How to Live Life Like a Tourist
Years ago I wrote a book called The Fragrance of Wanderlust: How to Capture the Essence of Travel in Our Everyday Lives. It’s a mindful staycation guide, in how to live life like a tourist. It was an inner pilgrimage (for more on pilgrimages, check out this blog post https://amodernpilgrimage.com/top-5-things-you-need-when-preparing-for-a-pilgrimage/. I started this 40 day journey during Lent, on Ash Wednesday. In honor of that on Ash Wednesday today, I am adding an excerpt from the book. The book is available online or at many virtual retail booksellers, to purchase on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Fragrance-Wanderlust-Capture-Essence-Everyday-ebook/dp/B07NPXKGRC . Please read Day 1, and enjoy.
DAY 1: THE MIND SHIFT TO A TOURIST
“Paradise was always over there, a day’s sail away. But it’s a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life. I, finally, knew where my life belonged. Home.”
The first part of embarking on this journey is the mind shift that was necessary to endure 40 days of staycational living. When I hear the word stay, I automatically want to leave. Staying put seems confining to a wanderluster. We don’t want boundaries around our lives, we want to be free. There is a reason our longing to travel is called a travel itch or bug. It’s something that irritates you, and you need to feed or take care of. The way our addiction to travelling is described is as if it is a disease, and the only cure for it is to take another trip. This is disheartening, as it’s not always possible to be a perpetual tourist. Our personal and financial lives will eventually suffer.
The Oxford Dictionary defines wanderlust as a “strong desire to travel.” Some describe it as itchy feet. The term is taken from the German words “wander” (to hike) and “lust” (desire). Wikipedia notes that wanderlust is not used as frequently in the modern German language. Instead what is used is Fernweh , this literally means “farsickness”, which is an antonym to Heimweh “homesickness.”
Farsickness, I have never heard of this terminology. This exactly equates with what some of us can diagnose ourselves with. We have this longing to be elsewhere in the world, to be in far off places. Only this can soothe our hearts. Staying in one place is irritating and not conducive to our health. Having to stay put is uncomfortable and irritable. As wanderlusters, we long to leave. But is it all in our heads?
There are numerous quotes that allude to the fact that freedom is a state of mind. We are the ones responsible for caging ourselves within our own minds. Therefore what is needed today is to make the leap of these 40 days. You are not going to be imprisoned to your home, serving a sentence of 6 weeks. Shift your experience… You are going to live your life as a tourist. There is nothing to lose, and only wonder to gain.
Travel can sometimes serve as an overarching temporary solution to your life when it gets overwhelming. But what do you do if you can’t take forty days off? You can still be a tourist, but the caveat to this is you are not going anywhere. This would be an internal trip.
This concept of viewing life as a tourist made perfect sense. When I have travelled, I have had spiritual moments and felt connected to the world as whole. I felt the universe protected me on my expeditions, even more if I travelled alone. As Tennessee Williams stated, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” who have served as my guides and at times saviors. I have had serendipitous conversations with strangers on trains, in coffee shops, or in a crowded hostel room. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed with awe by the history a city holds in it’s cobblestone streets. Or I felt pure peace in a quiet seemingly abandoned church.
Travel Journal Entry:
Invest in a journal for these 40 days, if you haven’t already. If you already journal daily, try to keep this journal separate. This is your travel journal, documenting this 40 day journey.
How do I feel when I travel? How do I feel about staying put for 40 days? Explore the concepts of freedom and confinement, as it relates to travel and home life for you?
What does it mean to be a wanderluster or to have fairsickness? Explore making the transition to being a tourist within your own backyard? How does this internal conceptual shift impact you?