Travel is an Opportunity to be Someone New: My Adventures in Amsterdam (Pt. 1)
I awoke to a view of a lusciously green courtyard, a coffee press with no milk, and my partner, Tim, doing Wim Hoff breathing exercises in the living room of the apartment we rented in Amsterdam. It's our first official day here, as we arrived yesterday after a 6 1/2 hour flight, jet lagged and too exhausted to notice the beauty of our new surroundings. After a proper night's rest, I awoke with refreshed perspective, and I began to consider how one of the best things about traveling, especially somewhere far, is that it gives us the opportunity to show up in our lives as someone new. We can be whomever we choose, letting go of our day-to-day habits, frustrations, likes, dislikes, and even our sense of identity.
This is no small gift.
We don't have to be a teacher, or an accountant, or a small business owner. We don't have to bring our past, our problems, or the dilemmas we're dealing with at work.
Travel allows us to show up fully present, embracing our authenticity in the moment - how we feel and who we choose to be. It allows us to be reborn in a way, as we can leave our identities back home.
It's amazing how, when I first arrived, I wanted to cling to the routine I have back in New York: the food I usually eat, wanting to stick to the things I typically like to do, etc.. When I awoke this morning, I set the intention to loosen up a bit and to allow myself not just to try new things, but to be present in every moment and behave in whatever manner felt authentic.
Not to say that this played out in some dramatic fashion, but rather, I decided that I was going to give myself permission to step outside of my comfort zone and behave in any way that struck my fancy. While I walked along picturesque streets that were bikes, beautiful signage on shops, and quaint architectural details, I felt extra giddy, and I wanted to take a lot of pictures. Immediately, I became self-conscious, not wanting to draw attention to myself by posing in the midst of lots of passersby, but I decided that while the Jessie in New York might feel self-conscious, the Jessie in Amsterdam didn't care at all! At that moment, I decided to embrace the present moment, which meant taking a lot of selfies, skipping down the street, giggling with my partner, and being extra loud.
This is one of the great gifts of traveling: the liberty to step outside of our comfort zone, and furthermore out of ourselves. We leave our homes and travel somewhere far away, somewhere with different food, a different culture, and a different perspective, and we can decide to accept the invitation to show up new in every moment. In leaving our lives, even if just for a few days, we are declaring our willingness to let go of ourselves just a little bit. It's this sort of shift that leads to a journey inward and an exploration of ourselves in a way that feels fresh and exciting.