Travel: The [Magical] In-Between

There is so much talk about what occurs or occurred during a travel experience. Typically conversations and travel blogs dish on all of the vacay happenings and perhaps move on to discussing what is next on their travel horizon…but, not much is said about the in-between. ¬†When this is in fact THE most important part. Quite possibly the only reference to the in-between relates to post-vacay blues, but I am here to shift the blues perspective and think of the in-between as our bodies and our brains processing a magical experience – it creates ALL the feels! Let me explain…

We have an awesome trip/vacation/travel experience – whatever you might call it, then we return home, get busy with life and we’re usually on to the next – or at least booking out ahead so we have something to look forward to! Anyone relate? But, what often gets ignored is everything stirring after we travel. The in-between. That is really where the magic happens. Sure, our travels were most likely exciting, invigorating, perhaps educational…usually life-changing in some way, but it’s the intrinsic processing of a travel experience where the real benefits are coursing through our veins.

The science is overwhelming – travel has an impact on our cognitive abilities, our physical and physiological well-being. It happens without us even knowing what’s going on! Which is even more remarkable. We must be careful though. When the travel bug hits – we are so focused on what’s ahead, when we’re going to get our next fix, or perhaps we just get thrown back into the chaos – that we don’t take the time to reflect on what we just experienced…

When I return from a new city or simply somewhere that is not my typical routine/environment, I feel a shift…noticing the littlest things, so little that if I am not careful, I might just miss them. It’s a combination of being changed from a recent experience as well as the ability to be present. To turn my post-vacay blues into gratitude. I take a walk outside and notice the trees. They look greener. Sites and landmarks that I might take for granted, because they are a staple of my every day life, suddenly become more noticeable. I have a deeper appreciation for the lakes, admiring someone paddle over over mirror-like water, the sound of birds chirping, a friendly stranger saying good morning. I might be more inclined to eat some of the foods I had enjoyed during my travels – re-energized to bring my foodie experiences into my own home and everyday life. Perhaps I walk more (since studies show we are more physically active when we travel!).

Sure – the beginnings of these shifts are happening while we are traveling, but most of the magic occurs during the in-between. Recognizing that life is more than busy soccer schedules, job responsibilities and so on, but rather moments to sit on a bench and enjoy the silence. To finish the last few chapters of a book we were reading. To journal or listen to music – whatever it is. The understanding that there’s another culture on the other side of the world that knows nothing about life with a Target or crazy sport schedules. The experience that forced us to slow down, to be in awe, or feel more open. These are the tidbits that we must re-introduce into every day life. It’s not so much the experience itself, but the reflection of the experience where we begin feeling healthier and more creative.

Sure, travel is broadening and eye-opening, but what does it matter if we don’t actually process our experiences when we return home? Infusing our daily lives with these small shifts – this is what travel is really about.

These are what make travel truly life-changing.

What do you think?!

Happy #wildbumming.

Mollie Krengel

Mollie Krengel