Half of my trip is over, which has recently prompted the question in my head:
“How do I see everything that I want to see before I leave Colombia?”. The answer that “It is not possible” stunned me into inactivity for a day. I felt like no matter what I planned I would be missing something else that was just as essential. A friend urged me to reflect on these thoughts by asking me “Is there any way you will ever be able to see everything you want?” The simple answer is “no”. The slightly more complex yogi mind responds: “If I think I am always going to miss something, and the next, even better option is just around the corner I am focusing on lack and I will see nothing. If I think no matter where I am and what I experience it is enough and there is always something to be gained, then I am turning my mind towards abundance and I will experience everything.”
The marches in Colombia have altered my plans significantly and compelled me to move on to another country, leaving behind all the places that I have dreamed of going. This change poses a mental challenge for me, since I know I will likely never be here again and have to let go of all of the potential beauty yet to be discovered. To make the most of the time I have left, do I cram as much Colombia into my calendar as I can before I get on the plane that takes me elsewhere?
Wanting to see it all and do it all is my generation’s sickness. It often comes paired with a skewed sense of entitlement that we have some claim on getting everything we want, now. Barf. I think it’s a part of human nature to long for happiness and chase after better things. But is that really what we are achieving when we race from one place to the next, sometimes at the detriment of our mental and physical health? No. Are we entitled to have everything just because we were born in one country as opposed to another? No. Do we benefit from our ambition that drives us to seek perfection and excess, our grooming to strive for it all and constantly crave more in today’s plethora of perfect lives on social media? I think not.
Coming to the realization that a mindset of always wanting more is not a healthy approach for me and leads to unhappiness rather than gratitude and appreciation has taken me years. I admit, I felt a distinct lack when fellow travelers listed their Colombia accolades and showed me all of their photo-worthy destinations that I would not get to visit. But I do not wish to adhere to the almost pathological new travel norm to “see more sights in less time”, “take all the tours”, and “find those insta-worthy foto ops” no matter the cost (and I don’t mean cost as in money).
It is a privilege to travel, not a right. It is something to appreciate, not something to demand. It is a piece of happiness when paired with gratitude and marvel. It is not something to simply check off of your bucket list, but it is something to bask in as you experience it.
After all, what does this busyness of chasing one destination after another achieve? What do you do once you’ve reached your travel goal? When you’ve seen all the sights in a day and a half? When you’ve posted that perfect picture? You look for the next goal, the next trip, the next high to feel happy again, knowing all too well there is just another must-see or to-do item waiting afterwards.
Is there ever really enough of what we love in our lives if we are constantly searching for more? Are we ever able to do enough of what we want when what we want is never the present moment? And anyway, when is enough, enough? When do we pause to reflect on the beauty of where we are as opposed to chasing after the next remarkable sight? The answer is: Unless you alter your mindset, never. If you don’t slow down to enjoy each breath of cool mountain air in your nostrils or the taste of saltwater on your lips at the beach, you will continue running, trying to satiate a hunger that cannot be satiated because the actual problem stems from a mindset of lack. When will you stop lacking something and instead find peace in a state of mental abundance?
Tapping into abundance reminds us that we already have what we need no matter where we go or what we see. It means becoming aware that each moment is a gift, beauty is all around us, and everything we do is an enriching experience. Abundance is always out there waiting be discovered. Abundance is always out there waiting to be shared. Abundance is always in you ready to be unleashed.