I want to talk to you about that feeling you get before you try something new. Something that you’ve never done before, however big or small. You know, when you’re all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, maybe with clammy hands and a racing heart. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time because, well, you have absolutely no idea what to expect.
Sure, you’ve probably seen or heard of someone doing it before – very few things in the world are considered ‘firsts’ now – but it’s a first for you and that is a huge thing.
Be Still My Soaring Heart…
I get this feeling when I travel. Stepping foot on new soil and experiencing a new culture is an amazing feeling, almost like my feet are being gently tugged off the ground by my soaring heart. Basically, it’s great. It’s one of the reasons I love to travel so much, that feeling. Nothing beats being in a new place surrounded by new things to discover, see, and explore.
I had seen many (many, many) pictures of the Eiffel Tower before I visited Paris, but nothing quite prepared me for seeing it in the flesh (or steel). It’s a confusing mixture of “Oh wow, this is really it. It’s beautiful!” and “Oh wow is this it?” It was like that for me anyhow. Kind of surreal but amazing nonetheless because little old me was standing beneath the Eiffel Tower. And then I stood on the Eiffel Tower and it was more like “Really? More stairs?” But, either way, it was a first for me and I had that little heart flutter the first time I saw it.
Now I want to talk about novelty and it wearing off.
Naughty Old Novelty…
You know that feeling, when something becomes routine or it’s not new to you anymore and it just kind of blends into everyday life and you just feel a bit ‘meh’ about it all. A bit like working, if you think about it. My first day of my first-ever full time job was exciting and new, but now I don’t really think about it much at all. It’s the norm, if you will.
I hate to say it, but it happened with the Eiffel Tower on just my second visit. After seeing it the first time with all the soaring and fireworks and stuff going on inside my heart, the second time was a bit, well, numb in comparison. I was like “Oh, there it is again.”
Of course, this was the second time I visited it, so I obviously wasn’t going to feel the same as the original experience. I knew what to expect.
But what happens when the act of travelling itself becomes routine? What if you start to feel nothing when you enter a new country, city, or town because you’re so used to doing it?
Note: I haven’t travelled for extended periods of time so perhaps I’m not the best person to write this. I’m just curious, I guess.
Recently, the travel blogosphere has been peppered with posts from top-notch professional bloggers complaining about the hardships of their job. This doesn’t bother me at all; I’m all for a bit of problem-sharing and nobody (and no job) is perfect, after all. But what does bother me is that there is a gaping lack of wonder and awe at new places they have visited. It’s almost like “Oh yeah, I was there last week. It was okay but the Wi-Fi situation wasn’t great.”
I remember speaking to a well-known blogger at a conference last year and I asked them whether they still get excited when they visit a new place.
The answer? No.
This shocked me. Naïvely maybe, but it did. So many bloggers aim to inspire their readers with their stories, photos, and anecdotes, but isn’t it all a bit fake if they aren’t feeling inspired themselves?
The act of long-term travel is a difficult one to comment on because each individual’s story is different. We all travel for a different reason, do different things whilst we travel, and visit different places, so it’s impossible to generalise and make assumptions.
But, for me, as soon as I don’t get that heart soaring, wide-eyed feeling when I step foot somewhere new, I’ll know there is something wrong. And I’ll probably have to revaluate my priorities and maybe exercise a bit of perspective-changing.
On the other hand, I know that for as long as I do experience that feeling, I will continue to travel.
Nothing makes me feel more alive.