I traveled non-stop for over 2 months straight. Here's what I learned
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
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1. I prefer Europe to America
Okay. To say I've just learnt this is a bit of a stretch because I already knew this about myself (and so have you if you've been listening, shout out to the real subscribers). But there's nothing like a visit to the U.S. fresh off the heels of a sh*tstorm Trump-demic to remind you of why you left. Don't get me wrong, the U.S. isn't bad all the time. We once had zaddy Obama running things. But oof, why does everything in America have to be so intense all the time? Even in the more remote places where hustle culture isn't on steroids, it's like warring identity politics or the constant fear of falling through a non-existent social safety net keeps everyone in a perpetual state of Hunger Games. For most, life in America is a life lived on the edge. And I felt that energy the entire five weeks I was there. Touching back down on European soil, I let out an exhale so deep, my body shook. I felt it in my bones. But that's the thing, when I'm in the U.S., I'm so acclimated to the chaos that I don't realize I'm holding my breath. It's only when I leave and I gain a measure of comparison, I'm like "oh yea, this baguette and afternoon sieste lifestyle ain't too bad. I'll take one of those please."
2. I think I could be a travel influencer
Every now and then, when I think about how these travel influencers have hoodwinked businesses into paying them, the consumer, to go on vacation, I take a real long pause to seriously reevaluate my life choices. Especially when I already do this: I go on holiday, I take photos, I write positive reviews, but silly me, I do this at a financial loss. Okay sure, I'm out here, focusing on growing a business that I'm passionate about and believe can actually help people. But a casual $10k to post an instagram reel on how relaxing some Bahamian spa hotel is? Bruh...
Some snaps from my and bae's travels. He stays ready to take the shot, and I stay ready to be taken!
3. I don't think I could be a travel influencer
So I'm sort of kidding with this previous point. The reality is, I don't have the willpower or discipline to work my way up to the level of production these influencers do. In theory, it sounds like a pleasant idea. I'm already taking photos in beautiful locations. Why not monetize it? For one, I'm pretty crap at figuring out how to monetize anything I enjoy. Two, at the risk of sounding entirely self-righteous, I just find the whole travel influencer industry kind of...vapid. That's not to say I don't appreciate a fabulous photo-op here and there. But with travel influencing, we're talking curating photo-ops on a full-time basis— staging photos for the sake of showing the surface-level appeal of a restaurant or resort as your daily graft. No judgment and no shade; I genuinely respect the hustle. But you have to remember, I'm one of the silly ones who needs to feel some higher purpose in how she makes her living. Sometimes, I really wish God would've designed me to love money more. Sigh.
4. Travel isn't all glam
Let me put it nicely. Post-9/11 and post-pandemic, air travel is Stressful with a capital S. And that's not even considering how administratively difficult it is to travel with my 12-year old furbaby. Throughout the 8+ weeks of travel, I had many a moment of crisis, often wondering why I decided to create such upheaval in my life. Technically, there were two reasons: 1) I had lots of friends and family to reunite with after the pandemic and 2) my partner had never been to the U.S. (and it was imperative he learn where I get my crazy from). But the real reason really just boils down to my toxic Sagittarius trait.
5. Though...sometimes it is
All things considered, if there's anything all these stressfulAF flights were good for, it was building up enough Avios points for your girl to finally fly her first long-haul flight in biz-naas baby! Yes, you heard right. Full horizontal bed status. Look at me now playaaa! *Queues the Jack Harlow*
6. Stay vigilant of Escapism
There's something about traveling that makes your everyday problems disappear, at least for a little while. I mean, there’s no point worrying about the faulty boiler when you're 35,000 feet above the Pyrenees. It's not like you can fix anything right then and there. Plus, eventually you'll take a return flight home, and the swarm of notifications that flood your phone the second you touch back down will give you enough anxiety to almost undo all the rest you racked up on that beach in Bali. So why fret now? It's time for freedom.
On that wave, a day after my return to London, I found myself already pining for another takeoff. Though this kind of crept up on me unexpectedly, because for the most part, I like my life. Some years ago, I made a pact with myself that my day-to-day would be something I relished in and looked forward to and not be something I'd wish to escape. So I took some time to really sit with this cruddy feeling, and that’s when I remembered, on my last leg of travel, I spent the flight watching Everything Everywhere All At Once. For those unfamiliar, it's an absurdist comedy-drama about nihlisitic existence, identity in the modern era, and generational trauma. So...kind of funny but also really heavy. Plenty of the themes resonated with me. And I know watching that film impacted my whole vibe the next day. But the reality that I spent some 60-odd days away from home, combined with this feeling of wanting to takeoff again so soon after I got back, made me wonder: is there something I'm trying to escape?
7. Romanticize life every day
To put it concisely, the answer is no, and I'm grateful for that. I don't ever travel because I feel there's something I wish to get away from. I travel because there's something, somewhere, pulling me towards it. But on that day of my post-travel blues, I really had to reflect on what’s preventing me from feeling the same sensations of excitement and wonderment that I feel when I’m globetrotting while I'm at home. This led me to a pretty solid realization: I actually can tap into that globetrotting high even when I’m not on-the-go, but in order to, I must romanticize my life— especially on the humdrum days. Because even when not much has changed in my circumstances, or the exciting things I’m working on feel super slow to bloom, there’s still a lot of cool little things around me that I routinely overlook. It's not that I can’t experience those little moments of ‘holiday’ outside of being on-the-go. It's that I'm choosing not to. So I'm deciding now to cut this out. It's time to commit to reimagining the habitual and slapping a coat of 'fresh perspective' on what's grown familiar.
8. Nothing hits like home
The reality is, I missed London not even ten days into my 60+ day odyssey. So it was pretty cheeky of me to already be dreaming up another trip as soon as I got home. But this is when the romanticizing becomes so important. For me, I've been successful creating enchantment through little things like keeping fresh flowers on rotation, lighting scented candles daily, and tidying my flat every night before bed. They're small things but it allows me to start each day with the sensation of walking into a new "unchartered" space, kind of like how entering a new AirBnb feels. When I can bring to my home the same energy that I bring to some lush foreign boutique hotel, the gap between Anise 'on holiday' and Anise 'at home' drastically narrows, allowing me to feel more authentic and consistent in my expression of self, regardless of whether I'm sitting still or flying high. And that kind of peace, I never wish to escape.
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