When we take vacations we smile. We laugh. We have fun. We enjoy our time away from daily routines. Travel also includes activities a bit outside our comfort zone. We tend to be more adventurous on holiday. Even on the plane ride home we vow to make changes to our routine; we vow to live differently. And although we have the best of intentions, before long we fall back into our old patterns, into our old routines. Adventure is left for the next vacation.
I'll admit I've lived out this pattern. I've returned to my desk job with a more adventurous attitude only to find the changes didn't last. So I'd count the days until my next trip and the chance to fully feel alive again. It was only after a two-week adventure sailing the Greek Isles that I once and for all decided to keep to my promise and live a life of daily adventures.
You may say that's easy for a travel photographer and writer. "But" I hear you saying, "How can I do that? I am not leaving my job." First off, you don't need to leave anything, in fact you need to stay; to stay adventurous. And I say it's easy to start, yes easy, if you just focus on what we learned as children – to experience life using our five senses.
1) Taste – Taste a Local Dish. On holiday we always have the opportunity to sample local cuisine. Even if we try to stick to a familiar diet, some new food will sneak its way onto our plates and usually into our hearts. Why stop? Incorporate new cuisine into your diet. Dedicate yourself to make (or order) one of your new adventurous food favorites and you'll savor your vacation experience long after your trip has ended.
2) Listen – Listen to Traditional or Native Music. Often times on vacation you hear new, different sounds and usually new music. Every culture seems to have its own beat and it often reflects the history of the people. So buy a CD from a local artist or download a few recommended songs from your taxi driver. Then create a playlist of your favorite tunes from your trip with a few songs that describe the place. (e.g. I left my heart in San Francisco.)
3) Touch – Feel the Sun. Even though we are often reminded "don't touch" in museums, souvenir stores, etc. we actually often touch plenty on holiday. We feel the cool wind in a breeze, the warm rays of the sun, or the soft stillness of a snowflake. Yes, we feel the weather. But at home, we often just complain or make small talk about it. "It's raining, it's cold, it's too hot", etc. Why not focus on the beauty of the weather and really enjoy it the next time you are on vacation and then do it when you return home, too. It's magical and a great way to seal an experience in your memory.
4) See – Watch the Sunset. We always see new vistas and venues on a trip. We might watch a colorful native dance or view a majestic mountain range but we also see familiar sights no matter where we go in the world. One of my favorites is the sunset. (I post one every week in my Sunset Sunday Series.) It's a moment often celebrated on holiday but is normally reduced to a non-event in our daily lives. Change that. Take time to watch one every week or even every day. It takes just a few minutes but you'll be surprised how it changes your mood for the better every evening.
5) Smell - Smell the Roses. It's not just a cliché. The sense of smell is the second most powerful when conjuring up memories, yet how many smells do you remember from your daily experience? Far more stick with you from your last holiday I bet. One of my favorite smells include food (see #1) and flowers (especially after a rain.) Try to focus not just on the sights but on the smells both on the road and at home. So yes, the old adage is very true, "sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses" and that doesn't just mean on holiday.
Spending a little time focusing on the five senses can change how you experience your everyday. We all seem to enjoy using our senses on holiday, but often forget to focus on them when we return. Make this one important yet simple change and keep the focus on living life fully through your senses. You'll find adventures await you at every turn whether you are on holiday or not.
Stay adventurous, Craig
Craig Zabransky is a travel photographer and blogger and owner / editor of the travel site Stay Adventurous; a mindset for travel, a mindset for life. He has traveled through 45 countries and 40 US states as a consultant, with a backpack and now as a blogger. He take photographs and writes tales of travel and adventure to inspire others, you, to take and make adventure in your life. You can find him on twitter at @StayAdventurous and on his site at www.stayadventurous.com