want to go back to the old way. In these past two months, I have not once thought or uttered the words, “I’m bored” or “I need a break,” because I am creating relaxation and appreciation in my everyday.

I suggest you give this a try, change a few small habits, and see if you’re able to break out of your own personal cage—and enjoy the world around you just a little bit more.

(Image via.)

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