When I was a kid, I used to have dreams that I could fly. Not in one powerful, instantaneous whoosh like Superman but more like an effortless floating upwards. I never remember all of the particulars of a dream once I’m shaken from sleep’s hold. It’s like they evaporate out of my consciousness with every waking breath I take. The residual wisp that lingers in my bones long after I awake is the the glorious feeling of wonder – the breathlessness, the surprise, the relief – I had in shedding those strings that kept me tethered to the earth.
That’s how I feel when I travel – the same awe and disbelief in the magic that the world has to offer except that I’m not asleep.
It’s not that there aren’t amazing sights to be seen at home, we just forget to cultivate the same sense of wonderment in our daily lives. We’re lulled by the monotonous rhythm of our routines and the downy comfort of familiarity. When we continually encounter the same thing, inevitably we adapt and can become desensitized to even the most magical of places.
A couple years ago, I travelled to the southern islands of Thailand and took a traditional long tail boat trip that toured various archipelagos. It was an idyllic experience – moss-covered limestone cliffs set against and expansive azure skies as we swam in the clear waters of the Andaman sea.
My eyes took in 360 degrees of Pinterest-worthy beauty. Turning to our local guide, I asked what it was like to live somewhere so awe-inspiring. He shrugged indifferently, unimpressed by what he considered to be his daily commute. Our difference in opinion probably had less to do with me being easily impressed as it did him just having seen those islands every day of his life.
When I travel and venture beyond my day-to-day, I transition into a state of hyperawareness. I am jolted awake by everything novel and new. I see magic in every sweeping landscape and crashing wave. My senses fizz like a caffeinated pop and I strive to be present, drinking in every sight and sound while I can. The magic I experience during my travels may not solve all of life’s problems but seeing it present in my reality makes me believe that it can exist back home too. That some days, magic will find me and lift me up, if only for a moment.