Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Got the Bug

The travel bug....

I'm not a huge fan of going to the gym. I find it uninspiring and in most weather conditions I would prefer to run outside. But due to a nagging hip pain (probably from running too many miles in one week) I am stuck on the stationary bike for at least 45 minutes so I can keep my legs moving and break at least an ounce of a sweat.

That being said, my bike ride was surprisingly inspiring this morning. To my delight, I was the only gym goer this morning in my apartment complex and I got full control of the TV remote! Now I do not own a TV of my own so it is always difficult to decide what I want to indulge in while working out. It's usually a toss up between Food Network, Say Yes To the Dress marathons, Cake Boss, or my oh so favorite Travel Channel. Usually my gut will tell me what will entertain me during 45 minutes of monotonous cycling and today it was the Travel Channel.

They were featuring the best natural wonders of the west in the United States. And as they counted down, I was excited to see that I had been to a few of them. Suddenly, I was deeply immersed in memories of the places I have visited before, yearning to go back and dreaming of the new places I could travel to. And this was strong yearning, a need to get out there and go!

It reminded me how much I miss traveling. My husband A and I got to see some of the coolest parts of the U.S. while living in our tent and driving around the country. And now having been sitting still for about 8 or 9 months, in a small, urban, Midwestern town I am craving some new sites and some new adventures.

If I'm completely honest, I've allowed my self to get comfortable here. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I've created a home that I like and I've pulled a lot of inspiration from my experiences here. But, the program really got me thinking about my past experiences and how much I have grown and changed from seeing the world and meeting people of all cultures. There is something so exhilarating about going someplace new and really taking in the essence of where you are. When I see an image of Arches National Park, I not only remember what it looked like, but I know how it felt to sit on the cool, slick red rock as the sun was setting over Delicate Arch. When I see a picture of the Grand Canyon, I not only remember the vastness, but know what the dust smelled and tasted like. I felt the triumph of taking someone without the ability to walk on the trail in the Kili-Kart (another story for another day...but you can take a look at this video if you want to know about our trip.)

I know there is a reason I have this bug right now. There is purpose out there for me and A. There's a reason why the open road calls us and the 4 corners of the world are so appealing. We just haven't figured out all the answers yet. But I feel a shift in what my purpose is in this world and I can tell that A is feeling the same. Things could get interesting from here!

But when you have to stay still for a little bit longer and carry out some important promises, how do you stay focused and not get too distracted by the bug?

Well first, I say never be afraid to think about the outside possibilities and allow them to affect you. One of the things that always gives me hope and a sense of freedom, is that no matter how "stuck" I think I am, I'm never really "stuck." There are always options that seem invisible because of fear or because others make us think that those options are crazy or impossible. This was something I struggled with for a long time and still do sometimes. But ultimately, you have to figure out what makes you happy. And the people that love you and care about you will help you realize those things. They won't hold you back. Don't be afraid to let what you want affect you. Seize it.

I also like to get inspired by travel shows (One of my favorites is Anthony Bourdain No Reservations), movies, books (Into the Wild, Travels with Charlie, and Three Cups of Tea), magazines, and old photographs from my own travels. That's a great way to reminisce and think about things you want to do to keep you inspired if you're currently in an uninspiring situation. I've uploaded some of my favorite shots to maybe help inspire others!

Parked on the scenic road that travels though Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Traveling Pacific Highway 1 on the central coast of California

Hiking the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park with a group of 30 incredible counselors assisting our friend who can't walk in a trail device to the mighty Colorado River

Stopping to see some inspirational folk art in the quirky town of Lucas, Kansas 

Backpacking down Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park in Utah

Doing an arc in front of the Arch at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah

I'm not saying you should spend all your time day dreaming about places you want to go, because I am a huge advocate of living in the present and finding inspiration where we are, but we should be dreaming big! A great adventure can often start with just a notion. And today I am allowing myself to indulge in these notions because I know if I believe in them strong enough, they will happen in some way or another :) I've made them happen before...

As Henry David Thoreau so wisely stated: 

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."

What will your direction be?

BPositive and BBold and Dream!


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