I wouldn’t say I’m a naturally negative person, but I’m certainly the type to get bogged down in the minutiae of life. I get annoyed at a rubbish commute, I get frustrated with work and I get tired at the end of a long week. I’m the sort of person that isn’t thinking about a glass half empty, but will text my friends to moan about the things gone by.
I love my life, but sometimes it’s easy to only see the negative.
There are many ways to get outside your own head – to take a step back and relax and let the world wash over you. Some people choose exercise for endorphins, some people like to practice yoga to get into a more meditative state. Very many hobbies might improve your mental health or your concept of self care. But for me I love to travel, because in my life, travelling inspires positivity.
For many years, as I have mentioned before, I never prioritised travel. Early on in my twenties I prioritised spending the little money I had on my wedding and then saving for a house. And when I eventually managed to buy a house of course that made me happy. It gave me a sense of comfort. But it also gave me many worries too – consistently paying the expensive mortgage and keeping up with renovations.
There was a period in my life when I actually favoured exercise. In fact, I exercised so much that it became an obsession for me – not just because of how it made me feel but because of how it made me look. I was the strongest and the slimmest I had ever been and on the face of it I was happy. But I needed to exercise more and more in order to create this illusion of joy, and I started to realise after some time that chasing the ideal wasn’t impacting my mindset positively at all.Travel has enabled me to do so many things - but most of all, travelling inspires positivity.Click To Tweet
And then, more recently I prioritised work. Oh how I worked. It drove me and I drove it – my career was all consuming. It meant everything to me and I climbed the ladder and created an incredible CV of fairly tough positions and a reputation to match. When I worked late at night, it didn’t bother me, and when I worked through weekends I thought nothing of it. The plaudits kept coming, and I missed how toxic my relationship with work had become.
I barely took time off to sleep, let alone pay attention to my other interests and important things in my life. In fact I worked consistently through my once in a lifetime holiday to Cuba. Until, I finally took time off (just two days) to spend a weekend in Oslo with my husband.
And it changed everything.
We walked hand in hand along the snow lined streets, and laughed as we almost froze half to death on a boat trip around the fjords. We huddled up with hot chocolates whilst watching the world go by and we explored until our hearts were so full we could barely keep the smiles off our cold, tired faces. I didn’t check in with work once.
So this is what life was all about.
The fact is, I know I have a somewhat addictive personality. I have a tendency to become singleminded in my approach to life. I’m either all work, or all exercise or all money worries or all something else. When I look back at these periods of my life, I realise how there was always one thing dominating in my life to the detriment of other important things. Of course work, money, health, family, leisure – all are important. And all are in balance.
What is clear to me is that the weekend in Oslo opened my eyes to a unknown concept in my life – that my life is a puzzle, and all the pieces need to fit together to find true happiness. Of course I can up my work hours to meet a need, or prioritise saving for a renovation – but not to the exclusion of everything else. I know that a balanced life is a healthy and happy life – and that travelling has sparked that positivity. And continually travelling inspires positivity in me.
When I’m consumed by work, I know that I can go exploring, even just for a day to get my balance back. And although I know that my life puts me in a position of privilege – I have a financial freedom to make decisions about how I spend my time – travelling doesn’t have to be a big expensive thing. Making travel the consistent thread in my life has taught me that small escapes are important. Walking in a new park, taking a cheap train ticket to a city an hour away or even looking back at all the memories I have created can give me a jolt of positivity in somewhat bleaker times.
Before I prioritised travel I had no way of really understanding what was important. I was too blinkered. But now, I know how to deal with any negative behaviour in my life – I only need to look beyond my own horizon.