Change Your Travel Perspective While Adjusting To A New Normal

Chapter 4 and 5 of Don’t Go To Bruges In The Fall. Available Here!

This goes for everything in life, not just traveling. A change in perspective can massively improve your situation. To give you the easiest example; I mentioned earlier that we left home with $13,800. Now? We have $400. We are vastly poorer, and traveling in Europe which is seen as one of the most expensive regions to travel through (broadly speaking). Even the most conservative of estimates put traveling in Europe at $40 a day. That’s 10 days of traveling left! 

Years ago, a somewhat infamous competition took place in a classroom of an Ivy League school. The professor broke the students into groups, gave them $5 each, and told them whichever group could turn that $5 into the most money would win. The groups that did the best disregarded the $5 entirely. (The winning group went around to restaurants, made reservations at their best time slots, and when it rolled around to the time, they sold those reservations to people standing in lines. The runners-up made a bicycle repair station in the middle of the campus with a ‘Donations accepted’ sign.) 

So our perspective isn’t “We used to have so much money and now we only have $400.” But “We have $400, not $0. We can do so many things with $400!”

There is a housesit north of us in Italy, for two months. It’s fairly strange as far as housesits go because instead of taking care of a pet, we’d be there to be a friend to the home owner’s parent. That’s it. They’ll cook, give you your own apartment, and all you’re required to do is have dinner with the parent every night. Isn’t that why people go traveling? To meet people? To exchange ideas across amazing food? If we were to housesit there, we would have no rent, no food costs, and be allowed to work on our own projects while having the privilege of dining with someone every evening. So, how poor are we?

It can be difficult to change your perspective because it’s not always about money. Sometimes it’s about readjusting. It’s about your New Normal.

Chapter 5: New Normal

This is something that gets thrown around often, especially around people who have undergone some type of experience, whether amazing, traumatic, or generally foreign to their life. They have to readjust to a ‘New Normal.’

To survive as a traveler, it’s not just about changing your perspective but accepting a new normal. 

How many people do you know often sleep on the floor of strangers’ houses? Or sleep on the beach, in parks, rooftops, or under monuments? How many people eat culturally different food every night? How many people took a train to the wrong country? How many were almost shot by the Chinese army? How many shared a cab with six strangers on an island off the coast of Tunisia? 

As you travel, your level of normal will change drastically. Sometimes it will feel like it’s for the worse. “I use to sleep in a bed and wake up when I wanted, now I sleep on the floor and wake up when my host has to leave.”

The best way to handle this is to let it happen. And learn to appreciate new adventures in ways you didn’t imagine happening. 

Thomas Wolfe once said, “You can’t go home again.” He doesn’t mean you can’t go back to where you came from, but the person who goes back won’t be the one who left.

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