Several years ago, Judy asked me a question while driving the freeways of Los Angeles, “Do you feel like you’re home?” It wasn’t an easy one to answer. LA is where I grew up and where I spent the better part of my life. I’m comfortable there. But generally, I don’t like LA anymore. It’s one big urban and suburban sprawl, too expensive, and too crowded. I’m proud to have grown up there. But it’s not home anymore.
I was reminded of that story the past couple of days commuting to the “home office” in the Washington, DC area. A Metro station closure earlier in the week had me walking several blocks to the next station on the line. A train delay yesterday was resolved by getting off early and hopping on to Metro.
I was able to do this because I know the area well. This was my home for about 15 years. I’ve made this commute hundreds of times. I am truly grateful for the familiarity with this place that gave me a sense of confidence to simply divert when things didn’t go as planned.
I guess that’s why people often travel to the same places. They go to restaurants they’re familiar with and see things they enjoyed before. There’s nothing wrong with that … Judy and I have done it many times.
Traveling someplace new amps up the uncertainty. The lack of familiarity can be uncomfortable … but also adds more excitement to the journey. If the idea of that is just too scary, planning routes and detours ahead of time, and taking a map and a GPS can ease some of that stress. If you’re taking trains or planes, think about the alternatives ahead of time. A friend we met in San Marino recently was slightly delayed by a train strike in Italy, but she was quickly able to change her plans to make her other connections. Advance prep lets you go with the flow.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Don’t be afraid to expand your comfort zone!
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