I have spent a lot of my life on the road. When I was little, my family would frequently make a two-hour drive to visit family members. I am very lucky to have been able to travel all over the US, to Europe, and to Asia since then. Every trip is different, obviously, because the setting is different. For me, I also see myself as a different person during every trip for several reasons: age, life experience, reason for traveling, etc.
For example: when my family went on a trip to the upper midwestern US, I wore cargo pants that turned into shorts and baseball caps because I was in sixth grade and wanted to be as tomboy-ish as possible. And I remember that my choir trip to New York during my freshman year of high school was one of the first times I felt like I belonged somewhere (in my high school).
It's true that traveling makes you a different person. For me, traveling also lets me look at my day-to-day experiences in a different way too. How can I integrate my traveling self and my non-traveling self? Here are a few ways:
1. Document everything
I like journaling and taking pictures when I go somewhere because I want to remember the exciting things that happened that day. When I get home from traveling, nothing is really "worth writing/photographing" to me. I want to be able to identify the extraordinary in the ordinary and celebrate the small stuff.
2. Get lost.
I don't really mean to physically get lost (although I have done so plenty of times). Life can be very confusing at times and I think it's best to embrace the fact that I don't know what I'm doing all of the time. As long as I find my way back on track.
3. Develop a "You're-Only-There-Once" policy.
Like I said before, traveling opens up a lot of possibilities not only to get a new experience, but to see things you've never seen before. So I am constantly asking myself before and during travel: What do you want to do or accomplish? What do you want to see? Who do you want to spend that time with? These are things that I should be asking myself at the end of an ordinary day and hopefully, it will help me accomplish more in my everyday life.
4. Cherishing an experience.
It's easy to appreciate the sight of the Grand Canyon or to feel close to those you are traveling with. More often than not, I take things at home for granted, like the fact that I am working or that my parents are comfortable with me living at home after graduating. So why not appreciate these long-term experiences?
There are so many possibilities when you decide to put yourself into new surroundings. You could see something you've never seen before, taste a new kind of food, fall in love with a complete stranger... This is what makes traveling so appealing to me, at least. That doesn't mean that there aren't the same possibilities in real life. As long as you open yourself up to them.