Lessons Learned by Not Leaving the Country.

Fresh & Fancy Farms

Lessons Learned by Not Leaving the Country.

It’s official, summer is over and the first day of autumn has arrived, at least in the Northern hemisphere. The kids are back in school, the leaves are just beginning to change, and pumpkin spice is in everything from cornbread to beer; my favorite season is upon us.

Fall is coming

Still, as in love with autumn as I am, its arrival has confirmed that for the first time since 2009, I stayed in the country for the summer months. I can’t say I didn’t travel, because I did take small road trips, but it is strange that the last time I was on a plane was in May.

I can’t complain, I’ve seen more of the world than most people my age, especially most Americans. Plus, this past year, I’ve traveled a lot, so it’s hard to justify being sad about my summer trip not happening. On the other hand, of course, I’m upset because the plans I had never happened. This time last year, I was scheming my big summer trip and to realize that I never left the country is sometimes hard to come to terms with.

As a teacher, summer is prime time for me to travel. Those two months off are perfect to take advantage of and get out there and see the world. In that time, I usually am able to add multiple countries and continents to my list. This summer was set up to be my biggest yet, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me, as event after event destroyed all of my plans. It was difficult to admit that I wasn’t going to wind up going anywhere, but there were many lessons learned by not leaving the country.

Lessons learned

While trapped at home, I realized that I didn’t have to travel around the world to have fun or learn something new about myself. For many of the years I had traveled, I was using my time away as my escape, since my day to day life was not something I was in love with.

But, just this spring, after several events in my personal life, I began to develop a gratitude for the life I had at home, one that made me not want to escape. The trip this summer was no longer about running away, but instead something I wanted to do, something I was excited about. What I didn’t realize at the time was that through my new-found gratitude for home, I’d find a deeper understanding for my life by being stuck in the United States for the summer.

4th of July at home

The biggest lesson I learned was that it’s important to take care of my finances. I’m not one to worry about a budget while traveling, and when everything is going well that’s fine, but as I learned with this experience, it’s more important than I thought. I lost a lot of money when my trip fell apart, and I didn’t budget enough to fix it, plus as a teacher, I don’t get paid over the summer. All of these issues combined, proved disastrous for my summer plans, but it taught me a valuable lesson, and from now on, my finances some first. My goals for the autumn are to pay off any debts that I have, and then focus on saving my money, not only for more travel experiences, but also for some investments here at home.

Friends are the very best

I also was able to learn who my true friends were through this experience. During that first week when all of my problems erupted, so many people reached out and were there to offer kind words and support. These people were my rock during that time, and I don’t know how I would have made it through without them.

It’s amazing that when something goes wrong, or there’s a bump in the road, you realize who is there for you and who has your back. From friends who had been by my side for years to ones I barely knew, so many offered a helping hand, an ear to listen, or plan to get me out of the house and distract me from the issues at hand. I am so grateful to have people like this in my life, even if it also made me aware of all the people who didn’t reach out.

Fresh & Fancy Farms

Finally, I have learned that there’s something so nice about taking time to relax and spend time with family and friends. This past summer gave me much needed relaxation time that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I spent a lot of the school year traveling, and it was nice to get the chance to catch up on sleep and get back to properly taking care of myself. I completely changed my diet to eliminate processed food and sugars, and I am exercising on a regular basis. I feel like an entirely new person this school year, and by not escaping and dealing with issues here at home, I made myself a happier person.

cousins

When all of this happened, it was at a time in my life where I was feeling really off-centered. I figured travel would fix my problems and cure me of my negativity, but what I learned was that by staying home and really taking care of myself, I was able to get back on track. In fact, it’s been a while since I have been as happy as I currently am, and I have an energy that I haven’t had in years. It’s exactly the opposite reaction I thought would have happened from all my troubles, but I’m so glad to be where I am at the moment.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t always have to escape or travel around the world to find myself or to find happiness. It’s deep inside of me, and it always will be no matter where I am or who I am with. Sometimes we need some one-on-one time with ourselves to really recenter and remember that it’s important to take care of ourselves.

While it wasn’t my ideal summer, and I have no incredible stories of far off lands to tell, I know that I still have plenty of the world to see and so much time to see it. Plus, now that I’m in a better place mentally, I think it will mean that much more when I get there, especially after all I’ve been through.

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Comments (11)

  1. Lance | Trips By Lance

    Very happy to read this post. You’ve been on my mind since everything fell apart with the trip. And I wish I would’ve known all that was going on when you ended up sending me a guest post about New York. That timing couldn’t have been great for you to be writing something for me while worrying about your trip. I’ve enjoyed seeing you off on the regional outdoors adventures. I’ve learned recently that everyone has their travel limits as far as frequency and I’ve reached mine this year. I’m glad you aren’t viewing travel as an escape. I hope you find a way to just make travel part of a life you enjoy. And yes, those finances are important. Better to realize that now than at an older age when you’re in major debt that is hard to recover from.

  2. Alex

    Sorry to hear that your trip fell through, but gaining an appreciation for home is always a good thing. I’m sure your loved ones were happy to have you close to celebrate the summer months!

  3. Christian @ Say Hello To America

    You’re an extremely wise girl! Loved this post and reminded me that I should heed some of this same advice.

  4. lola

    I’m so sad that our trip together didn’t happen. Also, that I couldn’t be here to help cheer you up. I’m not surprised that you ended up making the most of the situation and learning things about yourself. You are a very smart girl! And someone I admire so much. I want a do-over for the Mongol Rally with you though…please say yes 🙂

  5. Annie of TravelShus

    So glad to read this. I thought a lot about what happened to you a lot this summer and what it must have felt like. But I was happy to see you hiking and doing great things locally and making the most of the time off. Too bad we never found a chance to hang out though!

    too more adventures, home and away!

  6. Traveling Ted

    Was sad to hear about your misfortunes, but very impressed that you sucked it up and did not turn into the World Whiner. I can definitely relate how it would feel to relax for once and get your finances in gear. I need to do both myself.

  7. Paper Boat Sailor

    Lovely thoughts. Travel really isn’t just about physical movement–I travel through books, stories people tell me, and the cuisines I try from different countries. And sometimes, like you felt gratitude for the place you’re from, I go back home after a long time and see how it has changed and become a little unfamiliar to me, and this gives me the opportunity to discover something new.

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