I recently came back from a 3-week trip to China. It was one of the most exhilarating, rejuvenating experiences I’ve had in a long time. Being away in a completely different place, practically living an alternate life, has totally renewed my perspective on things.
Describing my time away has been an impossible task because I just have no idea where to begin. (You know when someone asks what your favourite book is and you suddenly forget every book you’ve ever read?) Even this post took me over a week to write – using words to form sentences which best express this explosion of feelings? Impossible!
Though it lasted just under three weeks, it felt like a lifetime. Being immersed in an entirely new world taught me a few lessons which I’ve taken back home with me. They aren’t exclusive to visiting China or even travelling in general; these can definitely apply to simply taking a break away from your usual routine!
Don’t Run Away From The Problem. Walk Away Then Come Back
We’re always told running away from the problem never solved anything, right? Not that I really had any serious problems, but we all have everyday life struggles and worries. Travelling to the other side of the world forced me to leave those worries behind. Being halfway across the planet, there wasn’t much I could do them – so I decided not to dwell on them. They weren’t going anywhere after all.
So for three weeks, I completely forgot about them. It wasn’t difficult since I had plenty of new distractions – delicious food, fantastic sights, a lot of new people and conversations. Without me realising, all the noise and buzz that used to be in my head was disappearing and being replaced with a sense of peace and quiet.
Surprisingly, when I returned home, those small worries didn’t seem so big anymore. After seeing a different side to the world, some worries no longer mattered. And any that did seemed to have relatively clear solutions. Or maybe I had a clearer mind to think of them.
Someone once said: it’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small… Taking a break can help you think more clearly. Take some time to leave behind your problem and don’t think about it at all. A break is like our own little reset button – it allows us to start things over with a fresh canvas.
Focus On Now
A while ago I wrote this post about falling victim to working on autopilot and losing my connection to the present. While I was doing one thing, I was planning how to handle some other task that I needed to do later in the day. When it came to that task, I would then start thinking about the next thing… etc, etc. Whatever task I was meant to be doing, I ended up thinking of something else.
Being in a completely new place, my mind was forced to think about what I was doing now. I needed to be aware of what was happening in front of me – new people, new culture, new way of life – everything was new and demanded my attention.
Three weeks of only thinking in the present and it’s become like a habit. Everything seems a little happier and even ordinary everyday things give me a bit more joy now because I’m fully present for them. It’s a liberating feeling.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
As well as the fun, exciting parts of my holiday, I like to describe the less glamorous parts too. Staying in an old-fashioned area, the local facilities were not quite the same as back home (be thankful for the standard of public washrooms here!). There was a lot of walking and trekking involved (which, as a walk-more-than-drive girl, I personally loved). Also a lot of stair climbing. Add to that a new set of attitudes and some slight culture shock during the first few days, I sometimes worry this takes away from the extraordinary picture I painted earlier.
“Oh, you had to do that? Didn’t that ruin your holiday?” Not one bit! It only added to the experience. The minor downsides made it more meaningful. It made it into a “full experience” where I was allowed to live an entirely different – but very real – life. Maybe it doesn’t fall under “perfect” in the traditional sense. But looking back, it certainly felt perfect to me.
Phew! Do my words make sense? I’m having trouble finding the words to justify everything sufficiently 😛
It sounds like a line out of a novel but it’s the absolute truth. My holiday experience was a completely soul-cleansing adventure and I came back home feeling completely in love with the world and everything about it. How’s that for the ultimate souvenir?
It’s not a feeling I’ll be letting go of very easily. From now, I’ll be making sure I apply everything I’ve learned to everyday life!
But now that I am back, I feel like my heart, heart, heart is so jet lagged.
Just kidding. Although I do miss it over there, there’s definitely no place like home! 🙂