By our mid-twenties, most of us are already laboring away from 9 to 5 on weekdays. On weekends, we end up doing the same routine things like binge eating or binge watching shows. Before we know it, we have settled into a routine. And somehow, we have accepted that this is the way to live.
Many folks may reason that their monotonous life is a means to achieve happiness, which they equate to security and financial stability. Yes, we all need financial security if we are going to survive in this consumer-driven, image-propagating society.
But as you are pursuing this highly elusive state of financial security, don’t you find yourself getting bored?
Best-selling author Tim Ferriss once implied that the opposite of happiness is boredom. Indeed, happiness is such a vague concept that, up until now, not everyone on this planet even agrees what it is and how we can achieve it. But after traveling to several countries over the last eight years, I have to agree with good ole Ferriss; there is a huge lack of happiness in prolonged boredom.
Because this kind of boredom causes us to lose purpose and meaning as to why we’re doing things; why we’re living the way we do.
It’s as if we have put ourselves on autopilot-mode without even realizing it.
The direct opposite of boredom is excitement. Excitement is what fuels individual passion. Surprisingly, not all of us take the time to stop and reflect on what gives us excitement and how to sustain it.
Badminton, singing, and dancing give me excitement. But to keep prolonged boredom at bay, I turn to traveling.
How will traveling cure your boredom? I’ll answer this by explaining what brings about extended boredom in the first place.
You are bored with your life not because it is difficult. You are bored because you are comfortable.
You are comfortable because you know what to expect and how to deal with it. You already anticipate that traffic will be terrible; that lunch is diarrhea-waiting-to-happen; and that your boss will blame you for something. Yes, these things give you discomfort, but they are the kind of setbacks that you are very much familiar with.
But do you know what is truly uncomfortable? It is the unknown and the unexpected.
The unknown and the unexpected will spark fear, but they will also bring about a tremendous amount of excitement, not to mention personal growth along the way.
Some people seek out the unknown and the unexpected by trying out death-defying sports or living deep in the woods by themselves. But if you’re not that extreme; then traveling can give you a healthy dose of these two.
Right now, you may argue that you can’t afford excitement. You simply don’t have money to stay at luxurious resorts and to visit exotic destinations.
I am not talking about spending all of your savings so you can visit famous places just to brag about them on Facebook or Instagram. Doing this is no different than buying the latest iPhone or a new sleek car. Many scientific studies have already claimed that material things only offer temporary happiness – a brief spark of excitement.
The kind of traveling that I’m advocating is the one that will force you to handle unexpected situations; immerse you enough to understand different cultures; throw you off balance and make your heart beat a little faster.
Getting My Ass Up to Travel
One of my fondest travel memories was a spontaneous trip to a surfing beach in La Union Philippines. One Friday afternoon, my friend Ruth and I just decided to take the bus to San Juan.
There were many reasons why we shouldn’t have gone. For one, we had very little money- not even enough to book a decent hotel room. We had never been to La Union before, and we had no clue how to surf.
But we knew one thing – we wanted something different than just hanging around in a small blue-painted room. We wanted to be on a beach for sunset the next day. So we got our asses up and did just that.
But to get there, we had to take a very uncomfortable 5-hour bus ride, sleep at the shittiest room I’ve ever seen, and get mistaken for gold-diggers looking for white men to hook up with.
In the end, we had the beach and the beautiful sunset; but we also experienced this exciting journey, and took home a memorable story.
If you’re bored with your everyday routine, don’t ignore it or keep justifying it.
The irony of life is that the healthiest and most youthful years of our lives are mainly spent on working for the future. But living is more than just building a career.
Don’t wait until retirement to explore and travel. By this time, you won’t have the energy to welcome discomfort nor appreciate the unknown as much.
I know on a weekend, it’s way easier to sit on a couch and be entertained by the likes of Jon Snow, Harry Potter or the Kardashians. But I daresay; going on your own adventure is much more interesting, thrilling, and compelling.
Crush that boredom. Travel. Live.
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