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Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Change, Culture, Feature, Most Popular |

Travel Every Day: A Joie de Vivre Approach to Life


What most people really desire is something quite different from industrial gimmickry- liberty, spontaneity, nakedness, mystery, wildness, wilderness.  Edward Abbey

When we were kids, life was an adventure.

We examined bugs, fought off ‘evil’ with made-up super powers, and thought little of consequences. Gradually, society taught us how to cope with boredom rather than cultivate curiosity. We internalized that the ‘real world’ would be a duty rather than a delight– and then we perpetuated this narrative.

Eventually, we bought into the idea that success means comfort and stability rather than a raucous ride into the unknown.

When we realized we lost our way, some of us burrowed deeper into a job or career, got married, had kids, or traveled the world. We constructed our identities as ‘expert’, ‘spouse’, ‘parent’ or ‘traveler’ and fortified them with online social masks.

We forgot that the world is a wild kingdom to be explored.

Streets of Paris

It is nearly close at an empty Mexican restaurant on Colfax Avenue on a cold Thursday night.  Stories on travels and lessons from the road are being exchanged in between bites of huevos rancheros and cursory conversation with the server. 

Out of nowhere, he says four words that stop me dead in my tracks.

I travel every day.

He isn’t referring to a daily commute. He is telling me that every day is an adventure. Twenty minutes of conversation distills into a profound mantra. 

top of kyrenia castle

So how do we recover and reclaim our joie de vivre? 

Let’s look to travel to teach us how the present moment is rich with opportunity. The folks at Travel Go Girl offer this sage advice in this blog entitled Be A Girl Who Travels [modified] :

Get excited about a 10 hour bus ride and look forward to the scenery and people watching…

Sleep on airport floors or metal picnic tables, because you know a little discomfort is worth the adventure ahead.

Know how to entertain yourself – with a good book, your thoughts, or even just a changing view outside the bus window.

Does this approach really translate into cotidian routine? Look at a petal-strewn path or dewy blades of grass as artwork. Imagine a toxic co-worker is a tragic character from a novel. Approach your partner with the intent to uncover his or her layers of mystery.

Petal Strewn Path, 3rd & Verbeke, Harrisburg, PA

Dew in the Grass

Can we really activate and sustain curiosity throughout the day?

I created an Instagram account today to document my response to this question  (yes, I’m not what you’d call an ‘early adopter’ on this front).

Every day for the next month, I’m going to capture at least one spontaneous moment that speaks to me as I go about my normal day and give it the hashtag #traveleveryday. The idea is to simply notice what is around me in the same way I absorb my surroundings while traveling.

Feel free to join my experiment (#traveleveryday)!

Thanks to Bruce Akens Dotterer for providing this inspiration. Follow his adventures and join an outdoor mission for good at mystompinground.