“If you could travel anywhere – all expenses paid – where would you go?”
I remember asking this question to a client who had a serious case of wanderlust, and felt trapped in her current job. She needed to realize what was possible by dreaming a little outside her mental box.
After closing her eyes and pausing a moment, she simply replied: My own backyard.
A little stunned, but curious, I asked “Tell me more about it…”
The visual picture she painted was lovely. A covered patio with a wood-burning fireplace and comfy outdoor couches. Listening to the sound of wind chimes as she sipped her morning coffee. A pergola covered in sweet smelling jasmine alongside a fountain surrounded by an array of flowers. A peaceful outdoor sanctuary, literally just steps away…
Peace. Rest. Renewal. That’s what she craved more than a big vacation to an exotic place.
Instead of trying to escape her reality, this client modeled a vital lesson that we all experience – especially in our busiest seasons!
Sometimes, we simply need to create more space to explore where we already are instead of going somewhere new.
As an avid world traveler and self-proclaimed “Life Explorer,” this lesson hit home in way I didn’t even know I needed. I can get so busy planning, dreaming, designing, and acting that I fill my time so full so there isn’t space to enjoy being where I am now.
Before, I assumed I must be off on some grand adventure to really be exploring the world I lived in. Now after talking to this client, being a “Life Explorer” was expanded to include the ordinary, wonderful moments that we all can so easily access. Especially in my own backyard, neighborhood park, or tree-lined street.
This is the true test of exploration – to be where you are and still find the adventure!
The Mindset of a Life Explorer
The mindset of a Life Explorer is marked by possibility and action. Rather than focusing on a destination, it is a state of being that is defined by the following qualities:
Life Explorers aren’t afraid to live and play.
These creative nomads turn big dreams into tangible realities because they figure out innovative ways to live their life. Rather than waiting for life to happen to them, they create the kind of life they want through their intentional actions and living out their desires in a positive way.
Now this doesn’t always materialize into a month-long European vacation and generally doesn’t even require a passport. But it does involve imagination and willingness to look for the opportunities available – no matter how big or small.
Millennials + Exploration
When I’ve connected with Millennials from across the globe through my Millennial Leadership Project, almost every person has shared that exploration, travel, adventure, or experiencing new things is one of their top motivators and defines their identity.
Compared to previous generations, Millennials are 23% more interested in traveling abroad according to Boston Consulting Group reports. Nearly 200 million international travelers are young adults, making up nearly a quarter of the tourism population based on estimates the United Nations. And a July 2015 survey by Destination Analysts shared that 68.9% of Millennial travelers in the US reported to be “exploration hungry.”
Millennials are using travel opportunities to dive deeper into self-discovery, find clarity around important life choices (like attending graduate school or taking on a new job), and experience something transformational before they settle into a career.
The very values most Millennials espouse center around freedom, adventure, autonomy, and flexibility – all major themes of becoming a Life Explorer!
What’s On Your List?
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” Susan Sontag
In my twenties, I set a fun “life goal” of traveling to at least as many countries as I am years old. Now as a mother, it’s become a huge value of mine to expose my children to other cultures and ways of living so they, too, can have rich life experiences and fall in love with exploration. I’ve been to some amazing places – including living abroad in the Middle East and taking a one-year-old to Belize! And there are still so many more to see!
What’s on your list? Whether they are exotic destinations or backyard sanctuaries, I encourage you to share them with the hashtag #LifeExplorer throughout the summer to share the love!
Some Reading for Your Next Adventure (Or Your Backyard Patio)
Be the Revolution,