Have you ever considered your place in the world? This might sound like a grandiose question, but sometimes we can go through life feeling somewhat aimless and even a little lost. This has certainly happened to me in the past and I explained a little bit about this in my Introduction to Happiness Is… post. I assume this is why so many people travel the world, embarking on an adventure to ‘find themselves’, to experience different walks of life and put their own existence into perspective. For me, undertaking this sort of thing and understanding more about ourselves can lead to a happier life and, if you have visited my blog before, you may know that I am all about finding ways to live my best life.
One of my close friends travelled the world and even studied in the US. Recently, I was reminded of one of our bank holiday beer garden musings. That day, my friend asked me whether I fancied a road trip across her old stomping ground. And so, I got to thinking about what that would actually entail and how it might affect one’s life.
Escaping the Comfort Zone
I personally believe that escaping our comfort zones can bring great benefits, even if it turns out to be something that you wouldn’t repeat. Remember the song “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen”? That song is so relateable and makes me well up every time I hear it. A great line within it tells you to “do something every day that scares you.” Many of us wouldn’t be keen because let’s face it, doing something that scares you is, well, scary. It takes us out of our comfort zone.
This was my immediate reaction to the idea of a road trip. There would be so much to consider and plan, but also so much to experience. Whilst, of course, there are certain sensible precautions to take, flying by the seat of your pants in this way is a great way to figure out your own attitudes and ability to cope under pressure. Tough challenges lead us to learn the hard way and whilst that may not sound appealing, once you have passed through the other side, it makes you tougher and stronger as a person; it builds character.
Practical Life Skills
Preparation and planning may not sound particularly exciting, but learning specific practicalities and getting yourself set up ahead of your journey can give you a sense of order. Humans commonly feel a welcome sense of achievement when completing a to-do list, feeling productive, organised and prepared. While the open road is about embracing a sense of freedom, there are certain rules that we all have to adhere to and for some, we learn the hard way. Not having the essentials such as quilts, pillows, appropriate camping gear and items for the car will certainly be a lesson remembered (you can find more here about those sorts of things). Of course, you would probably want to avoid this if possible. You can learn more here about those type of things and feel assured that having a modicum of practicality within your planning wouldn’t detract from the authenticity of the trip. It is a sensible move to plan accordingly and for those that have been wandering through life without much organisation, this could be just the wakeup call.
As potentially the most beneficial aspect, getting out of your daily routine, traversing different landscapes, and seeing the world can lead you to analyse your own life and who you are within it. It can facilitate a renewed sense of perspective on what is important and take stock of the things you might want to change. All of us get bogged down from time to time, perhaps with bills and other boring stuff. Finding something that gives you that sense of freedom, to make mistakes and to learn what is really important to you in the grand scheme of things is a way to change the way we think and feel.
The open road might do much for our frame of mind, but many of us only hear about it from films. How fantastic to experience it for yourself and return feeling better educated about life, fulfilled and worldly. Of course, you don’t have to go on a road trip to achieve all of these things. However, it is an interesting concept and many people choose this path. My main piece of advice would be to listen to ‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’ periodically. For me, this serves as a reminder that actually, although we are all individuals, we all experience similar struggles and that perspective is a huge part of life and happiness. For those that might want to listen right now, here it is…