It’s the spring of 2010. I have a very strong memory of sitting on the steps of a Synagogue outside a little park in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC. Eric and I, just a year and half into our relationship, had walked over from his house to check out the market, which occasionally popped up to serve amazing Korean food.
As we sat on those steps, people watching and eating bibimbap out of the styrofoam box covered tin foil that it was handed to us in, we talked about our dreams of seeing the world, like we so often did. I was 26 years old, and my wanderlust felt like it might take over and carry me away. I craved adventure, and I wanted more than anything for all those adventures to happen with the man sitting next to me on those stairs.
As we ran through all the places at the top of each of our bucket lists, we made a promise to each other that we would start taking one international trip together every year. We talked about how much money we need to save, how much vacation time I would need to save up, and if we were both willing to give up holidays with families in order to maximize the time we had away from work.
Then we made a decision – that Christmas we’d go to Cuba. Eric had already been, but since that’s where his Mom’s family was from, he wanted us to go together.
All the way home we walked and talked excitedly about our plans and impending adventure. For a brief moment, I had that feeling of “finally”.
But shortly after that conversation, life happened.
That year Eric lost both his Aubelo and Aubela to long, drawn out illnesses. During that time, we felt like we were just trying to survive. The last thing on our mind was travel. All dreams of Cuba were on the back burner.
When 2011 rolled around, we felt like we had made it through the hardest of times, and we were ready to start exploring the idea of long-term international travel. But at that point, we were still a year and a half away from truly figuring out how to make it work. One thing we knew for sure was that adventure couldn’t wait. We had to find ways to satisfy that wanderlust, or risk going crazy.
How We kept Our Wanderlust In Check
We took lots of mini weekend trips to go on day hikes or go to things that like the Blueberry Festival in the Shendoahah Valley, where everything is made with Blueberry and you can even drink Blueberry beer.
Eric bought a kite, and we packed a picnic. After attempting to fly the kite on the National Mall, we sat by the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial and sipped wine from plastic cups.
We trained for and ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. (Doing something like this together, pushes you and expands your comfort zone, just like traveling together does.)
We took a writer’s workshop one weekend at our favorite B&B in Floyd, VA.
We tried new restaurants. You name the type of food we tried it – Ethiopian, Indian, Burmese, and Nepalese. (While we would have rather been eating those dishes in the countries themselves, it filled some of that void.)
We went to museums like the Freer Sackler Gallery of Art, which is the National Museum of Asian Art.
We watched foreign films at Indie movie theaters.
We constantly looked for new things to do in DC that we had never done before. (I know, this is easier in DC than it is in some places, but no matter where you live, there’s most likely things you’ve never tried or done within a reasonable driving distance.)
We watched documentaries like 180° South
No Adventure is Ever Too Small
What I didn’t realize at the time, is that by doing all these things, I truly started appreciating life. Something that doesn’t just happen if you start traveling. Even now, although our life is different, if we get too caught up in the stressors of everything that needs to get done (or that is not getting done), we stop appreciating life. Living in the moment is a key aspect of getting the most out of your adventure, wherever you are. It’s also the hardest part. This is something I’m still working on.
The ability to let go and fully experience what’s before you, in this moment, takes practice. So start wherever you are now, at this point in your life today.
Your wanderlust and your sense of adventure can drive you, and help you move towards what you ultimately want out of your life. But your lack of adventure in your current state shouldn’t make you standstill and wait.
Finding ways to bring adventure into your everyday life with your partner can renew your relationship and help the two of you think beyond the life you currently have. It pushes you to expand what you think is possible for the life you have together. Each adventure, no matter how small, changes you. And in turn, it changes your relationship, hopefully for the better.
So if your life situation makes it hard for you to go out and explore the world in the way you want to, go out and explore your neighborhood, your city, your state, and surrounding states. Do what you can now and start planning for later.
P.S. – Inspired by this blog post and want more? Join me along with 8 other life coaches in this free telesummit on everyday courage! I’ll be talking specifically about creating big life change! You can register here.