My life is extremely strange.
I was looking at Facebook and noticed many of my internet friends posting countdowns to upcoming trips. I also saw a myriad of pictures of places they visited. And I remember that feeling. That countdown to the trip. That rush and bubbling of excitement of what’s happening next. I once posted over 1,200 photos on a Facebook album of my trip in Belgium, Paris, and Amsterdam.
This month I traveled (with crutches and a leg brace) to Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, The Netherlands, and because I’m counting it, we drove through Switzerland. Four friends came to visit. I spoke at a travel conference. I attended another travel conference. I drank elder-flower water on top of a mountain in Söll, Austria. I got pushed in the Frankfurt, Germany airport and I was so tired and drained I just stuck out my tongue. Michael forgot his keys and I had to take a 45-minute train ride that turned into a 4-hour ordeal. I listened to Avicii 1,457 times. We got our car locked up in an Italian parking garage and had to spend the night in a random hotel in Perugia, Italy. I ordered a meal of just cheese in Colmar, France. I sang “Wide Open Spaces” and had tears streaming down my cheeks while passing through the Alps.
This all occurred in the month of May. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t awesome. But I’d be doing the same if I didn’t admit that I’m physically and mentally drained.
Sometimes there’s a lack of accountability on the internet. I am guilty of this. I often paint a picture of total and complete happiness enveloped in a warm candy-colored Lightroom preset. And while traveling most of the time is wonderful, I often leave out some of the hard bits. Travel is definitely part of my work which means I’m working while I’m looking at the view. I’m not complaining, just want to illustrate this line of work. And to be honest, I work a lot.
You might not want to go on a trip and also have to write down notes along the way. And that’s okay! That’s why we’re all different.
I was listening to a podcast today while walking down the street to my physical therapy appointment. It was the Tim Ferriss show (who I worship) interviewing the founder of Bumble (and, to name drop, because why not, my sorority sister) Whitney Wolfe Herd about her success on creating one of the most impactful dating apps that’s now turned into a multi-stream business of Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz. But the topic turned quickly into the crippling fear and depression she went through before creating this app.
The internet is so bizarre on so many levels. A lot of us want success or to be an entrepreneur and find that social media and the internet can give us a great outlet for that, thankfully. But there is a dark side where people can immediately judge what you do based on the sliver we share. Again, I’m guilty of this. I see what people share on Instagram and find jealousy creeping in. I can even be on my own incredible trip and still feel the ping of “oh I wish I was there.”
There’s a sort of Hummingbird Effect with travel and social media. So, the Hummingbird Effect is, and I quote, Steven Johnson and his book How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, “An innovation, or a cluster of innovations, in one field triggers innovation in an entirely different field.” Basically, it’s one decision or link that influences many other decisions, sometimes that seem totally unrelated. On Instagram we often see these picture-perfect scenes and this triggers us to want to go to those places. That subtle nudge urges us to travel or, somehow makes us feel unworthy.
Sometimes we might feel bad simply because we don’t have something epic to share. And I think we forget to pause and grasp what’s happening around us because of the nature of our current world. To me, there is no blame here. This isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just what has happened from this Hummingbird Effect of social media.
Before we moved abroad we thought about being full-time nomads. On the road, hopping from place to place.
And I’m so glad we didn’t.
I have to make time for myself to sit and savor my experiences. I also have to get some work done. And for me, that means sitting at a messy desk with dual monitors and hacking away until the sun goes down. And then maybe a bit more after that.
On Sunday I’m leaving for two weeks. Heading to Greece, Austria, and England. I’m, of course, thrilled. But I’m also learning just how thrilling and satiating it is to be at home. So I guess the point of this post, because really, I hope there is one, is to savor the world around you.
So often I get direct messages or emails of people saying their life just isn’t cool enough or good enough to share. This breaks my heart but is also just not true. We all have something interesting and moving to bring to the table. What you might find ordinary, others might find completely remarkable. In fact, our own history is supported by the thousands before us who made the every day wonderful.
The best part, at least for those reading this, is that we have options. We can choose what we want to eat, wear, go, see, speak to, and more. We can create a life that we love. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be times of sadness or uncertainty. There is no money-back guarantee on our choices in life. You can never know exactly the outcome. Which is why it’s important to create a life you love and try to not let the pangs of “I’m not enough” creep in.
What kind of life would you choose?