Lately when I look at Instagram, my thoughts are, "I want to be there" – there being wherever some person I follow is currently adventuring.
Social media has the power to transport us to places, expose us to people and cultures. But the statement that often follows the former is, "Not here." I want to be in London, in Copenhagen, in Tokyo, not home in Atlanta. But we are here, not there.
Travel matters. I am all for travel. I love every step of the process – the dreaming, the research, the planning, the experiencing, the reminiscing.
We live in an age where travel is more accessible and seamless than ever. Through the power of Airbnb, Google, and Instagram, I planned a whirlwind adventure of nine countries in eight weeks. There’s so much to discover, and even after criss-crossing Europe, I still ache for all the things I didn’t get to experience.
Every few days I pause, and it hits me – It’s been a week since I was sitting in a café in Paris....now its been two weeks... three weeks... and on and on. Last week, I was astounded that two months had passed since my European adventure concluded. I start counting time in this way – B.T. and A.T.: before-travel and after-travel. Pictures bring back the same longing: glossy and momentous, I feel drawn back to “there.”
Travel-reminiscing and the travel inspiration around us can easily become consuming. Its where our minds wander, our fingers click. Dreaming of ‘there’ sounds a lot more appealing than our lives ‘here’ where we have laundry to fold, 9 to 5’s, and bills to pay.
But being present in the here matters because it's where we work and create and have the opportunity to impact the people we interact with day in, day out. We may have meaningful experiences while traveling, but it’s in the ‘here’ that we have build community, do the hard things in life, and practice diligence.
There’s a new travel magazine called Here. (Check it out – it’s pretty spectacular) How do they describe ‘here’? “The state of being between where you are and where you're going.” It’s a lull of sorts. At first I had trouble grasping the first half of the tagline. Isn’t where you are ‘here’?
But I think I get it.
They've redefined the word, but I like it better than my previous definition. There’s where I am and there’s where I want to be, where I will go, and then I am here. It’s embracing some of the sweetest parts of travel – the dreaming of potential destinations and the reminiscing on the past ones – while still being present. Take your adventurous spirit, your dreaming and curiosity and apply it to here. It’s a traveler’s mentality while being a resident of your neighborhood, your station, your city.
Travel well, friend. But here is where you are called to be, and before you fixate on adding a stamp to your passport, learn to be here well.