The Medicine of Travel: Can a Week Away from Home Really Recharge Your Batteries After 60?
“Whenever we do something creative, […] we draw on images from our inner well. If we learn to restock our store of images, we will find ourselves able to work more easily.”
— Julia Cameron, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again
Creative people certainly need to refill those inner wells that Julia Cameron talks about. But our wells run dry for other reasons, too. Loss, life transitions, even day-to-day stress all drain us and leave us yearning to get away from it all.
I love being home. I have days when I force myself into the car to run necessary errands. But sometimes I just feel like changing channels and exploring the world beyond my front yard.
Whatever our reasons for having an empty well, there’s no better way to recharge than by spending some time away.
Everyone’s idea of a perfect getaway is unique. Maybe it’s an overnight in a nearby town. Or maybe a long-planned trip around the world fits the bill. I recently got confirmation that a week away is the sweet spot between the two.
Why One Week?
A week is enough time to feel we’re truly away without getting homesick for familiar surroundings.
It’s long enough to feel like we’re having a distinctive experience but short enough to grant permission to leave our demands behind, guilt free.
And seven days is a magic number that allows for a few other shifts, too.
New Surroundings Give Us Perspective
When we’re in a new place, the people around us might speak different languages or have different ways of life. Their forefathers (and mothers) may have created singular cultures or civilizations.
A week of total immersion in a place and its people shines light on history.
But we all live under one sky. A week spent somewhere else can also illuminate how we’re all connected. We can discover how similar the human experience really is despite the differences.
Our Senses Wake Up!
During our week away, we notice unfamiliar sounds. The noises that greet us in the morning or sing us to sleep aren’t the same we hear in our beds at home. Maybe the silence that envelops us is a comfort we didn’t know we needed.
We feel different textures as we browse a clothing store and run our hands across exotic fabrics. Or when we touch stone walls while ascending the staircase of a Renaissance church or grab a wooden railing on the bridge that crosses a creek.
New flavors excite us as we sample (and savor!) local foods. We welcome exceptional aromas from a marketplace or fragrances from surrounding meadows or forests.
New sights abound. Colors can be more vibrant or subtler. Art, architecture, natural beauty… the feast for our eyes is endless.
We Connect with Others
A week away means fresh interactions, whether a casual chat with the gentleman at a ticket counter or a long discussion with a fellow traveler. We have conversations we’ve never had in an age when meaningful conversation is too quickly becoming a lost art.
We have chances to introduce ourselves, maybe for the first time in a while. In doing so, we see ourselves through a stranger’s eyes; maybe meet ourselves anew.
Self-Discovery Is Unavoidable
Regardless of the location we visit, there’s power in what we learn about ourselves during those seven days. As we relish what’s happening around us, we notice how we’re affected.
An urge to try a regional recipe. The nudge to return to a long-forgotten interest. As we embrace the magic of our week away, we envision bringing a little of it into our daily lives, recapturing a bit of it at home.
Even if the locale is one we’ve been to before, ours is a dynamic world. Change happens all the time.
And we’re different than we were the last time we visited. We might be in a new season of life or at a crossroads. At the very least, we’ve grown – reason enough to see recognizable surroundings with new eyes.
There’s no denying the medicine of a week away. Our energy’s renewed. And our hearts and spirits are grateful for the healing it provides.
What do you think is the perfect duration of a getaway? Have you recently spent a week away? How did it recharge you? Join the conversation and share your thoughts with the community!