I know what you’re thinking… Cathie has that saying backwards.
“ Travel doesn’t put years into your life! It’s travel that puts life in your years!”
I’m actually going to argue that here for a moment. Indulge me, if you will.
I was listening to a travel podcast while I was crafting a pottery vase on the wheel . I find it very therapeutic to listen to an audio book or podcast. If I can focus on a topic or listen to someone’s voice then I tend not to overthink the pottery and thus I’m a better artist for it.
The podcast I was listening to was talking about the virtues of having different chapters in your life. If you think about certain years as individual pieces you can definitely see successful chapters and be proud, rather than trying to look back at a whole lifetime and giving it one grade of “pass or fail.”
For example I can look back at the decade I owned a restaurant and feel very successful for two of the personal things I accomplished. One was absolutely proving myself as an entrepreneur. (I always knew that skill and drive lay within me.) The second thing was being proud of the positive influence I had on dozens of employees. I genuinely cared to see the teenagers graduate high school and go on to shape their own career goals. The fact that so many of them are still in touch and in my life, makes me feel really really good.
But now to focus on this blog’s headline. How do you put more years in your life? It goes like this…. if you do the same thing over and over and over it becomes a blur. Just the same as if you drive by the same billboard on the street day after day after day. At some point it becomes part of the landscape and you no longer read the sign.
The theory is if you do the same thing for work or for pleasure over and over it creates only one track in your brain. One essential memory of doing the same repetitive task, however, if you travel and see and experience different things you are literally creating new memories in your brain. You are using new data to write a new path in your memory. So if you take five different trips you are creating five different memories in your brain. So now when you look back and reflect on your life, you remember one episode of work and five episodes of travel. Now your brain actually remembers your life as being six chapters in total not just one chapter. Thus, six diverse chapters appears longer, than just one book of one continuous chapter.
If someone were to ask you to reflect on your life and the one thing you talked about was work, it would be a short conversation. However if you started talking about a camping trip you enjoyed, you would likely remember other trips and start talking about them as well. Suddenly you’ve talked a lot longer about your life and your life seems more “full.”
Therefore the more variety of things you do in life, I believe the longer and more full your life will appear in recollection.
So, travel! Make memories!