It’s been a little over two weeks now in Bali, but the amount of time since I last slept/socialized/shat in America seems so intangible.
Along my various walks to coffee shops and restaurants, I’ve thought a lot about emotional patterns and what emotions I typically experience on a bi/weekly basis: happiness, gratitude, insecurity, tiredness, irritation, anxiousness, laughter, inspiration, discouragement, doubt, etc. During the first few days, I was in entire culture shock and awe of everything that is Bali. But now, only 2 weeks in, I see myself running through the same patterns that I ran through day-in-day-out.
I guess what I am alluding to is that many people, myself included, view travel as an escape, a chance to get away from it all, to relax, to experience paradise and bliss, to vanquish worries. While it certainly is true that a foreign country will likely introduce me to new things and cultural discrepancies, I elicit the same palette of emotional responses on an exotic island thousands of miles away from home that I would at my old desk at ISBX. If anything, traveling amplifies and intensifies ALL of the emotions that I feel (not just the positive ones). I am more happy and grateful that I am on this wonderful journey, more inspired by eclectic and accomplished travelers, more insecure about social comparison and my place in the world, more irritated about fucking mosquito bites and the lack of creature comforts, more anxious about walking down dark streets at night and getting to my next destination, etc. Travel has certainly been a way to get away from my old routines, but I do not find that it is an escape or pause in any shape or form from my emotions. It does however, shed light on all of the different ways I feel and why I feel them, and perhaps what I want to feel more consistently.
Without a doubt though, traveling provides a sense of adventure and discovery (both sensory and introspectively) that being in a regular routine does not. This has been a good and a bad thing. Some days so far have been magically unplanned and amazing, others uneventful and calm. It is a strange feeling not knowing where a corner or street will lead, or how a conversation or restaurant or hotel will turn out, and venturing regardless. On the flip side, it is nice not having to figure out where you will have to live and sleep and eat, or a mode of transportation, not having to pack up your shit and unpack again every few days, having regular contact with the same set of friends and family, having a general plan and outline for your days. To anyone hating on routine, I definitely know where you are coming from, and/but there are huge benefits that you don’t realize until you break those routines.