I recently took a trip to New York City that brought a lot of notions about “travel” to the forefront. The expense, the absence, the stress… Is it worth it? I suppose, from my previous situation of more means, I had never thought of it in such a make-or-break way.
Chasing a dream and running a new business yields a limited budget. I have to scrutinize what I spend my money on. I planned the excursion prior to really knowing how tight funds were. Before embarking, my thoughts were not on wonderful outcomes of seeing my brother or accompanying my father on his first-ever flight. They were of guilt – leaving behind cash-generating work and heading towards extra spending.
A few things happened that forced a tilt in perspective, and I am grateful.
Pre-trip, I had a long conversation with my husband. Accounting and Financing 101. Cutting back on restaurants and shows. Saving coupons for the grocery store. Consigning clothes online. For all the material possessions I am willing to part with and the services I am willing to do without temporarily, I could not say the same about travel. I realized that other than normal bills, savings and spending, the only thing I readily must accumulate for is travel. I basically, in all my self-sacrifice, said to Joe – No, I do not abide. Travel is my ultimate commodity. And that simple but powerful revelation carves out a big determinant for my income goals.
During the trip, I soon forgot all about my woes. I mean, I was conscientious, but I was not worried. I let go and embraced the family, the scenery, the manageable indulgences. On my last day, kind of recapping the fun and starting to say goodbyes, a friend asked me if I had ever been interested in living somewhere other than South Carolina. Of course, I have. But the timing has never been right, and I am not one for regret. As I explained to her my satisfaction with home life, I also had to point out that that satisfaction actually depended on my ability to travel – that I would still see the world, that my curiosity and love for other places would never cease. Revelation number two became very clear.
Post-trip, I returned with a reinvigoration for all things home, work and routine. A bolster we all seem to need from time to time. I appreciated my husband and his subtle sweetness. I missed my dog and his hype. I enjoyed my bed and my pillow and slept soundly. Things were familiar but more special, because my heart did grow fonder. Heaping revelation number three!
In my typical thought experiment, I like to summarize an entire trip into one word. This time NYC was PROVOCATIVE – incendiary and alluring. I cannot imagine having missed it. And I have maintained a fantastic residual attitude for nearly two weeks.
Most people would say travel is amazing. I’m just glad I took it a step further and have now identified how necessary it is for my well-being.