Transition Gracefully: Tips On Putting Down The Backpack

Friday, December 10, 2010

Transition. It’s a loaded word. It’s full of uncomfortable situations, decisions, even stress. For some of us, transitioning may come in the form of giving up the globetrotting lifestyle. This certainly isn’t the case with everyone who reads this, but for a significant number of travelers, this is approaching, undergoing, or has already been.

The backpack dust buildup could be a side effect of priorities. Perhaps a bit of settling down, creating a home base for yourself and future travels is beginning to sound welcoming. Those mortgage payments are going to cut into the kava fund (if you catch my drift). Children? Personally, I’m a proponent of providing a worldly education to your offspring, but having junior wallow the nights away in a feet-smelling soufflé of hostel bunkrooms doesn’t sound quite ideal.

The thing is, it’s a phase, transition, a situation. Coming down from the travel lifestyle is just that, a coming down. Coming down doesn’t equate crashing, and using your bag of traveler tricks, you can get through this situation with style and grace — and be the talk of your suburban cul-de-sac.

Vagabondish brought this thought into my mind with their piece about life after backpacking. They offer up five tips that anyone settling into the routine of morning shaves and Wal-Mart runs might need after the trips end. However, the tips offer have one thread of consistency in my opinion: don’t stop traveling.

That sounds foolish to read now that I’ve typed it, since this post is entirely about not traveling. What I’m trying to iterate is the idea of traveling anywhere — especially once you’ve returned home.

Let’s take the first tip offered: Keep Learning About The World. This is an ever-present entity when you are on the road and one of the greatest aspects of traveling itself. There is no reason you can’t continue to keep your world as broad as possible, even when you lack the time to venture more than three miles from your couch.

The second tip is the one in which I have made a point in my own life: Do Some Micro-Traveling In You Own Part Of The World. I’m well aware of the debate surrounding the definition of traveling. I’m from the camp that thinks even a trip to your neighboring town can be considered travel. I see the world as a greatly dynamic place with perspectives everywhere. Traveling to you childhood city with new eyes and an open-mind includes many of the reasons we travel to faraway lands and cultures.  You just need to realize it.

. . . and daydream. Never lose the beautiful practice of possibilities. Ever.

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