Does seeing an awesome picture from your friend’s weekend outing make you want to toss your phone across the room and pout? Does it make you reflect on your own weekend plans — a Netflix binge, maybe a few drinks at the bar, and probably some work — and force you to completely reevaluate your life. Do you question your adventurous spirit and wonder if you’re all talk?
Full disclosure: Sometimes, this is totally me.
I’m a little ashamed to admit…. but I have a huge problem with Travel Envy.
It’s not the big, exotic international trips that get me all worked up. I know how much planning, time and money goes into a trip abroad. They can be months or years in the making, so in these instances, I’m excited for my friends. Plus, it’s easy to justify not tagging along — money, vacation time, etc.
But it’s those spur of the moment weekend excursions…they’re the ones that always get to me. Because all it takes is the motivation to make it happen. It’s getting in the car and driving. It means not being lazy — it means finding something you want to do and actually doing it.
So when I see my friends doing awesome things on the weekends, I know that the only thing holding me back is myself. And that doesn’t feel great.
It makes me cranky and bitter, not because I’m angry at my friends for doing great things, but rather, I’m upset with myself for feeling less driven, motivated or productive as they are.
It’s something I’ve been struggling with for years — to independently get out and do things, to organize trips, and follow through with plans. I’m legitimately terrible at making things happen, but I’m trying to change. It’s actually one of the first things I plan to work on in Colorado.
Getting Over Travel Envy
Travel envy isn’t so much about what other people are doing as what you’re NOT doing. And thanks to social media, we have every outlet imaginable to compare ourselves to everyone around us. With the exponential rise in travel bloggers and outdoorsy Instagram accounts, even things meant to be aspirational, educational or inspiring can leave you feeling…less exciting…than those around you.
Get Out There & Do Things
Upset that you’re spending a weekend at home while everyone else is out doing awesome stuff? Then plan something. (I know, easier said than done. But the advice is still valid.) Be active, say “Yes!” and do something that interests you. Rather than being grouchy that you aren’t as interesting or as exciting as your friends, take the steps to do something you’ll want to brag to them about!
Specifically: Pull out your calendar and a bucket list, and ask yourself, “What can I do next weekend?” You’d be surprised how much easier it is to choose from a list than to pick something off the top of your head. Don’t have a bucket list or an activity todo list? Better get on that!
[Tweet “”Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about”. – Benjamin Franklin #Quote”]
Everybody has to pay bills, take out the trash, and do laundry. Everyone. And eventually, we all need to recharge our batteries with a little downtime. It’s important to remember that the only way you can keep doing awesome stuff is to stay healthy and not burn yourself out. Not every moment can be exciting and post-worthy. Sometimes the people you envy most are craving that Netflix binge more than you know.
Stop Comparing Your Life to Others
This isn’t new advice, but it always deserves repeating. You don’t know what situations people are in. It could be that their trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or maybe they’ve been planning for weeks…It could be that their flight was booked entirely on miles they earned from a job that is 80% travel, or maybe it’s what they’ve been saving up for, for months. No one’s life is the same so stop looking at what others are doing and assuming what they’re doing is better. It’s not better, it’s just different.
Remember That You’re Only Seeing the Highlights
When you’re seeing or hearing about someone’s trip, you’re likely only hearing about the good stuff. You see phenomenal pictures of coconut drinks on the beaches of Bali, but you didn’t see the trash littering the coastline just out of frame, or hear about the 31+ hours of travel it took to get there. No trip is perfect. And chances are, as they’re snapping that picture or drafting their post, they’re resisting the urge to scratch the thousands of mosquito bites they got last night because there was a hole in the mosquito netting and now there is a pretty good chance they have the Zika Virus….but that beach is just soooo pretty, right?!
Be Mindful & Stay in the Moment
Finally, do yourself a favor and stop looking at social media while you’re on vacation. No matter what awesome adventures you’re having, you’ll never fully enjoy them if you’re competing to have the best time (and trying to prove it with the perfect shot). The more you try to compete while you’re exploring, the more upset you’ll be when you’re at home. Just put the phone down and be in the moment — be mindful. That feeling of disconnect — of absolute freedom — is what you leave home in order to find. Enjoy it! Because you’ll have to be back at work on Monday just like everybody else.