On Traveling…Less Often

by leahplotz

No, really, I’m traveling less!

Not that I expected you to notice. I still admit I travel perhaaaaps more than normal

In fact in 2013, I made it a conscious goal to travel to one new place I had never been, every month. I couldn’t get enough, so I moved to Australia for all of 2014, and still didn’t see as much of the country as I wanted to. I traveled for travel’s sake. I traveled to come out of my comfort zone, to feel energized, to learn about others. My feet never touched the ground! So what changed?

When I moved back to Oslo in 2015, it was time to figure out: when I’m not traveling, what does my life look like? Who is Leah and what does she like to do?

Turns out, she works a lot, and runs a lot. (That farm girl work ethic doesn’t die easy). In 2015 and 2016, I took hardly any vacation, but was too busy to notice. Stay.com was growing, and I worked overtime most months, balancing Stay with consultancy work (mostly for SolRX sunscreen). It was a welcome distraction, and on the days I felt restless, I ran. (I ran a lot). At the same time, I slowly, slowly began to embrace DIY projects, music festivals, committee meetings, and yoga studio memberships.

At the same time I was traveling less, I was ironically enough feeling more grounded. Or did I travel less because I felt more grounded? Either way, I could no longer internally justify 36 hours in Riga or going to Stockholm for a concert. So in 2017, I have made a semi-conscious decision to travel with purpose. No more traveling for travel’s sake. (Seriously!) (No, seriously!).

Unlike 2015 and 2016, I will actually take holiday, meaning unplugging completely: going to a city Stay.com doesn’t have, without my laptop, and with few plans. My first experiment with this was a trip to Tromsø in January, and oh my gosh you guys, it was awesome.

Since 2013, I have halved the number of trips I take yearly, while at the same time prolonging the actual trip itself. Sounds pretty basic, no? I feel like I have reached a balance that works for my instinct to travel and staying in one place that works for me right here, right now. The stress to make plans ahead of a trip and the feeling of having to rush through a city vanished. That in itself was worth it. After years of wishing I had one more day, or scheming when I could go back, I am eagerly and happily coming home.

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Pausing for a moment in Milan, January 2017

Certainly, 2017 is scaring me. This is not, I would argue, a Leah that I have ever known before. I still travel with vigor and enthusiasm. The purpose of traveling for me in 2017 therefore is: How can I grow from it? How can I make sure I leave minimal trace of my visit? Will it make someone else happy? So far for 2017, this has translated into meaning that my trips are planned around people I love. A 30th birthday. A reunion. Another birthday. If I can’t go for more than four days, there is little motivation for me to book these days. It’s an awkward and weird feeling. That may not be my 2018, or even any year ever again, but this is my 2017, and I’m excited to challenge myself in this new way.

The instinct to travel and to travel spontaneously is still very much alive. It’s always been in my blood, and still is. When I travel, I shake myself of restlessness and creative blocks. I am reminded that we are all in this world together, and we have got to learn to get along! I come back home feeling productive, compassionate, conscious, and thriving. My cravings for spontaneity may take over. They may be fueled by a coercive friend or a life change.

On Friday, Sondre and I are off to Seville for a week. On real holiday. So, as you can by now predict, this means you won’t be hearing from me here (although, I certainly considered combining it with work and leaving a few days earlier). 🙂

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