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Last Updated on April 15, 2018 by Work In My Pajamas
The worst situation for any disorganized individual is the moments before leaving for a flight. There’s something we forgot to pack, we’re sure of it. But what is it? We only remember, of course, while on the way to the airport. By that point it’s too late. Thankfully, the one thing I absolutely require on any flight is available at just about every airport in the country. You see, I never get on an airplane without a yellow legal pad. It would be a shame if I were without one when my best ideas come to me.
The mere act of removing ourselves from our typical environments can inspire. Even if it’s just for a couple of days, and even if it’s for business purposes, we can learn a lot about ourselves just by changing the scenery. The confinement of an airplane, while in many ways disconcerting and unnerving, is a great place to mete out all of these thoughts. After all, what else are you going to do while you’re disconnected from the rest of the world? The combination renders travel as a great way to break out of a rut and learn a little something about yourself.
Once an expensive proposition, travel is now cheaply available to anyone. Done right it won’t break your budget. And you can learn plenty from the experience.
Never mind the destination
When you think of travel, what comes to mind? For me, and I’m sure many others, it means a tropical beach, complete with fruity rum drink. This, however, is a luxury that not everyone can afford. While a beach vacation can help clear our heads, they’re not necessary. We can clear our heads at just about any destination as long as it’s not home.
A nifty rule of thumb when planning a personal growth trip: make sure it requires a flight. That’s about it. That can be a 90-minute flight, or it can be a 12-hour one. That is to say, the destination itself is not the object. Getting away from our current environment is the object. If an airline offers a flight there, it’s almost certainly far enough away.
The only note I’d add to the destination aspect is to ensure that it’s different from your home environment. If you live in an urban area, traveling somewhere with trees might be a nice idea — dirt roads are a bonus. If, on the other hand, you’re in a suburban or even rural area, a trip to the city can help change things up.
If you’re not going to take a grandiose tropical vacation, you might as well make it a surprise destination. That leaves at least some element of excitement. There’s also something about spontaneity that gets the blood flowing. Planning can get to be a chore. In fact, it can serve to remind us about our current environment. But going somewhere on a whim? That’s exciting in itself.
The only issue, of course, is that flights can get quite expensive as you get closer to the departure date. So spontaneous is a relative term here. It’s obviously not in your best interests to overpay for a flight. But you can typically find decent flight deals, such as Kulula cheap flights, on travel sites such as Orbitz and Travelocity. Check out some of the rates on hotels; they’re not all that bad, even when not booking that far in advance. That will allow you a little room for spontaneity.
Just a few days
Travel can get expensive, which is one reason that booking close to the trip time helps. Anything that can lower costs helps a ton. Another factor that can help: taking a short trip. This serves you in a few ways. For starters, it helps if it’s difficult to take time off of work. Taking off a Friday for a weekend trip is obviously much easier than taking an entire week off.
Since the object is merely to get away, and not to have some grand experience at the destination, it doesn’t matter if you stay for only a couple of days. That’s enough to sufficiently clear your head, get your actual priorities in order, and learn something about yourself. Plus, as I’ll discuss in the next section, the act of traveling is the best time for discovery.
The plane ride itself
Planning a trip that involves a flight is important for two reasons. The first I mentioned above: it ensures that we’re sufficiently far away from our home environments. The other reason involves the yellow legal pad mentioned above. While I typically scrawl some notes while at the hotel, my biggest revelations have always come on the flight home.
There are plenty of things to do on a flight to occupy yourself. Books are a favorite past time, but nowadays laptops and tablets let us do a bit more. While I’ll always bring along a book, the yellow legal pad occupies all my non-reading time. Perhaps it’s the disconnection with the world. Perhaps its subconscious anxieties of flying in a huge metal tube. Whatever the reason, the thoughts always flow on a return flight. It’s simply a great time to get down thoughts about life that you can’t muster when in your home environment.
Years ago, this kind of travel wasn’t possible. Any trip required a travel agent, and they could be expensive. It was harder to get real-time information on rates, so getting a truly cheap rate was almost impossible. But now, with instantly searchable information and internet-based travel agencies, more people can afford to travel. By looking for the cheapest destinations, rather than the most desirable, we can accomplish all of our ends.
This kind of travel has changed the way I think about life. Those hours spent hurtling through the air, with no company other than a pen and a yellow legal pad, has changed the way I think about life. It can do the same for you, too. We could all use a vacation. Thankfully, it’s completely possible these days.