Fellow wanderlusters, you know this situation all too well. You're at your job, shooting off emails and being productive, but you're also simultaneously cruising the Expedia homepage.
You're scanning flight routes, testing out different departure and arrival dates for dream destinations and feeling a little more restless at your desk than you normally do.
Early June was my time of feeling this way. I think summer in general is a hard season to be at a desk job.
I’m lucky enough to have a window in my office, but this can also be torturous at times. Seeing the sunlight shining in during a beautiful day outside, while I’m staring at my computer, is tough.
It was time for a trip.
My aunt, uncle and cousin live in Northern California. They are extremely innovative, spontaneous, kind and welcoming people. My aunt and uncle are an artist-design team, and have many wonderful friends in the writing and arts world. This is a world I am determined to get further involved in.
I love talking to them about their experiences, and I hardly get to see them. That, combined with the the few days off I had left, was reason enough to book a flight. Four and a half days? I’ll take it.
It was a short trip, but a necessary one. I think travel, even for a small amount of time, helps us rediscover certain lessons that are so straightforward and valuable, but can easily get lost in the shuffle of our busy lives.
Here are three big insights I relearned during my time in California:
1. Be well: Try to practice healthy habits every day, no matter how small.
After a long day of work and commuting to her internship in San Francisco, my cousin Aili comes home and cooks amazing, simple, healthy meals. I stayed with her for a couple of days before we went to Sebastopol, where my aunt and uncle live.
While together, we had the best food: fresh kale, eggs, amazing chicken seasoned with some salt and pepper and the best oatmeal and honey combination I’ll probably ever have.
We also would take walks around her neighborhood, to talk and unwind after a long day of exploring the city.
Even as a rising junior in college, Aili is already practicing healthy and responsible habits that will treat her well in the long run. How we take care of our bodies is so important, and the earlier we start, the better.
Whether it’s going for a run after work, walking to the grocery store to buy some fresh food even if you don’t feel like it (I loathe grocery shopping.) or even sitting outside to get some fresh air, each seemingly small, healthy habit we build into our days benefits us.
2. Be curious: Find out and utilize family connections for networking.
Often, no one knows you better than your family. So why not take advantage of that when networking? Your family has your back and wants you to succeed and find happiness, in both your social life and your career.
I vaguely knew of a family connection I had with the author, Kelly Corrigan. My uncle and her went to the same high school, and still remain close, even though she lives in the Bay Area now.
After getting her information, I introduced myself through email and let her know I would be in town. I love Kelly’s books and recently read her novel "Glitter and Glue," which is about her travels to Australia with one of her best friends. Being a writer and lover of travel, I wanted to pick her brain about her experiences.
I was not only able to meet Kelly, but she was kind enough to invite me to her home. We had coffee and chatted for over two hours about travel, writing advice and funny stories.
So just ask.
Ask your family for career advice if you’re looking for guidance. They may have connections you have no idea about. Use relatives’ wisdom and expertise to help you meet new people and achieve your goals.
3. Be bold: Life is too short to not do what you want to do.
This is a direct quote from my aunt, while we were picking apples in her backyard in Sebastopol, and talking about our passion for travel.
She told me about a time during one of her first jobs, where she sat her boss down and stated she was leaving for a bike tour through Europe. She noted she would be sad to leave the company, but felt she had to do this.
It takes courage to follow your dreams and make sure you’re living life on your own terms.
There are people out there who are content in their current careers, and will live long, happy and fulfilled lives. But there are also some who experience that feeling of wanderlust daily, but haven’t had the chance to act on it quite yet.
And then, there are those who are currently off the grid: hiking Mount Everest, scuba diving off an Australian coast, boarding a plane to South America. These world travelers are not sure of their greater plan, but they are loving every second of the present adventure.
Taking sound advice from your close friends, family and colleagues is one thing, but it’s certainly another to constantly try and meet other's expectations of what they feel you “should” be doing.
Everyone is different. There will never be another person exactly like you.
How cool is that? We owe it to ourselves to embrace that uniqueness and explore it.
This way, we really get to know ourselves and understand what we, as individuals, deeply desire out of life.