Stepping off the plane in Honolulu, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. I think it was the first time in my grown-up life that I didn’t feel anxious or overwhelmed – I remember walking through the airport feeling like I could breathe, like I was light and free, like everything I had previously been concerned about simply didn’t matter. I’ve chased that feeling ever since.
At the time, I was convinced it was something in the air. Perhaps it was the perfectly warm temperature, tipped with an ideal measure of humidity. Maybe it was the knowledge that the ocean was so close I could almost hear its thunder, smell its salt.
Maybe it was freedom from responsibility. Or maybe it was shelter from the gigantic storm that was my world at that time, a storm that came in wave after wave and never fully went away, always threatened.
Maybe, though…. maybe it was just me.
I like who I am when I travel. I’m less afraid, more adventurous, happier to accept unexpected surprises. And yes, part of it is about temporarily disassociating from any number of stressors.
Honestly, though, I just think I’m more me when adventuring with eyes wide open. I have found such comfort in pushing outside of the four familiar walls. There is great joy to be had in stretching into the unknown, such life to be found in breathing unfamiliar air.
Once you know that feeling, you want it always.