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What I Noticed from 5 Months Without Travel

What I Noticed from 5 Months Without Travel

Last week, I boarded a flight from SFO to MCO for an annual 4th of July reunion with family, and it was the first time I’d stepped foot on a plane since February.

Which, as you all well know, is the longest gap of time I haven’t changed locations in more than 8 years.

All for good reason – as I’m proud to share that we are now connecting almost a million people around the world on our mission to create access to international products and travel for anyone (still hiring!) over at Grabr – but nevertheless, staying grounded to focus on diving in has been an interesting experiment for me on a personal level.

As I’ve been exploring a rhythm quite different than my recent norm, here are a few things I’ve noticed from 5 months without travel:

Creating routines with friends is one of life’s finest little pleasures.

The most motivating thing for me about frequent motion is new connections made at every turn. The pitfall then, of course, is that those connections continue around their turns, and creating repeat memories can take a lot of work (often thousands of miles). Being able to ping a friend for impromptu plans – and then see them again the next week – and the week after that – is truly a treasure. This has been so pleasant to enjoy.

Investing in where you recharge makes all the difference.

Through many a life change, my apartment in San Francisco has been a steady home base for more than 5 years, yet it’s safe to say that my college dorm room was cozier by a landslide. Being around for months on end has created space for things like browsing home decor and slowly upgrading my basecamp. I’ve made a couple small investments – like a rug and new pillows – that make a huge difference in how I experience time at home. I’ve even kept my first-ever plants alive – 4 months and counting!

It is critical to create space for inspiration and curiosity.

Lacking the inherent shifts in perspective that comes from constantly shifting your location, after a couple of months without motion, I found myself lethargic and lacking inspiration. (See: haven’t posted on the ‘gram in MONTHS.) Which is ridiculous because San Francisco is one of the world’s most vibrant, diverse and energizing cities.

With this in mind, I’ve started getting intentional about exploring new ways to feed my curiosity locally – leveling up with lots of growth and marketing courses, always trying new gym studios, a rotating wardrobe subscription, frequent road trips and hikes, impromptu recipes and creative projects, skincare routines, new playlists, etc.

—> What are your favorite tips to shift your worldview and keep your curiosity piqued at home?

Your environment is your reality.

One of the most obvious but shocking things I notice regularly is how impactful environment is on personal happiness. San Francisco is a dreamy bubble of a city, buildings plated in gold and streets dripping in opportunity – but in a place where everyone strives for the most, the world is never enough. In a city full of the 1%, I can count on one hand the number of conversations I’ve had in the past 5 months where someone mentioned how happy they are or how lovely life is. (If this is you, let’s hang!) On the road, these conversations happened daily.

It’s been a clear reminder that happiness is a choice, and your environment is your reality. Why not choose happiness?

Finding joy in the familiar.

On that note – contrary to inspiration drawn from exploring the unknown, for me, finding joy in the familiar is an acquired skill. One that requires actual practice. I’ve also been intentional about re-acquainting with my neighborhood baristas, grocery clerks, restaurants and light patterns around the city at different times during my commute, welcoming joy in the small moments “in between.” This has also been an important and welcomed reminder.

As for now, this experiment’s up and I’m off to Moscow for a week to work on our data infrastructure and finally jam with some of our team in person after 2.5 years across oceans on Slack – which I couldn’t be more excited about.

What are some things you’ve noticed from extended time at home or away?

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